Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Different Styles

I mentioned before that I am both clerking for a judge (actually, they call us interns) and working for a professor this summer. It has been a challenge for me "switching gears" between the two because they have such contrasting styles. The judge, who is very nice, is also very precise, and expects us to be precise, too. If you tell him something, you must be absolutely sure, and cite your sources, and watch your wording. I understand this, because what he says is law, so he must be careful with what he says and with being correct. However, I'm a little frustrated with this, because after all, I am only a rising 2L, who doesn't know anything about anything. So I end up feeling stupid most of the time. Not that that is much different from the rest of my life.

In contrast, the professor I'm working for is "only" writing a textbook. He wants a general summary, then to read the sources himself to decide what to do. He directs me to a more precise reading of a case, etc., but in a more "professorial" way. This makes sense - he is a professor, after all. His goal is to teach, and he doesn't expect me to already know the answer.

Don't get me wrong - I like finding the answers to new and interesting (and not-so-interesting) problems. And I don't mind criticism, as long as it is constructive. Maybe I just need some more sleep...

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