REFLECTIONS AT THE LAW SCHOOL
Thinking back 53 years to my first student days at the Law School,
I remember my sense of terror and disbelief as I confronted the
professors and the materials; my wonder and frustration at the
endless stream of words wrapped in the learned judges' opinions;
opinions which, after painful and tortuous study, seemed suitable
candidates for Weight-Watchers.
Perhaps the most telling impression was the ominous feeling that
my life was changing, but I could hardly articulate from what
At the early stages of Contracts I, Professor Malcolm Sharp,
exploring consideration, would wrinkle his formidable brow and
ask: "Canary bird?" And he would refer to the waitress's
(yes, the word was in use back then) wink at the conclusion of
a customer's order to inquire whether there was offer and acceptance.
(Incidentally, what was that curious suggestion about reliance
Professor Sheldon Tefft, in my very first class, interrupted
a student who was asking, "Can I sue…?" by waving
his hand above his 6'6" frame and saying, "You can always
sue." Query: Did the Trial Lawyers Association adopt the
Tefft Doctrine as their motto?
And Professor Edward Levi, not quite yet dean in my first year,
would impale us with his stinging wit,"Introducing"
us to Legal Reasoning as one big exercise in analogy. Today, I
suppose, legal reasoning is introduced as digital.
In ensuing years the concepts flew, the content grew and suddenly
we were about to graduate. The Antitrust exam required an encyclopedic
recollection of half a hundred of some of the most verbose opinions
in the literature and an ability to apply their principles to
contrived hypotheticals. For better or worse, I had been re-shaped.
Well, we were asked for a short reflection. Now, let me think.
What did happen in those intervening years?