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写给法律的情诗 Reflections on My Relationship with Law

As for the starting point…

 

The brightly-lit nighttime skyline of Hong Kong, viewed from the Peak itself, where I sat calmly to write down some thoughts on this matter? 

 

Initial confusions caused by being thrown in a black-and-white world of two sides, where one is destined to win and the other, to lose; fast and comprehensive thinking; rationality and logic? 

 

Remember that laughing judge? Or the two advocates sitting side by side, referring to each other without looking at the other party, carefully referring, not without some resentment, the opposing side as ‘my learned friend’? The times when a counsel shakes his head?

 

I have a rather complicated relationship with law. Practicing law has been on my mind as a top option for quite a while. I respect the law and those who practice it well. Mastering the law is surely no easy task. Yet, it is often viewed as the clichéd path to power and respect—arguable, that is, since lawyers are not particularly portrayed favorably in literature and elsewhere, and privilege. Meanwhile, I am supposed to be creative and wild at heart. But are they not the qualities law may gradually kill, with its precision, exactness, and meticulous attention to precedents and details that often compel one to differ from what imagination and creativity may lead them to do? While recognising that original thinking is highly valued in law, I wonder if it is a distinct type of creativity altogether.

 

At times, I question myself on why I am drawn to law, or am I, really—and if so, how deeply. Do I enjoy law because of my obsession with words and details, or because I love working with and picking up fights against intelligent people, or because law school is the ideal ‘finishing school’ that will guarantee relative financial stability, or because of peer influence? Or the typical TV detective and misrepresented yet still highly addictive criminal law stuff? Or the coolness associated with the apparently cold-blooded, icy, and even formidable facial expressions that can isolate one from the mundane to solely be immersed in a different world of abstract principles and precedents? 

 

Maybe it is an eccentric mix of all of the above. Meandering through one’s twenties may well be only natural, but my increasing sense of perfectionism does not want to see myself making mistakes that would later disappoint my potentially more demanding future self. 

 

Aspiring lawyers may fit into three categories: those who are not sure what to do and choose law because they can but end up hating it and wasting their youth, those who really love the law, and those who enjoy something else that is related to law and use law as a way of moving from the general to a niche, or other way round. Perhaps I fit into all three categories. I am still figuring this out.

 

Law can draw me in its labyrinth. Appearing like a jigsaw puzzle (or, for that matter, a very tough logic game), the dense language and the ideas behind such camouflage attract me, because I know how rewarding it can be each time I work out some of the kinks, discovering certain links between words, locate an overarching theme to sharpen my logic and argumentation, etc. I am a confident introvert for whom inspiration arises from tranquility and who enjoys peace and quiet, though I can also be social and gregarious. I enjoy collaboration, but may also be competitive—strangely enough, whenever I engage in a debate, for instance, in my Spanish mock trial exercise, I get angry when I hear unpersuasive arguments from the other side, fiercely demanding myself to try as hard as possible to come up with the best arguments and present them with clarity convincingly, no matter how difficult my assigned position would be to argue. With strong opponents on the other side, I would be awed by their way of dealing with the same issues at hand and looking at them from a wholly different angle.

 

Maybe this is only the starting point. Or maybe it is in fact an end that has only just started—the last date before a breakup, for a love affair analogy. At present, what I want for myself is not to miss opportunities and let myself see what the option are. As for the outcomes, we shall see.

 

*For context, undergraduate schools in the U.S. do not offer law degrees, unlike universities in the UK and other Commonwealth countries.

 

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