Week 1 in reflection
Just in the first weeks worth of study and reading, my understanding of what law is has changed. No longer is it just an elephant in the room… it is now a concept that has a tangible meaning. It is no longer just a set of rules made by the ‘higher ups’ … but is actually a “system of rules made by the state, enforceable by prosecution or litigation”… which on its own sounds straightforward… until you dig down deeper into the meaning of even that definition… for instance… what is the state? What makes this set of rules different to any other?
This is where understanding what lawyers are, what solicitors and barristers do, and what the different theories behind the law are… not to mention all the different categories of law. When doing the readings on the different types of and different categories of law, it was gratifying to come across categories that I had heard of but didn’t fully understand what they meant… such as administrative law, or tort.
Now, as far as the theories behind law, and jurisprudence… for the most part that makes sense… after all, as the natural law theory posits… there are some things that we as a community had decided are just right and wrong… so the law ensures that these ‘wrong’ things don’t happen. And if they do, there are consequences. And I can also understand the legal positivism views towards law. After all, isn’t the law… the law? But this brings back memories of arguments like which is correct… religion or science… evolution vs creationism… the list goes on. And after reading the section on law and liberal values, all I can say is the positives are straight-forward… and the negatives are doing my head in! Just proves I am not a philosopher… yet!
My final thoughts on this first brief plunge in the depths of the legal system are that I didn’t realise how move variety there was, and how many options there are. I mean, there are the ‘obvious’ careers such as barrister, solicitor, legal academic (law teacher / tutor) and perhaps law librarian, but I hadn’t thought of legal consultants or paralegals (‘law clerks’). Nor had I thought of the community sector… I had really only thought of the high-priced private sector corporate lawyers, the public sector government lawyers, and a few other career areas… but, that is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s plenty more career options and paths… and now I just have to work out what one I want to pursue over the next few years!