The hardest thing about it is the @ # ! * e d-up way of thinking you've to adopt. The best way to think about it is to imagine you've this weird way of thinking yourself that you're "projecting" from now on to your thinking processes while in the environment where your classes take place; that is to say, just think that you've to put up with this bad part of yourself that adheres to the assinine lawyers' way of thinking and that you're inexorably free from all that crap once out in the real world, away from the law school sorrounding madness!
In Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four
there is a particularly chilling scene in which, after the director of the Ministry of Love has subjected Winston Smith to intense physical tortures, he employs another strategy in the process of Smith's gradual re-education."This time it will not hurt," [O'Brien] said. "Keep your eyes fixed on mine."
At this moment there was a devastating explosion, or what seemed like an explosion.... A terrific, painless blow had flattened [Smith] out. Also something had happened inside his head ... somewhere or other there was a large patch of emptiness, as though a piece had been taken out of his brain.
"It will not last," said O'Brien. "Look at me in the eyes.... Just now I held up the fingers of my hand to you. You saw five fingers. Do you remember that?"
O'Brien held up the fingers of his left hand, with the thumb concealed.
"There are five fingers there. Do you see five fingers?"
And he did see them, for a fleeting instant ... there had been a moment -- he did not know how long, thirty seconds, perhaps -- of luminous certainty, when each new suggestion of O'Brien's had filled up a patch of emptiness and become absolute truth, and when two and two could have been three as easily as five, if that were what was needed ...
"You see now," said O'Brien, "that it is at any rate possible."
Compare this passage to Karl Llewellyn's famous description of the student's first year of law school: "The hardest job of the first year is to lop off your commonsense, to knock your ethics into temporary anesthesia. Your view of social policy, your sense of justice -- to knock these out of you along with woozy thinking, along with ideas all fuzzed along their edges."
Bot of course when we undertake the resolution of hard issues it will always be the case that the relevant legal concepts, the demands of social policy, and the ideal of justice will by necessity appear to sensitive interpreters to be "fuzzed along their edges." That very same formal, empirical, and ethical fuzziness is, after all, what makes hard issues hard. A successful legal education therefore both sharpens and desensitizes the adept's sense of analytical complexity, sharpening it so that the advocate can identify various plausible arguments, and then deadening it for the purpose of making and (especially) deciding between such arguments. This characteristic doubleness of the legal mind produces the doubleness of the literal sophomore
-- of the brilliant simpleton who understands and exploits and at appropriate times forgets -- the evidentiary problems, conceptual incommensurabilities, and ethical dilemmas that always characterize legal issues. To be trained to think like a lawyer is to be taught how to evoke all the chaotic complexity of law, and then how to repress the intolerable doubt that same evocation can produce by going on to achieve the "luminous certainty" required of the advocate or judge.