Before coming to law school, I had always been told that the first year of law school is all about teaching you how to think differently. Sure the material in each class is different and some classes you like more than others, but they’re all really geared towards changing how your mind works. It’s a bit of a slow process, one I’m not sure I even noticed. Had you asked me at the end of 1L year if I thought differently, I probably would have said that I know more about the law, but I’m still the same person. I’m starting to think otherwise.
I was interviewing for a consulting firm the other day, and I was working on the case study part of the interview. I don’t remember what the question was that was asked of me, but my answer was something along the lines of “although the change would be material, it is not unforeseeable that our client…”
The interviewer interrupted, “UG! You lawyers are all the same.”
He wasn’t mad, but it made me pause. I quickly thought about what I had said and realized that this is not they way normal people talk. When someone asks you for a business strategy, you don’t use a long winded legal jargon to account for every possibility. They want a yes or no and how. As soon as I realized this, I was able to change my thinking and speak like I had learned to in business school. Still, when I left the interview I started wondering: do I speak like that all the time? To my non-law friends? To my family? That must be annoying. Huh….
Since then, I’ve made a conscious effort to cut the lawspeak when I’m not in law school….except when I’m trying to win an argument.