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An estimated 5-minute read

The 5 People You Meet In Every Law School & Why it's Good to Have Enemies

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The Five People You Meet In Every Law School and Why It Is Good To Have Enemies

(Law school politics)


I am not the kind who is quick to judge people and my first instinct is to trust others...but law school essentially changes the way you look at the world and in the words of a former law student, it teaches you ‘to keep your blinkers on’ all the time. Where you earlier had three dimensions of looking at a problem, law school introduces a fourth, fifth even a sixth!-such is the beauty of the thinking with which a law school equips you...

This very famous quote by Marilyn Monroe “...learn to trust no one but yourself", has been used by almost every senior whom I met in my first week of law school. The message is fairly simple ‘Don’t trust anyone’, but the implication can be understood only by those who at some point have tasted betrayal.

It is funny how the entire industry of lawyers and the legal system rests on the fulcrum called ‘trust’. You trust that the person on the road will not run you over with his car and when he does (run you over) you have a tort action for negligence (assuming you are still around to sue), you trust that your fancy new touch screen will last as long as the salesman solicits it would and when it doesn’t, you have a claim for misrepresentation, you trust that you have made the right choice by marrying the person you did...Similarly, in a law school you trust that your friend will not betray you but when he does, you learn to trust no one but yourself.

I have tried to view people as objectively as possible and perhaps that is why I survived a rather tumultuous first year of law school so smoothly. ‘You meet all sorts of people in your life.’ This never seemed truer. As you get to know your peers (and this is a long and painful process (i) because you can’t judge them in a day and (ii) because when you do know them, you realize that you were better off without knowing them) you learn to fit them into categories which suit their personality best. I did too and here’s my list of five:

  1. The Debater:

These are people who have an opinion about everything, right from the reservation system to the horrible state of affairs that the law school is in. The faculty, Vice Chancellor, Education Minister- no one is spared. These people are intimidating because they have a voice. However, they realize with time that speaking their minds out is not always advisable and their outspoken behaviour can land them into trouble.

2.  The Gossiper:

These are people who make it their business to know everything about everyone- who had the latest breakup...who is rumoured to be getting the biggest package- they know it all. While gossiping can be fun and even liberating when life gets monotonous in law school, these are people who are trying to get focus off themselves and directing it at people who are trying to make something of their lives in law school. It is disturbing to know that people are talking about you all the time and forming opinions, but the sooner you become immune to the gossip, the better for you.

p.s.: You are only wasting your time with/being The Gossiper, move to something more meaningful.

3.  The Shark:

These are people who are extremely competitive. They will fight for every mark, never satisfied till the 9.7 becomes a 10, a la Chatur. Being competitive is good, but the means they adopt at winning are despicable. Their motto is ‘If I go down, I take every one with me’. So you will find them harassing the faculty members to make that 9.7 a 10, hiding research material from the library and hardly ever lending notes. Their efforts pay off and they eventually join a big law firm.

Their reasoning is sound: “In being competitive, I am being true to myself. It is only fair that since they are my notes, I should be the one benefitting from them.”

The Shark is seldom liked; often arrogant, he epitomises a ruthless law firm associate. All said and done, I think they are people who have learnt from having trusted and then being betrayed. You might even feel sorry for them for being trapped in a world where they only see shades of black and white, right and wrong and they fail to see the big picture. Well, to each his own.

4. The Pet:

They will be your best buddies when you feel homesick, bitch with you together about the people you hate, socialize and make contacts. An unwitting batch mate makes the mistake of trusting The Pet and realizes too late-‘Et tu Brute’.

The Pet is the least faithful of all- you will catch him stealing your moot research, replacing your name with his own in a research paper and slyly telling your batch mates what you think of them.

The Pet who is seemingly innocuous can be potentially very dangerous if you take your blinkers off even for a second. However, an unpleasant experience with The Pet teaches you a lot...it teaches you to “...learn to trust no one but yourself”.

You meet all sorts of people in your life.’ And the fifth category, though a rarity, also exists:

5.   The Nice One:

These are people who are genuinely nice; you might not find them right away since they are rare but for every unpleasant encounter that you have with The Pet, you have a chance meeting with The Nice One. They are people whom you might have hardly spoken to in your first few months of college, have nothing in common with or those whom you were too quick to judge.

They can make your five years of law school life truly beautiful.

It is always desirable to find The Nice One but it is equally important to have lived through an experience involving The Debater, The Gossiper, The Shark and The Pet. This is what eventually makes you stronger and smarter. I read an article in this month’s Reader’s Digest titled ‘Why we sometimes need to be Sad’. It speaks of how unhappiness is essential for one to realize the worth of being truly happy. This holds even in case of people: unless we meet bad apples, we will never be smart enough to recognize a truly Nice One when we meet him/her.

It will be wrong to say that smart people go to law schools, it is in fact the other way round, one actually becomes smart by going to one. Moreover, with Pets and other creatures around, you can rest assured that they will never let your blinkers fall off!






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