If you’re considering a career in law, there are plenty of questions you’ll want to ask yourself, both about what you are good at, as well as what the career requires. Being an attorney isn’t all about flashy debates and witty comebacks. One question you need to consider is the level of detail in law, and whether you are detail-oriented enough to take it on.
Devil Is In The Details
In law, as in so many other areas of life, the devil is in the details. It is the details of a case that determine how it must be interpreted in the law, and it is the details of the law that determine what that means.
Take, for instance, a personal injury suit. Details may be relevant to determining whether the defendant was truly negligent, which is a must for winning a personal injury suit. And, since the major point of a personal injury lawsuit is for the victim to win back the money they lost in caring for their injuries, the specific details of medical treatment. Its costs are relevant, too, explains Jeff Preszler, an ICBC lawyer at Preszler Law. That’s why first-time clients should be sure to bring plenty of documentation with them when they go in for a consultation.
But, at the same time, law is about big-picture questions. You’ve probably seen movies in which a tiny technicality or mistake in a contract changes everything. In real life, such situations are rare – to say the least. Legal “loopholes” are pretty hard to find outside of the movies, because of the way that laws and regulations are actually designed.
The law may seem like a web of complex details to us; however, in practice, it’s often governed a bit more by common sense than you might assume. When courts evaluate laws, they look at intent (they can get the insight they need from records of legislative debates and other on-record statements by lawmakers). That means a misplaced comma or a small typo in a statute will not cause chaos.
So, in short, the law is not quite so beholden to precision and detail as you might assume. However, there’s no denying that it takes a great deal of attention to detail to succeed in law school, nor can it be denied that details within a specific case are extremely important to the outcome.
You may not be a detail-oriented person, but if it’s your dream to become a lawyer, don’t give up! Like any other skill, becoming good with details just takes commitment and practice. We can actually train our brains to improve our skill with details. And, of course, details are just one area of focus for lawyers–your excellence in other areas matters, too.
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