I disagree with a lot of things, but mostly the way a lot of things are done.
What will future humans have to look back on some day and say well that was dumb? You know, like slavery, debtor’s prisons, monarchies, and the convention of shaving.
Take the process of becoming a lawyer for example. To practice the profession you must pass big tests at the end of the semester. Then to practice, you must pass one really big exam. And then you become a brand new lawyer who has to finally be taught how to be a lawyer. While I have over-simplified matters, the fact remains: this system of education and training exists in almost the exact same state as it did 50 year ago.
Wikipedia tells me: “Until the late 19th century, law schools were uncommon in the United States. Most people entered the legal profession through reading law, a form of independent study or apprenticeship, often under the supervision of an experienced attorney.” Hey that doesn’t sound half bad. But for some reason or another, some body of individuals decided that a different method of education and training could work just as well if not better.
There they were, a bunch of guys (given the time, likely no women), who over a period of time said yup, that ought to do it. Three years, yea, three years should be sufficient. And make ’em pass a giant test at the end of it all. Ah what the hell, throw another test in at the front end. That ought to produce skilled holders of the legal knowledge that underwrites most of life. There is no better way to teach members of our society how society supervises the relationships between people and the structures that govern them. Satisfied, they clapped the dust of their hands and left the meeting.
What from the course of past dealing made that group of people decide, based on findings from a geologically insignificant time period, that the old way of teaching law no longer fit the bill? Surely the future cannot be fully predicted. The best approximations are formed by looking at the past and how things wound up. From this, many try to divine the future. With 50 years behind us, is it time for another group of humans to independently and collectively decide that a new course should be charted? Is it time now for a new way of doing things?
The greatest thing I have learned in my law school time is that human beings write laws.
In fact, human beings design everything around us that isn’t part of nature. Schools, jobs, taxes, products, services–you get the picture. People, like you and me, decided that there should be consequences for certain actions, incentives for certain behaviors, and protection of certain interests (like life, liberty, and property rights). So they wrote them down and called them laws. It’s obvious and powerful.
The second greatest lesson from law school was that as a society, we follow that which has already been done.
It’s called precedent. Precedent is often a prudent path to follow, but the path is littered forks. Going left might get you to the same place as going right, but it may just send you through thorns and take twice as ling. These are called calf paths and their meanderings cause you headaches, cost you time, money and other limited resources.
So to the process of becoming a lawyer, I say this: your emphasis on high stakes exams is misguided and ineffective. And your bar exam, well that’s just dumb. The practice of law is not one of memory. It’s a practice of language. Reading and writing language. Any way you slice it, laws are written, read, interpreted, and then written again. And I disagree with your “formal” writing. Just make your point in a logical manner and get out. Quit wasting everyones time. It’s time to try something new.
It’s time to try something new for a lot of things.
Watching my nieces grow into people I can really see that no two of us are alike, and yet, we are all so damn similar. We all worry, hope, love, fear and experience joy, grief and many other wide ranging emotions throughout daily existence. I also see that one day they too will become young adults and feel the weight of time. Because we’re bigger, it’s our duty to try and design better experiences for them.
For them, question the frustrations and fight for ideas.