Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice hit the nail on the head with his post regarding the important, and unimportant, aspects of a legal education. Most law schools do an amazingly poor job at preparing students for the actual practice of law, which much of the time includes dealing with abuse incoming from every direction. Scott stated that:
A well-conceived law school education serves one purpose only: to prepare you to confront the abuse of being a lawyer and prevail. How to prevail comes later. You’re not ready for that now. For now, you need to learn how to toughen up and take abuse without crying and whining. How to keep a smile on your face and deflect the humiliation that is designed to make even the most macho man shrivel. If your lawprof doesn’t abuse you, she hasn’t done her job. If your lawprof doesn’t toughen you up, then you’ve gained nothing.
Up to this point in your educational career, the system has been designed to make you feel good about yourself and build your self-esteem. If this isn’t changed, it will destroy you as a lawyer. There is nothing about the legal system that will make you feel good about yourself. It will challenge your dignity and humanity at every turn. Your mommy is wrong when she tells you to just go up to the judge after court and tell him that he wasn’t very nice to you and you don’t appreciate it. This is not a successful strategy.
How true that is. Perhaps the hardest thing to learn as a trial lawyer is to confront the realization that at least half of everyone you encounter in your profession are going to dislike, or even hate, you. It requires putting up with every kind of abuse and stress that has ever existed, while at the same time either deflecting it, or absorbing it in a way that motivates you rather than slows you down or stresses you out. Because in the real world of knitty-gritty trial practice, prevailing is the only thing that matters. Second place only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades.
– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney