The long term significance of having been a student of the Law
School cannot be described briefly. Suffice it to say that it
certainly changed my world view and my respect for learning.
However, I would like to share an experience that took place
on my first
day as a freshman.
I had not anticipated coming to Chicago, and was in fact accepted
another major law school, and was prepared to send in a deposit
institution, when my dear friend, Elliott Cohen, convinced me
to apply and
attend the U of C with him. I did apply quite late, but was fortunate
enough to be accepted.
On the first day (and this was still in the imposing old Gothic
building) I went to the first class, with much the same expectations
had as an undergraduate on the first day of any given class. The
instructor would introduce himself, write his name on the board,
what material might be covered during the semester, what papers
expected, how many exams would be given, what books to buy and
where to buy
them, etc., and then you would be excused until the next class
the same sort of series of announcements would be made.
Well, the first class on the first day was with Francis Allen,
course was Criminal Law. He did introduce himself, write his name
board, told us what the texts would be, and then he began to lecture.
I think I brought a little notebook and a pen, so I wasn't totally
unprepared. However, what soon followed was something for which
I was not
prepared. He asked the class what was Aristotle's theory of Criminal
What a shock! And then a bigger shock! Someone raised his hand
answered the question! The next forty minutes were spent in a
What in the world was I doing here? A business school graduate
midst of a crew who knew Aristotle's view of Criminal Law! Not
As soon as the class was over, I had a question of my own for
in the world did you convince me to apply to the University of
I am pleased to report that Elliott did indeed do a good thing,
and he is
still my closest friend. The Law School experience touched and
lives of all those who shared in this process of learning and
had the privilege of studying with some of the truly great law
the last century.
Now, I would respectfully request that no one ask me about the
Criminal Law as defined by the ancient Greeks. I looked for my
notebook and could not locate it.