Thursday, May 31, 2007

One L

from the diary: “Wednesday 1/6/88

“As I still haven’t gotten a notebook [for a booklog] I might briefly mention my two latest reads -- One L by Turow – about the the first year of Harvard Law School. Very entertaining, makes me feel less anxious about my own exams – [Turow is] studying 8-12-16 hours a day!” The second “latest read” will appear tomorrow.

I have thought of going to law school. The practice of law, like the practice of poetry, insists on a close attention to language and the way it makes meaning. Law pays better. One of the things I like about poetry, though, is the way it plays with meaning, delving into it, breaking it apart. Law wants to do nothing of the sort. Law wants to declare itself with invariant meanings. This does not mean that judges and lawyers don’t argue all the time about what a particular law’s actual meaning is, and the consensus opinion changes over time, but this is not play. One-L and movies like The Paper Chase, make law school look like a lot of work, work that’s doesn’t look fun.

Scott Turow wrote his book about being a first year law student the very year he was being a first year law student. There’s an excerpt from chapter one on Turow’s website.

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