Why I want to go to Law School

This is a quick-and-dirty mind dump of why I am considering attending law school next year (and will serve as a boilerplate for the inevitable personal essay to write on every single law school application ever) As many of you who read this know, I grew up being a 'computer guy' and an all-out geek. I wanted to solve problems that had the one correct answer. Math and logic puzzles seemed like the perfect encapsulation of a problem: While the problem may be convoluted and in slightly verbose language with complicated inter-dependencies between constraints given in the puzzle, after enough raw thought and avoiding logical fallacies, the correct answer was demonstrably generated. One could verify the correctness of the steps taken to reach the conclusion, the correctness of the input, and the correctness of the output. It was neat, tidy, and pure.

Computer Science has provided many a problem with a definite, provable answer, such as the lower asymptotic bound for a comparison-based sort. Proving such a fact is more difficult than solving a sudoku problem, but it has been done. However, while reaching into the upper levels of undergraduate Computer Science: automata theory, metalogic, and foundations of mathematics, it became clear that on higher levels, the logical systems I depended on so much were based on interpretations of symbol systems artificially constructed on top of a hypothetical set theory. Definitely not the neat and pure system I had so naively thought them to be. It definitely was a case of "the more you know, you more you know you don't know."

At the same time, I was lucky enough to be accepted as an IT intern (and then staffer) for Senator Reid's office in Washington, DC. While my role there was entirely of a technical bent, I was able to witness firsthand the almost-antithesis of computable problems: policy making. It was a sudden shock to me to watch debate about important issues, watch two speeches on the same topic from opposite viewpoints, and still both be rationally sound. I appreciated the spirited debate, save for one instance: when basic facts were misrepresented. I believe that basic facts: observable evidence, rigorously-obtained statistical information, and the like are the cornerstone for progress. I believe that the best debate (and the most well-thought out resolutions to that debate) comes from 'true' information and sound inference rules. When arguments are based off of false data or specious logic, they tend to lead to false results. While argumentative styles vary far and wide within politics and debate about non-computable issues in general, I respect arguments that follow a consistent, logical flow.

I suppose I see law school as a way to apply logical argumentation to decide on issues outside the normal operating procedures of engineering disciplines. It would help me bring my expertise in the technology field to a legal system so sorely in need of technologically-apt disciples.

I still haven't decided if this is the best path for me. Perhaps I place law school on too high a pedestal. Perhaps there is a better way to effect change. It is an option I am considering, however.