David V. Kahn (1952)  


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 to 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 damages?)

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?