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Randomness from a 2005 graduate of The Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University

 

Friday, December 03, 2004

Well, I got the "closure" I needed. Namely by Dylan acting like a prick, but at least there is no misinterpreting that. And I am about 90% fine with it too. So on to better topics...

Last night the prosecution practicum class had our final meeting (at a bar) and it was really fun. I had several interesting conversations with people who I had never really spoken to before and who are very different from me. The most shocking thing was that several people said that they often didn't know how I felt about issues we discussed in class. Normally everyone knows exactly how I feel, primarily because I make no effort to disguise what I am thinking from showing on my face. I am glad they didn't know though, because I already felt like the liberal pariah.

I would encourage every law student to take either the prosecution or defense practicum. There are obviously endless benefits to taking practical classes in law school. These two courses in particular I believe are especially worthwhile. For one thing, prosecution and public defense are honorable ways to serve. The old ideals of attorneys using at least part of their career to give to society and the profession through public service may be fading away, but this is a three month opportunity for law students to serve. Second, I firmly believe that criminal law is about what really matters: people's lives. Of course jobs and and medical bills and businesses matter and are often intimately tied up with people's lives, but criminal law is about liberty and justice and healing and stigma and the very essence of a person's life. Most law students will not practice criminal law, and I'm not saying that they should (I won't be, at least at first). But it is awesome to have a very brief impact on matters of such gravity.

For anyone trying to decide which practicum to take, I don't think it matters. Of course I say that not having taken the defense practicum, but many of my friends did last year (and they all wanted to be prosecutors). Even if you think you have a very strong inclination to one side or the other, either practicum will be valuable. In fact, taking the other might be more valuable. I am clearly defense oriented, but I think that I learned far more by actually prosecuting people than I would have by defending people. It was a chance for me to evaluate the good faith of the prosecutor's office. I had to confront that there are some (lots) people who clearly deserve to be punished. And of course it is always valuable to have insight into how the other side thinks. Neither side operates in isolation, so what you are really learning about is how the criminal justice system as a whole functions in practice.

I have enjoyed a lot of classes in law school, but so far this has probably been my most valuable experience and I would recommend it to everyone. |
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