Tuesday, November 07, 2006

1L Hypochondria

Just as first year medical students are said to suffer a sort of mass hypochondria as they become aware of the cornucopia of diseases that might be afflicting them, so I think first year law students undergo a paradigm shift when they realize the simmering cesspool of liability through which they daily swim. It's something akin to a fish thinking it's drowning.

It occurred to me that I might be undergoing this 'change of life' the other night when I walked across the street to get a six pack. There's a convenience store directly across from my house. There's a crosswalk, but it's about 100 yards up the street. It's a residential neighborhood, but it's a fairly busy street. As I scampered across on the way over via the quickest straightest line, it occurred to me that if a crazed Mr. McPsychoDriver ran me down going 20 over the limit with no headlights, no working breaks and talking on his cellphone while taking a hit from his crack pipe, Mr. McPsychoDriver's attorney would point out that I was not using a crosswalk. I'll let you guess which way I went home.

Can anyone else relate or is this just my own little pet neurosis?


Blogger N.J.L.S. said...

I certainly don't think your alone on that one...its amazing how many torts I would see every day when taking that class. Your hypo was perhaps more interesting than what I see everyday, but regardless, it doesn't get much better.

11/07/2006 5:52 PM  
Blogger Luis Villa said...

You're definitely not alone. Sigh. I liked life a lot better when I could stand on a train platform without thinking about Mrs. Palsgraf.

11/07/2006 6:09 PM  
Anonymous Tim Hadley said...

I left Torts class one day at about this time of year and hopped on a bus to ride the twelve blocks or so back to my apartment. Standing near the front of the bus (while not holding on securely to a nearby pole), I watched as an inattentive driver nearly hit a bicyclist who wasn't really where he should have been at the time, close enough to the bus that it would have had a difficult time stopping before hitting the car, in which event I would have probably gone flying, laden with a backpack full of casebooks, into the person in front of me.

A moment later I caught my brain grinding through the elements of several different claims and realized that it hadn't even taken me a full semester to become seriously twisted thanks to law school.

I had a similar experience after trying a construction defect case a few years later, when I realized I probably would never be able to look at a building the same way again. I actually enjoy that new awareness most of the time -- I was always interested in architecture, and now I'm more aware of how buildings really work. The problem is that I have a tendency to worry that some awful latent defect is going to destroy my house. That part's not so great.

11/07/2006 7:11 PM  

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