Shaun Sanders (’15)
As the first year of my law school experience comes to a close, I am reminded that this was the worst decision of my life – or at least that seemed to be the general consensus among others before I even began. Like many people considering law school, especially in this economy, the chants of negativity are all too common from the news, online forums, and even friends and family. I can’t say I blame them for being realistic, but I can say, quite confidently, that they were wrong.
When I was a child, going to law school used to be one of those dream goals that were placed at the end of an academic finish line and the phrase “I want to be a lawyer when I grow up” was always followed by a handful of encouraging words. Yet when the time came to actually approach that finish line, it seemed like all that encouragement had been replaced with cold, hard, reality-checks. Going to law school has come with an intimate awareness of economics. Time and again, I have been told that the economy “isn’t what it used to be,” and that the job prospects “aren’t what they used to be” – but what about what I want to be?
As realistic as so many people seem to be about the world, there is a far more dire reality they do not seem to appreciate: life is short. No matter how concerned I may be about an ever-growing debt monster looming on the horizon threatening to swallow my dreams, I am more terrified at the idea of selling those dreams short – and my dream is to be a lawyer.
I want to be a lawyer because I want to know what lawyers know and see the world how lawyers can. Why? The world we live in exists as an aggregate emulsion of conflicting wants, desires, decisions, and choices. To maintain a balance, we elect officials, create governments, and, ultimately, encode our cultural DNA into a system of laws. Law is the source code of society, its language. For as long as there is free will and free thought, there will be discrepancies in what is believed to be “fair” and “just.” And, unfortunately for the lay, Lady Justice’s native tongue is Law and law school is its Rosetta Stone.
Articulating Law is the difference between being able to merely identify a problem and being capable of describing a problem in a way that incites action and change. Those who understand the law have an ability to invoke the uninhibited power, sovereignty, and authority of the United States government to enforce or defend their sense of truth; ironically, those who do not will have to hire someone who does. And while many evils throughout history may have been defeated by the physical, brute force of soldiers and social movements, it is ultimately the legal architects who create the barriers that keep the monsters at bay.
While much of this surely sounds like the romanticized ramblings of a starry-eyed student, it stems from the underlying enjoyment I have had in law school. It has been the hardest and most satisfying time of my life, and unlocked an assortment of opportunities that I would never have been able to reach without it. These experiences have also helped to shape my view of the world, understanding of business, and appreciation for the intricate aggregation of systems that keep this country moving and are often taken for granted. Going to law school was a terrifying leap of faith, but I am all the stronger today for having taken it.
About the Author:
Shaun Sanders is a second-year law student, President of the Entrepreneurship Law Society, and member of the Law Review at Chapman University School of Law. He has spent the majority of his life in the technology industry, working with start-up companies, and developing marketing campaigns that have reached hundreds of millions of people throughout the world. Shaun is known as a creative engineer and prides himself in making things happen. While at Chapman, he hopes to find the best way to combine his passions into his pursuit for a career in business and technology law. View Shaun’s website.
The views expressed in the student blogs are those of the author and not the law school.