The Gridiron

There are a lot of analogies in law school.  Analogy can be a powerful tool in forming a legal argument or a way to organize our thoughts.  It can also make things much more fun to think about.  With the NFL Conference Championships taking place tomorrow, there will be many BU Law students watching and cheering for the New England Patriots to make it into the Super Bowl.  What better time to analogize law school to the game of football?

Think about it.  Every law student has their own team of which they are the quarterback.  When it comes to making arguments, we’re the ones calling the plays.  We get to choose which cases we cite and the rules we use to make our points persuasive.  It’s these materials that act as our team’s backs and receivers.  They help us to move forward and advance our argument with skill and precision.

Stay with me.  A good team is nothing without a good defense, right?  Well, that makes for an easy analogy.  Lawyers and law students alike have to be aware of the defenses available to them in the court of law if they want to halt the progress of their opponents and win their cases.  With players like Wilfork and Ninkovich on the Pats’ defense, it looks like Joe Flacco and the Ravens may end up settling.

Let’s not forget our coaches.  They’re the ones who are showing us how to play harder while also teaching us how to play smarter.  Our professors are our coordinators.  They’re watching the field; they can see all of our team’s offense and defense along with its strengths and weaknesses.  Likewise,   each professor can identify areas of excellence and the parts of our legal arguments that need improvement.

In the end, that’s what makes better players and better lawyers.  Good coaching, whether it’s from a law professor or another mentor, is essential to having a good team.  Bill Belichick is one of the main reasons Tom Brady has been so successful; though, I doubt Brady would ever need to ask for a letter of recommendation.

It’s also about the work we do.  Football players are out on the field for hours in the days leading up to their next game sweating and running drills.  As law students we practice in our own way, drilling ourselves on facts so that we’re prepared for our next class.  The world of law is much like the world of sports: you get out what you put in.

Finally, there’s the fans.  The people in the stands who are there to cheer us on, win or lose.  There’s nothing like the support of family, friends, and loved ones.  It’s this kind of unwavering enthusiasm that helps us make it through the day and keeps us coming back for more.  Football fans may be more energetic, but I’m sure you’d see some face paint and fight songs in the courtroom if such things were allowed.

Now that grades have been released, a lot of us have started to look at the scoreboard.  Still, as all great football teams know, you can’t score a touchdown on every drive.  If you didn’t make it into the end zone this time, go for a field goal and wait until you have the ball again.  You never know what’s going to happen next season.  We may not be professional football players, but we are professionals. When it comes to being a professional, it’s all about the dedication.

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