Monday, September 07, 2009

First Week at Harvard

So, a week ago Friday I started my Harvard Law School Journey.

The first weekend was full of food, laughs, and a lively discussion about To Kill a Mockingbird. Malcolm Gladwell recently suggested that Atticus Finch wasn't so heroic...which was the beginning of our discussion.

There was the bars, the tours (skipped the art museum one, to be fair) and then the big welcome day on Monday.

That was amazing. Our whole class seated in this old church that looks kind of like the church I got married in. Check out this picture on the front page of the law school web site. If you read the rest of the article, you'll see it was a day full of pretty heady stuff.

After listing off some of the accomplishments of my class (worked for major corporations, the world bank, the UN, over 70 ex congressional workers, 11 marathoners, a ballet dancer (I recently met him, which was quite a surprise!), and people who have worked for and started successful companies and NGOs of every sort all over the globe...the dean said something great.

She said something like, "right about now, you are listening and wondering, 'how did I get in here?' Let me tell you something, we searched the world for you."

It sent shivers up my spine. Same with the time we were in class and the professor said, "we aren't just going to discuss what the law is, or why, but what it should be. You will be the ones most likely to actually be writing and shaping law." Wow. More heady stuff.

So far, I love it. I won't get in to the hard parts just yet (I don't have time; I have to go to bed!), but I will eventually. Suffice it to say just a few of the good parts (which comprise most of my impressions).

The professors are brilliant. They have clerked for supreme courts justices, educated supreme court justices, written definitive legal theory, one (next semester) was the Solicitor General for the United States as well as a former member of the Masachussetts (still not sure how to spell that!) State Supreme Court...another is a highly regarded litigator who won landmark rights cases and has the class alternatively in stiches and enthralled when discussion civil procedure, not the liveliest topic.

The students are amazing. They are bright and accomplished, and mostly not arrogant at all. These are really extraordinary people. It's also one of the only times in my life where I am a part of a discussion on something where I'm no more a rookie than anyone else, and keeping up requires a lot of attention. People say stuff I wouldn't have thought of, and I love it. Since there are eighty people in my classes, I don't feel too stupid when this happens, and I can keep up and follow people and make my own points, but still, the pace is amazing!

Also, it's really fun to be in a big pond. Definitely not a big fish here (yet, will work on that). So far, just run of the mill. I love it. The other day, I met a fellow who almost went to NYU because of the school arrangment with his fiance, studied history, loves philosophy, would maybe love a PhD in the matter but considers himself too action oriented for that, he thinks anyway, and for now is most interested in litigation or appeals or some other more performance oriented endeavor. Sound familiar? Wow! Too bad he's a Ron Paul fan, or we'd be soul mates. Good thing I already have one of those (my sweet, brilliant wife has been an excellent support this week while balancing her own very full life with the needs of mine).

Finally, the content. This legal stuff is just so interesting. When you really get down to it, there is a reason tehcnicalities make the difference, and the technicalities are in the law for reasons and there are lots of controversies about lots of things and they are all incredibly complicated from a theoretical and detail vantagepoint, but they all get at lofty values and big kinds of questions. It's ridiculous. I'm in hog heaven.

Now, if I can just figure out how to read this stuff faster. No more seventeen hour days this week, I'm hoping.

Love to you all...

1 comment:

jcreason said...

You know you love Ron Paul :-)