Law in Contemporary Society

A Settled Conflict: Why Law School Is the Choice for Me

-- By AllisonHouston - 29 June 2018

Oftentimes doubts concerning my law school enrollment lead me to speculate on if I made the correct decision in what I chose to pursue an advance degree in. I wonder regularly if I should have worked towards a Masters in either Political Science or Philosophy. Consistently I fantasize about the joys I would encounter if I were engaging with philosophy. I believe it is largely due to the fact I miss grappling with material that perplexed, fascinated, and intrigued me. As a philosophy major, I was constantly confused–as I am in law school–but it was a type of confusion that felt fruitful and meaningful. The confusion I feel in law school is more akin to a mundane alley of trepidation.

I constantly muse about how intellectually simulated I would be engaging with philosophical matters. I have not found any solace in my first year black letter law classes. For the majority of my 1L experience I have felt disengaged with the curriculum. But, on further introspection, I am not going to not let that discourage me fully from trying to find something in the law that genuinely intrigues me. But, my attention has been grabbed and captivated through attending talks on topics I have no background in. In particular, I have become transfixed on cybersecurity and technology issues pertaining to law. I find the issues and questions stemming from cybersecurity to be parallel to the questions philosophy attempts to address. I feel cyber security problems are deeply steeped in understanding our modern human experience, and that greatly excites me. The intellectual development that can be fostered in this field and responses that can be created are profoundly important and has the potential to profoundly shape the lives of countless individuals.

I would like to be a privacy and data security lawyer, because I have a strong interest and fascination with cyber security, cryptocurrency, and Artificial Intelligence issues and challenges. Before starting at Columbia, I found cyber issues to be incredibly entertaining, complex, and even somewhat mysterious. My interests were peaked due to the plethora of unanswered questions and questions that have yet to be asked.

My generation is unlike any other in regards to our relationship to technology. We have always known computers and the Internet due to our early exposure. I feel this exposure places us in a very unique position in human history, in which although we have always interacted with the world in a technological way, this is the first time humans have been posed with pressing social questions stemming from these scientific and technological advancements. Such as, who is responsible in an accident involving a self-driving car, is it ethical to use AI to engage in battle, who should be accountable when a malfunction occurs, or how will cryptocurrency impact the traditional global financial market? These are just a few of the questions I feel deeply passionate about understanding and feel becoming a privacy and data security lawyer would allow me to explore these issues with more depth and expose me to those who are creating and shaping the literature addressing these problems.

A key reason why I am so intrigued with these matters is when I have attended lunch talks on the issues of cyber security, cryptocurrency, and AI overwhelming the professionals giving the talk conclude by admitting they themselves do not know the answer and that many of the most pressing issues still have no clear cut answer. This truly and genuinely excites me. These relatively new questions compose something almost like a Wild West of knowledge, where there is no clear-cut dominant consensus or order, and anything is possible. These questions are hard and challenging, but even more so, there are other questions waiting on the horizon that we have yet to ask either because the technology hasn’t been created or simply someone hasn’t thought to ask the question. I want to be a part of the problem solving. I want to engage with these pressing complex matters in search of the answers that would shape this Wild West like field into a more easily navigable environment.

Considering I lack a technical background, I know it will be more of a challenge for me to emerge within this field. I’ve spent this summer trying to learn more about the field and have reached out to attorneys who specialize in it. I’ve messaged a data and privacy attorney from Hogan Lovells asking for advice and what she would suggest I do to learn more. Although I could not grab lunch with her in person, since she is based out of D.C., she gave me great suggestions and guidance. She directed me towards her firm’s blog about data protection, told me there were events/conferences in the city I could attend, and that I could organize my own lunch event as to meet and be exposed to more data/cybersecurity attorneys.

On her advice, I have started reaching out to attorneys to learn more about the practice area. Last week I visited White & Case to speak with an associate in their Tech Transitions department. The way she described her work and the issues she gets to engage with really enticed me. Tomorrow, I have a phone conversation scheduled with a White & Case partner based in D.C. who works in data, privacy, and cybersecurity. I’m excited to gain more knowledge, narrow in on a practice area, and find my legal passion.

You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable. To restrict access to your paper simply delete the "#" character on the next two lines:

Note: TWiki has strict formatting rules for preference declarations. Make sure you preserve the three spaces, asterisk, and extra space at the beginning of these lines. If you wish to give access to any other users simply add them to the comma separated ALLOWTOPICVIEW list.


Webs Webs

r3 - 29 Jun 2018 - 05:03:41 - AllisonHouston
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platform.
All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
All material marked as authored by Eben Moglen is available under the license terms CC-BY-SA version 4.
Syndicate this site RSSATOM