“Law and Magic” is a book that is currently on display at the law school’s library.
Nothing about the law makes me feel that it is magical. At least not anymore.
I remember my first year of law school. I was terrified and clueless, among many other things. But I was excited. I sat in each and every class with butterflies in my stomach for that entire year. The cause? One part fear, the other part awe. I looked to my professors amazed of their knowledge (though a couple proved to be questionable in their teaching abilities). I read the assigned cases and was excited about the decisions, the remedies the court was able to provide, and all the different circumstances that brought people to court in the first place. I talked about the cases and the rules I was learning to my non-law school friends, to strangers at the bar, and of course to my family. I found it all magical- the multitude of rights protected by the law and the entire justice system that was put in place to assure fairness.
Today, this book on “Law and Magic” makes me snort at its irony.
I no longer find any magic in the law. Maybe the hazing process of the first two years is to blame, or maybe the veil of ignorance was lifted from my eyes, the truth revealed in a painfully bright and clear fashion. The only magic I can find now is how my pursuit of a legal education keeps taking thousands of dollars away from me in tuition fees. It takes a certain amount of magic to be able to take that much money from a sane, logical person. (This might be an assumption I’m making about myself, but I think it is a fair assumption nonetheless).
Do I love the law? Yes. At least most of it. I love that it applies to every one (at least ideally) and that it attempts to protect all of our rights. Do I think Lawyers are awesome? Yes. Because we are extremely creative and smart people.
But I’ve come to learn that nothing, really nothing about lawyering is like magic. There are papers upon papers to file, arguments to be thought out and written in minute details, and countless strategic procedural moves that can be taken to ensure a more successful trial. Lawyering is hard, hard work and it takes a lot of time and effort. It doesn’t just come out of thin air, although there are many times when I wish that was the case.
Today when I snort at the words “magic” and “law” being next to each other, I miss the days when I was excited about law school, excited about my future as an attorney. The days when I was bright-eyed, curious and ready to change the world with my legal education. I’m going through a phase where I honestly despise everything about law school and can hardly bring myself to read cases for class. I don’t know what to do to get over it. Most importantly, I don’t know if this “phase” will go away anytime soon, though I desperately need it to.
Then again, maybe it is best I don’t find the law to be magical anymore. Magic isn’t followed by civilians and it doesn’t change the world. But laws and hard work does. And in the end, I still believe in those two things.