November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Casual Observer

Everybody Should Go To Law School

 

By Mark Levy

As crazy as this sounds, I think everybody should go to law school. I know what you’re thinking: we have too many lawyers already; an entire society of lawyers would be like a science fiction horror movie come to life. But hear me out, please, before you call the men in the white coats.

Law school can be an enlightening experience. It requires only three years after you graduate college —— four if you go to night school, which law schools like to call “part time” or “the evening division.” Really, in the great scheme of things, what are three or four years of your life? You’ve already probably spent more time doing unimportant things, like spending quality time with your family. You’d hardly miss three or four years. Trust me; I’m a lawyer.

Here’s another benefit of going to law school: you get to read about all sorts of crimes and bad behavior. In a way, it’s a TV reality show without the pictures or the sound effects.

I know three good reasons to attend law school, even if you never want to practice law a day in your life.

 

 

First, a legal education will teach you how to negotiate. That’s an important skill, since we all negotiate dozens of times a day. When I wake up in the morning, I have to negotiate with my wife who will get to brush his or her teeth first. Then we negotiate who will prepare breakfast, what the breakfast will be, who will walk down the driveway to retrieve the newspaper, who will use the last five drops of milk in his or her coffee, and who will decide where to meet for lunch.

That’s the typical morning routine that I engage in on Saturdays and Sundays alone. During the work week, I negotiate with business associates, with retail store employees, with bank tellers, with grocery store cashiers, and with taxi drivers, not to mention dealing with a fairly long list of requests demanded by my children, of course.

So you see how valuable it is to have good training in negotiating tactics.

Here’s the second reason I think a law school education is helpful: you get to know how to get around the law.

Take the simple “do not enter” sign. How often have you seen that sign and been deterred from going where you want to go? How often have you had to pack up your suitcase and rush out of a hotel room before the 11:00 a.m. checkout time? How often have you had to pay your income taxes? (Just kidding, all you IRS agents out there.)

How often have you heard someone say, “You can’t do that” or “We can’t do that” or “Nobody can do that?” When you’re a lawyer, you don’t blindly accept those statements; you take them as a personal challenge.

Going to law school means never having to take “no” for an answer, with the possible exception of when an aforementioned IRS agent says it. There’s almost always a way to accomplish your goal if you learn how to approach every problem as if there must be a solution. Of course, that’s what lawyers get paid to help you with, but if you get the education and you can develop the correct mindset, most of the time you won’t need no stinkin’ lawyer to help you out. Look at the money you’ll save by attending law school for yourself.

Which brings me to the third advantage of going to law school and perhaps the most important reason I think everybody should have a legal education: you learn when you should call a lawyer. You may think that’s a trivial reason for spending so many hours reading cases about plaintiffs and defendants, but you’d be surprised how often people go to a lawyer too late in the game.

For example, in real estate only a small percentage of home buyers consult a lawyer before they sign what the real estate agents call a “binder,” but which lawyers know is a contract. Turns out, the lawyer they select has one hand tied behind his or her back, since the client has already agreed to certain terms and conditions and forfeited some options in that binder agreement. Usually, it would have cost the buyer the same to engage the lawyer before the binder was signed as after.

In the patent business, where I spend most of my time, I can’t tell you how often inventors approach me more than a year after they’ve publicly disclosed their invention. That’s a shame. The patent law states that an inventor cannot obtain a patent unless the invention has been publicly disclosed, if at all, for less than a year. If the inventor had made the appointment with me a year earlier, he might have obtained a patent. But because he didn’t know when to call a lawyer, he’s  out of luck. That’s why Mr. Rubik never received a patent for Rubik’s Cube, by the way.

So there you have it. Everybody should go to law school to learn how to negotiate, learn not to take “no” for an answer, and learn when to call a lawyer. Luckily, it’s never too late to go to law school, so start saving up for the tuition now. I should have mentioned that earlier.

Hey, tuition fees may be negotiable. If you look for loopholes, as we say in the legal biz, and you don’t take “no” for an answer, you’re already on your way to being a lawyer. See how easy that is?

 

 

The Litchfields         Copyright Lynda Barreto

The Litchfields Copyright Lynda Barreto