Last night I had dinner with some new friends and we were talking about the difference between being a lawyer on tv and being a lawyer in real life. One of my friends said, “Have you ever seen Boston Legal? It’s not really like that is it?” I have seen Boston Legal but I have never worked in a large law firm so although I suspect that no, it’s not really like that, I can’t say that from experience. I do know one thing though– lawyers on tv rarely spend their time researching, and if they do, they spend hours pouring over dusty, print case reporters (coffee and junk food are usually involved) then sometime around 3:00am pull a random book off the shelf and discover the answer they’ve been looking for. A colleague calls that the zen method of legal research. The researching until 3:00am part may happen in real life, but the randomly finding the answer part doesn’t. I was pleased to note on Boston Legal that the firm did have a library though from what I could tell, it was used mostly for extra-marital trysts during working hours. Still, there was the hint that somebody, some time went in there to research.
So that’s the hurdle I have to overcome with my students.