Law and Justice

Since this blog is to be about both my ironman adventures and my law school adventures, I thought it would be a good idea to write about why I went to law school.

Law school was never something I seriously considered during my undergrad years.  I got my degree in education and planned on living overseas for the rest of my life teaching wherever I was needed.  In fact, after graduating from college I spent two years in the Middle East and then almost a year in China teaching.

During my time overseas, I was confronted with many situations that would prove catalysts to my application to law school.  While in Jordan, I interacted with Palestinian and Iraqi refugees, saw the conditions in which they lived, and heard the stories of how they were treated.  While this is not a stump for a debate on which sides are right in Middle Eastern conflicts, there was (an in my mind is) no denying that there are gross violations of basic human rights in many of those areas (and neither side is without blame).  China was the same.  Living in one of the poorest areas of China showed me further the inequity and need of those people to have someone to stand in the gap for them, to be an advocate, to give them a voice.

I have always been a fighter.  It’s how I was built.  I have a very strong protective urge, especially when I see people being mistreated.  As I talked with these people, I that urge was poked and prodded to the point I couldn’t ignore it any more.  While I had never had a real plan for going to law school, after college it was one of several options I had considered.  Planning on living overseas indefinitely meant it wasn’t a real option though.  Then, after a family illness forced a move back to the states, I applied.  I only applied to one school, SMU, because I needed to stay in the DFW area for my grandpa.  I took the last administration of the LSAT and SMU received it on the last possible day.  Fortunately, I got in and even got some financial aid.

I’m here because I am a believer.  I believe that, while not always the same, law and justice can be the same thing.  I believe that substantive justice should trump procedural justice.  I believe that everyone should have a voice, or someone to speak for them.  I affirm the need for people to be on the ground digging wells, providing medical aid, and helping with other social services.  I’m not that guy.  I’m the guy who wants to push back on the system and fight the forces that keep people in need of those things.  I am an optimist.  I know that things won’t ever be utopia, but I think things can be better.  I think using “things won’t ever be perfect” as an excuse to sit on your hands is laziness and contemptible.

I like this quote from Edward Everett:

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

That’s why I’m in law school.

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