There are many reasons to study law. In her guest article, Lorena Christová explains why she chose law. Although she had to throw some ideas overboard during her studies, she also discovered new aspects of law.
You are studying law to become a lawyer. A lawyer walking through the courtroom in a suit and slicked back hair with wads of cash in his pocket knocks any counter argument out of the room – or so many law students’ family members claim, or even the students themselves imagine.
Then there is the other group: the group that comes to law school out of a love of what is just and right, a desire to make the world a better place. I belonged to the latter group and was therefore the object of ridicule from the very beginning. That’s the wrong motivation, we’ve been warned, because law doesn’t always lead to justice.
At first I balked at these warnings. Today I have to admit that those who smiled at us were probably partly right. Protecting the world from all evil and injustice is not the only concern pursued by our legal system. The legal sociologist N. Luhmann puts it particularly soberly: “Law is what the law determines as law.”
So why am I still studying law? I realized that law has several functions that not only all have merit, but also make the subject so exciting and complex. The law regulates, simplifies, prevents, adjusts, protects and punishes. And while law school won’t save the world, it can make small, incremental changes.
Practical and versatile
There were other aspects I liked about studying law: I am fascinated by how law is made, how it shapes our society, and how society shapes law. Despite all the prejudices, the law is very practical and tangible. Everyone comes into contact with it sooner or later.
Right at the beginning of the course, you will immerse yourself in real cases and explosive, current issues. You will learn to analyze texts, make solid arguments and write professional texts yourself. Unlike medical school – and contrary to popular belief – rote learning is not part of everyday life. Rather, analytical thinking is required: laws are meant to be laid down and interpreted.
Unlike mathematics, there is often no right or wrong, but a multitude of justifiable solutions and opinions. And unlike the natural sciences, results and a sense of accomplishment usually come fairly quickly. But if you don’t enjoy reading and writing, you’ve come to the wrong place. Studying law requires quite a lot of office work, which is relieved by tutoring in small groups.
A prejudice with a real core
However, I cannot completely reject the preconceived notion that law students are scumbags in math. Missing math lectures wasn’t the reason for me to choose to study, but over the years I have noticed that my math skills have decreased significantly. But the basics also play a role in legal studies: In property law, for example, we have to determine the claims of creditors, in family law we have to calculate the division of property in the event of a divorce, and in inheritance law we have to correctly distribute the property to the heirs. So you definitely can’t get around the numbers!
Well – who is a law degree suitable for? Stubborn, argumentative scientists who can’t do math? Not quite. While mathematics, as mentioned, does not really play a major role in jurisprudence, the ability to compromise is required. As already indicated, there are often many different opinions in the law – and yes, it happens that individual authors argue for years about small, seemingly insignificant points of detail. However, if you cannot accept or acknowledge the opinions of others, you will not get very far in jurisprudence. In short: the joy of argumentation yes, stubbornness no.
In this sense, it should also be recognized that there are many different types of law students. There is no right reason to study law or no right type of law student. When I was choosing my title, a little bit of guts played a part.