Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Think Like a Bar Taker

To call studying for the bar a dehumanizing process would be a little melodramatic. However, there are times when you feel like you are a legal issue-spotting machine instead of a human.

While all of us felt grief about yesterday's metro train accident, many of my friends and I also felt disgusted with ourselves that we started reading the details about the tragedy like a tort law hypothetical. And why am I thinking about the level of homicide and the insanity defenses for the Holocaust Museum shooter? Or trying to figure out how they calculated the damages for the families of the Air France victims? Why does reading the Real Housewives of New Jersey Danielle's give you a review of all of criminal law? And why am I thinking about all of the property issues in Jon and Kate +8's divorce? (btw, reading about them filing for divorce gives me so many flashbacks to all the divorces I've done over the past year, but more on that in another post) And of course there were a host of property legal issues in the story about the eviction notices to Spike, a former Top Chef contestant.

In law school, they tell you to think like a lawyer. But I think (or hope) that even lawyers can separate their work and seeing legal issues from being a regular person. Even if you're a zealous advocate, there's empathy for your client and others. The bar on the other hand- you just see every set of facts as a hypothetical where you must identify and analyze all issues and even non-issues. You run off little checklists of elements for each issue and use stock language like having "a depraved heart" and being the "natural and proximate cause." And your mind leads you to the legal conclusions that would be correct on the test, even if that is probably not would happen in real life.

Studying for the bar is certainly not the worst thing in the world. Even if I issue spot when reading the news, it still does give me perspective. Nonetheless, I will glad when it is all over so I feel a little more normal.

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