Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thinking like a lawyer

They [Prof S, they = you law school professors] warn student in law school that the student will "think like a lawyer." I admit to wondering instantly what does that mean? I struggled through the first year only to be thankful that I could still think at all. And then...........I realize....

1. I will begin to catagorize statements I hear out of my courtroom as to whether they are hearsay. For instance, a friend might want to tell me what another friend said about me (in normal land this is gossip, or even perhaps libel/slander) and I will say, Objection, hearsay. Well, I might not say it out loud, but I am beginning to think it through in my head. I am catagorizing, was that an out of court statement asserted for the proof the truth therein?

2. Cross examination makes it way to my courtroom (oops, I meant my home). "Mom, Walker is being mean to me!" To which I set my daughter down, under a spot light and the drill begins......"Mean is so ambigious. Define mean." Oh, he called you a name. What name was that? Were there any witnesses to his alledged name-calling? Did you do anything to provoke the alleged incident? All this while her eyes are growing bigger, rounder, and absolutely more blank looking. And you wonder, is that hearsay, or is there some exception to the rule.

3. In my courtroom, I rule. Yes, this is right. I interpret the law. This means that my daughter, while she can certainly proffer a nice, reasoned argument to advocate for herself, I and I alone decide the outcome. No jury allowed in my courtroom. And darn it all, when I ask a question or make a statement, do not, I repeat do not, answer my question with a question. Especially the word why. This is my courtroom, I get to talk.

4. It's political season. Normally I am excited at this prospect, but as the candidates and parties yak at me I want to yell at them: Counsel, where's the merit? Where are the facts! This court deals with facts, not speculation. Give me substanitive issues here. Followed by: Stop leading the witness! Followed by: Liar, you just committed fraud, misrepresentation, and perhaps even inducement. And then I want to sit the candidates down and explain this little piece of paper to them called the Constitution and define to them what their powers as the President would be versus the power that they held in the Congress. AGH.

So, it's true. The lense that I view the world with is forever changed. Whether for the good or the bad, I guess that all depends on who you pose that question to.

Phew, glad I got that out of my system.......................

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