Law in Contemporary Society

A Descort for Law School

By BrandonVines - 28 Feb 2020



What remains in my mind

A while ago, I joined the Rebel Alliance. I felt the weight of my stolen stormtrooper armor, the vibrations of my laser gun, and the heat of the lava fields. I snapped back to reality after I removed the VR headset. The final door was closed behind me.

I never saw the place I had just Star Wars-ed though. I had to trust the VR company, and it was a pleasant enough experience. They gave me a script, and I jumped on command. However, I will never know what deviation would have entailed. Could I have fallen into the lava fields I so gingerly crossed?

Is a particularly un-astute observation

Creativity in law school requires distrust.

That when your trust is given

Spring firm receptions are a must, and, of course, so are at least a couple applications for Vault 10 summer associateships. Study groups are necessary for ‘A’s, oh, and so are those coveted Fed Soc outlines. Federal clerkships are better than state clerkships and make sure to choose appellate over district over magistrate judges. Con Law requires Chemerinsky and Dressler is key to Crim. And only a fool skips EIP, think of the missed opportunities! Law school offers its own VR headsets, each promising to be pleasant enough.

To imitation known to be helpful not harmful

Imitation has undeniable value. Without institutional memory, New York would starve amid its own filth. Getting food in and garbage out requires established patterns. Trusting imitation paved the path for me to attend law school. For others, trusting imitation may be the surest path to paying for loved one’s medical care. Humans have possibly mastered the art of imitation begun by our primate predecessors. Francys Subiaul, What’s Special about Human Imitation, page 16.

Trusting imitation similarly can be a seductive trap. Those ‘few years’ at Cravath might quash any desire to practice law. Choosing the prestigious ACLU position might leave you bored where being in court with the local defender would have been what you wanted. To borrow an idea from Folklore, orthodoxy can work against our interest and even the ‘critical’ thinking woman can be led astray by an unnoticed horse bit.

You cannot undo your offered submission

The ramifications of trusting imitation can be revealed in time to perhaps change tack. This is difficult. Many are reluctant to admit wrong decisions. Others may refuse to acknowledge a miscalculation. Others still will hold onto hope. As Leff might say, once people been cast in our role, we are often reluctant to revolt. More often, our sails will be in irons and our trusting imitation an established fact.

This stasis is the antithesis of creativity.

So you must learn if the medicine is charnel

When your physician hands you a pill, the reflex is to take it. The creative counter-impulse would be to reject the medicine until you know what it is, and most importantly, why it is being given to you.

I mean why in the radical sense. From its first usage, radical has referred to what lies at the root. Oxford Dictionary. Trusting imitation is innate to primates — it is a source of our collective strength. That intuition often blinds us to questioning common wisdom. That is what we must uproot.

This is not to advocate eternal cynicism. There are many times where trust is beneficial. Creativity is choosing whether or not to cross the event horizon compared to unconsciously slipping into the gravity well. Liberated trust should be with open eyes.

Thus, creativity in law school begins with uprooting what blinds us.

To ignore the candy-coating of comfortable abstraction

Authority hypnotizes and marshals individuals against their own interests. Common wisdom is just another medium of authority imposed on the individual. It preys on fear and our desire to fulfill our casting.

Look no further than the comfortable pull of big law. The path is lit up to be walked down and would silence many common legitimate fears. The administration assumes four-in-five will choose that path and so do my friends. The jokes at Bar Review — “You know you are going to sell out, right?” — reinforce the authority of common wisdom.

Nonconformity is a challenge to the system. To borrow from Folklore, just “describ[ing] how such an institution works…makes believers uncomfortable” pp. 32. Removing the VR headset and choosing the less ‘prestigious’ internship is discouraged by the system regardless of what the individual needs. Being able to reject the common wisdom is the first step towards creativity.

Thus, uprooting what blinds us begins with recalling our autonomy.

Will revive your autonomy

Rejecting authority at every turn is not possible nor particularly desirable. The creativity we seek is essentially the option to choose discord, to find freedom in breaking ranks.

We should take the advice of medieval Provenšal troubadours. Discontent was poetically expressed through ‘descorts’ (literally, “discord”) where the strictly-observed rules dictating lines were rejected. Britannica. Creativity may well involve writing our own descorts. Collin Ward explained far better than I:

“We live only once and our lives are inevitably full of compromises between the way we would like to live and the way our society works. There is no judge or arbiter to tell us where to draw the line, but if all we have to look back on is a life of sordid and trivial conformity, we have only ourselves to blame.”

Colin Ward, Contrary to Our Interests, Freedom Vol.18, No.21 (1957).

And creativity

Creativity in law school is a healthy dose of discord that begins with distrust.


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r1 - 28 Feb 2020 - 18:02:48 - BrandonVines
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