Michael Newberger (1960)  

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 at another major law school, and was prepared to send in a deposit to that 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 Law School building) I went to the first class, with much the same expectations as I had as an undergraduate on the first day of any given class. The instructor would introduce himself, write his name on the board, tell you what material might be covered during the semester, what papers were 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 met, where the same sort of series of announcements would be made.

Well, the first class on the first day was with Francis Allen, and the course was Criminal Law. He did introduce himself, write his name on the 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 Law? What a shock! And then a bigger shock! Someone raised his hand and answered the question! The next forty minutes were spent in a cold sweat. What in the world was I doing here? A business school graduate in the midst of a crew who knew Aristotle's view of Criminal Law! Not a promising situation.

As soon as the class was over, I had a question of my own for Elliott. Why in the world did you convince me to apply to the University of Chicago?

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 changed the lives of all those who shared in this process of learning and inquiry, and had the privilege of studying with some of the truly great law teachers of the last century.

Now, I would respectfully request that no one ask me about the theory of Criminal Law as defined by the ancient Greeks. I looked for my little
notebook and could not locate it.