I have no idea what I am getting into at law school, I enter thinking lawyers are a mixture of Oliver Wendell Holmes and Aldous Huxley, walking thesaurus kinds of people writing in fancy literary arabesques. Even though I am older than most of the other students I am naive, I’ve been out of school for a long time and shaky in my efforts to seem at ease in this milieu. I don’t have nice clothes, never need much besides overalls at the co-op, and after class I drive home in the dark over dirt roads to Caitlin and Karl and cook dinner on a wood stove and study by kerosene lamplight while the other law students go to a bar and drink.
One of my first classes is a legal writing course, I forget the subject but the form is a legal memorandum and I write it the way lawyers sound in my head, full of neverthelesses and notwithstandings and the like. When the professor hands it back, the comment on top is this is sheer gobbledegook. But see, I know it is gobbledegook, I just don’t realize that is a bad thing.
Eventually, within a few months really, I begin to understand the value of clarity and simplicity and dry exposition. You’d never know it now but I back then I actually eschew all adjectives when I write. I study hungrily, lucky I have a retentive memory and I am starting to feel motivated and ambitious. I realize that I am starved for intellectual challenges, I take reams of notes in lectures, almost verbatim in my tiny lettering, concentrate attentively whenever a teacher speaks. I am twelfth in my class after the first year. I think I would be best if I didn’t have distractions but I am not unhappy with my place in the hierarchy.