While recently discussing an accomplice liability case in Criminal Law, Professor Rachel Barkow sketched a diagram on the board to help us visualize the fact pattern:
Pretending to marvel at her drawing of three men on horses with hats, she said, “You know, it was a choice between art school and law. And I know you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Wow, you made the wrong decision.’”
After lamenting the art world’s loss, I thought about how trying the question of whether to attend law school was for me.
Leaving a job in finance that I held for two years, I wanted to continue developing my interests in business along with my passions in entertainment and technology. At the same time, I felt fitting law school into my future plans could help me form skills in negotiation, problem solving, and deal-making more broadly than financial advisory alone. It was a scary notion, however, to think about going back to school when I was not sure where it would lead me.
Just a few months into my first year, I can now safely say I am happy with my decision to attend law school. Here’s why:
- Law school offers opportunities for applied learning: Having attended undergraduate business school, my natural inclination is to apply anything I learn to reality. While I enjoy studying theory, without application, I would have been frustrated. Law, by its nature, cannot be studied without thinking about practicality. Dissecting court opinions can sometimes turn into abstract intellectual exercises, but it only takes a second to snap back to reality when you realize the case is about real people and events.
- Law classes encourage discussions of breadth and depth: If talking about issues that affect public policy, commercial transactions, justice, and anything else of societal significance, is important to you, an education in law could be rewarding. While everyone will eventually specialize in certain fields, the various coursework at NYU Law asks you to contemplate the quirkiest questions, such as, “Is a bicycle a vehicle?”
- Law students are an amazing group of people: I have always thrived when surrounded by smart, decent people. It is great to enter a classroom or walk down a hall and encounter passionate and intelligent colleagues that care about the world. (The only question is, can too much of something be a bad thing, especially when it’s time for curve-based finals? I’ll let you know!)
Making the final decision to saddle myself with loans and head to law school was not easy. It remains to be seen whether I can successfully combine my interests in law, finance, entertainment and technology, but so far, I am happy with the choice. Sorry, art school.