Thursday, 6 September 2012

Why Study Law?

 So, after a hectic Uni year, with a ton of changes in my personal life alongside the academic challenge, working full time and fighting my way through my law school mooting competition, a good friend suggested a wee trip. The wee trip she suggested was walking the West Highland way. If you've not heard of the West Highland way, it's a 96 mile hike through the countryside of Scotland. The proposed schedule for the trip had us walking an average of 20 miles a day over a period of five days with the joy of camping by Loch Lomond for the first two days. It sounded to me like a great plan, so on the 3rd of June, 7 of us set of on our wee adventure. 

As a poor student of limited means, this was my first holiday for years, it was also the longest period of time I've spent away from Glasgow for a quite some time time. The contrast between being on a lonely track in the middle of nowhere and city life really struck a chord with me. On the second day of the trip I fell into a conversation with one of my friends who works as an insurance underwriter and deals with large commercial projects. What we talked about was simple, the fiction of city life and modern society. 

It's very hard to take an objective look at something while you're on the inside looking out, and I think this applies quite well to city living. Being away from the city, surrounded by nature, with no use for a car or cash for a few days really made me think about how we live today and the significance of both money and law. It strikes me that both money and law are convenient fictions, they are no more than tools to help society stay together. 

I'm not an anarchist, I don't think we need to smash the system, nor do I think that capitalism is evil. What I do think however is that living in a city, we can't help but invest a great deal of time, effort and thought in dealing with moth money and the law (in our system the two are inseparably linked, just look at tax, insurance, shipping, commercial contracts, inheritance etc. etc.). I've come round to thinking that these things are no more than the tools we use for social cohesion, they exist to serve us and allow us to be safe and expect a certain standard of life and a certain standard of behaviour from one another. 

Following this I can't help but think that law, from both a substantive and theoretical point of view, is one of the most interesting things I could have chosen to study. Law represents the rules and regulations by which society functions, as defined by society, what's more these rules and standards continue to develop and evolve. How exciting, with this in mind I can't help but end with a wee quote . . . 

To me, a lawyer is basically the person that knows the rules of the country. We're all throwing the dice, playing the game, moving our pieces around the board, but if there is a problem the lawyer is the only person who has read the inside of the top of the box. - Jerry Seinfeld

1 comment:

  1. Law is great career and a fascinating one, but it has changed so much as a career, and the prospects are not nearly as good for many lawyers, so it's important to look at all angles, short and long term.