Friday, May 05, 2017

JD Aftermath #2 : Folks you will meet at the course - Generation X.

By the time I can write this, I feel a lot better. My grades are finalised and I managed to just squeeze north of the equivalent of an honours classification.

This closes another chapter of my life.

To discuss the folks who you will get to meet in Law School, perhaps it is better to break it down into three separate articles. 

First before I start my fairly candid write-up, I'd just like to say that overall the people in this program are great folks to be associated with. I am honoured to be part of the cohort of 2014 because only a select group of 40 students are chosen to join the JD program. A lot of unhappiness between all of us stems from the fact that people from different age groups are forced to work together to achieve a common grade and we find ourselves under the mercy of someone who may not have the same work ethic as we do. 

Ok, I will start with my own cohort which is Generation X. 

a) Gen X has no rational reason to be signing up for the JD.

The first fact which screams at you is that folks in my generation have no reason to be in law school given the disruption the legal sector is facing. The opportunity cost is ridiculously high at around half a million dollars and training contracts is much harder to come by. We are also saddled with many personal responsibilities at home making it a fairly difficult undertaking. If you interact with folks in their 40s, perhaps it would good to figure out what's their motivation because it is often interesting and even contradictory to common sense.

It is probably easier to imagine folks in their 40s taking an executive MBA because it's just a very expensive networking session with a requisite amount of intellectual masturbation. 

[ If you are mid-career and need some legal knowledge just to carry on at work, seriously consider a part-time LLM instead. ]

b) Gen X may be the hardest folks to work with in teams because of the generation gap.

Because of family commitments and a general lack of a credible reason to be in law school, we may not make good team-mates. This can be very frustrating for folks who really need a degree to get ahead in life. Some of us have different priorities and can't put grades above everything else in our lives. We have kids, spouses and parents. Some of us even continue to have careers throughout law school.

There is also a jaded sense of entitlement amongst us older candidates. One junior was talking about being scolded for not sharing his notes on FB. I replied that it is as if some people have a constructive trust over your hard work ( inside joke ).

Of course, I receive a lot of candid feedback about folks my age across all cohorts.  We 40-something years olds really need to listen more and direct team-mates less. 

c)  But working with Gen-X is fairly rewarding when it comes to grades. 

Older candidates may be harder to work with because of the generation gap but I have yet to actually experience bad grades working with my own kind.

One possibility is that being older allows us to project more gravitas when we make a presentation. Another possibility is that we bring a wealth of experience into the team. Another possibility is that we simply have been reading newspapers for a much longer time and can surprise the professor with our insights.

While it might piss some people off to say this. At least I am proud to be part of the group that does not defer to someone because of their GPAs. We can be outvoted by our peers but, similar to a work situation, respect has to be earned when working in a team. 

[ One of the problem in law school is that it's very hard not to become an asshole if your GPA is high because a lot of folks engage in hero worship. It's part of being a society that is meritocratic and hierarchical. The environment then shapes these people into the guys who were so arrogant, engineers like myself eventually enter law school so that we can provide our own legal support.  ]

2 comments:

Retireby35.SgStyle said...

Congratulations! I hope you do not end up being a corporate lawyer and work on soul sucking bond / equity prospectuses deconflicting comments from ass kissing ibankers who are always looking to one up each other. Put the law to good use! And if you are free I highly recommend reading the book sapiens By Yuval Noah Harari. You seem like you might enjoy that. Good luck for your practicum!

Christopher Ng Wai Chung said...

Thanks for the recommendation man !