So much of being a 1L is left to chance: whom you’ll meet, who your professors will be, which classes you’ll have in what order, which class will be your small section. Yet each of these makes a tremendous impact on future prospects. This semester, all of my doctrinal courses deal with civil law: Torts, Contracts, and Civil Procedure. (Like every other 1L on this continent, I’m also taking Legal Research and Writing. That’s year-long here.) I’m a self-professed could-fall-in-love-with-anyplace type of student, but this particular combination of courses really does seem to work especially well for me. (She said, having nothing to compare it to.) The vocabulary and subject matter is similar, and there are important and illuminating dovetails and foils along the way. But back to the part about chance:
My small-section is Torts. While there are one hundred of us in my other substantive courses, we’re split into three classes for this one, each with its own professor. (LRW is still smaller: four classes with two different profs.) Coming into law school, I knew that studying torts would be interesting. What isn’t exciting about legal claims related to breaches of duty (usually non-contractual) that result in harm? Because it’s my small-section, though, I am more likely to participate in class and more comfortable seeking answers to my questions. As a result, tort law is finding a special place in my heart.
Am I preparing to jettison my previous public interest ambitions and embrace personal injury litigation? No. But I do think about those late-night ads for malpractice and class action attorneys through a different lens now.
To say nothing of the fact that the order in which you learn things shapes your understanding of what’s to come! It’s strange to (try to) take a step back from the pedagogical experiment in which you are a guinea pig and to try to sort out what’s happening. I’m hoping to be able to trace the impact this has on me, as the year progresses.