I attended the 1L Summer Academy on Saturday that St. Mary’s hosts. During this event, a couple of the Deans attempt to give students an understanding of what to expect in law school. As you might imagine if you know anything at all about law school, that’s quite a daunting task. It helped me a great deal in reading a couple of books about what to expect out of law school before attending this seminar. I wasn’t as lost as I might have been otherwise, but even so, it is a lot of information to take in and understand.
The topic they chose to use as examples of law school during the seminar was the concept of agency. The case was Heims v Hanke, which is a pretty interesting case. The Plaintiff, Heims, slipped and fell on ice on a sidewalk after the Defendant and his nephew washed their car on the curb. The nephew spilled water on the sidewalk, which later iced over. The appellant was Hanke, as the plaintiff won their case at trial. It’s a case which helps to understand whether someone can be held responsible for the actions of their unpaid volunteer, which in this case was yes.
The one thing I have to get over in order to be successful in law school is caring about the outcomes. Yes, it’s important to know how a case resolves and how the law might be applied, but what the 1L Summer Academy made clear to me is that, of much more importance, is understanding the arguments both sides can make. In law, both sides can be right. A lot of cases turn on who is more right or other arbitrary facts. Being able to advocate for either side is an important part of being a lawyer, because even while advocating for your client, you need to really understand all the arguments the other side will make so you can defend against those arguments. I always thought the outcome was the most important thing in … well … everything, but in law school, the outcome is of relatively little importance.
I start orientation this Thursday and then classes officially start Monday. I’m very excited and can’t wait!