Well, that’s a wrap. Yesterday featured the last official class I’ll have in Section 3. Whatever the exams bring, I have no regrets; it was a wonderful year full of stimulating professors and classmates. I feel like quoting Bilbo at his party speech: "I don't know half of you half as well as I would like, and less than half of you half as well as you deserve." I do wish the semester would continue on just a bit more – or perhaps I wish the summations of the courses, the panel presentations, and the cross-course examples came a bit earlier in the semester. I tend to do better when I have a “big picture” statement which I can use to evaluate all the discrete cases/theories.
For our very final class (Bargain, Exchange and Liability), Proto-Abe brought in a case of beer. Our prof got one too but, alas, did not join us in drinking during class. He dropped a minor bombshell (something he does for each final class) in that he extrapolated and applied a somewhat contentious legal theory (Duncan Kennedy’s piece on Paternalism) to race/gender relations. I asked him about it afterward, specifically inquiring as to why he didn’t push his analysis further, and he said, “Well, I saw all the beer and figured you guys were just done for the year.”
In the evening a bunch of us snuck beers into the gym and watched the Section 3 volleyball team close out its undefeated season with two victories for the final volleyball crown. We cheered them on with Sec. 3 call and response– such as “Set The: BaseLine” and “DunCan: KenNeDy.” It’s really hard to work “indeterminacy” or “anti-paternalism” into a cheer. But we tried. We got some black looks from the “section other” black letter law volleyball opponents. Or perhaps it was simply jealousy that they had no observers/cheerers. Drunken law-volleyball cheers were simply not on my radar when I began classes here.
Over the summer, I’ll be working with 2 of the cheerers and one of the players in a nearby public defender’s office. One of my fellow DC blawgers will also be in the office, which alone would be cause for celebration. However, I think I need to overtly discuss the blawgability of the place with him before “outing” him/it here. Regardless of that last detail, this should rock and I’ll be sending in my missives as I can.
I wish I had the day to blawg on 3 and the close of classes, but today I must register for next year’s classes, clean up financial aid problems, deal with some kind of spam problem on my website’s server, and frantically update address/phone/email info for all the various offices that need such. My desk is littered with paper – none of it outline stuff. Not good – no time for a bike ride even. Tomorrow I will make a grocery excuse to hit the pavement.
I’ll close with this clichéd observation – the first year of law school, section 3 or no, is what you make it. Our professors have repeatedly told us that we’re pretty unusual in our solidarity; one cited our fundraiser (we did what we could – elaborate plans are sometimes just not possible here) for our fellow unfunded section-mate’s summer work, as remarkable and unusual. But there’s no reason this kind of thing can’t happen in other sections or other schools. I urge any prospective students reading the blawg to think about it - would you rather be in a cutthroat section with a few (perhaps) close friends, fighting against the whole class, mocking each other, creating a tiny study-group island, or would you rather be in a gregarious section that combines the talents of its members to make things happen? If you prefer the second, build bridges often and early, encourage each class member's uniquiness, support their "non-law" selves and activites. It's that simple. The above is not to suggest that 3 didn’t have its political divisions, that the year went well for everyone (one of our mates is considering packing it in and not taking finals) or that everyone simply loves everybody else in the section, or that some people didn't isolate themselves. There were the usual philosophic, political, and interpersonal tensions. I think in the main though my classmates listened, tolerated each other’s differences, respected each other’s views, tried to change those views in a responsible way through dialogue, and genuinely, in the main, would like to see their classmates do well and be happy. In short, my classmates are supportive adults and they act like it.