Friday, April 14th, 2006
Well, this is the start of something. I don't know what exactly, but you have to start somewhere, and this is it.
Yesterday in the last day of my seminar, as I watched the clock count down to the end, a stream of older people flooded into our tiny seminar room. The room is at the very top of the law school, in a room I affectionately call the "Crow's Nest." From the three windows on each side, you can see the wide expanse north, south, and west of the greater University, which feels strikingly academic -- as though you have reached the top of the ivory tower and have nowhere else to go but down.
When some of the faces streaming into the room started to look familiar, I realized they were all law professors. And when the dean of the law school materialized, I knew we were about to experience something few witness in their law school careers. As the influx began to subside, our professor looked to the floor, and told us, "They are here to tell you this is my last day."
He kept lecturing, but now to everyone, and not just the nine students in the class. As he finished, the entire law faculty erupted in applause. I looked around the seminar table, and stood to join the faculty in applause, and one by one we stood, until we were all standing, giving the professor a standing ovation. Our professor looked at each of us, and at the faculty he worked with for just one year shy of forty years, and tears started to well in his eyes. I started to choke up too -- I think most of us did. In that moment all of us, students and faculty, all at different stages of our legal careers, came together in appreciation for one person's life, dedicated to education and inspiring others to move forward in the legal profession.
In that moment, without any warning, we were witness to one of the grandest traditions at our law school -- on the last day of class, during the last class the professor will ever teach here, the entire law faculty sends him out with a standing ovation. I am grateful students are able to bear witness to the tradition -- to allow it to inspire us to do more, and be more.
And so with an ending, becomes a beginning. I can't promise that I will be faithful, or that my thoughts will always be poignant, entertaining, or funny. But they will, over time become a middle, and after awhile, an end. Hopefully there will be something in all of this mess others can take away and find useful. By way of banal background information, I transferred from a low East Coast Tier 1 to a top 10 law school. I am now a 2L at my new law scool, and reflecting on the decision I made to transfer.