Are You Under Law’s Spell?

Law is like love. “It is the morning and the evening star” (Sinclair Lewis). It is all consuming.

From the moment law school begins, you are hooked. No problem viewed the same way as before. Heightened by the herd mentality, you are under its spell. Obsessed. Devoted. Enslaved. Sometimes to the detriment of your health and relationships, as explained excellently in Kate Managuan’s article: How to Recognize and Prevent Lawyer Burnout.

In order to prevent burnout and to serve the goal of justice, you must turn away from the law’s all-consuming spell and step towards extra-curricular activities.

Involve yourself in your community and dedicate yourselves to its betterment. Take an interest in physical and outdoor activities and maintain your fitness. Expand your horizons through travel. Develop an interest in another country, its language, culture, perhaps even its legal system. These extra-curricular non-professional activities will not only enrich your lives, they will make you a better lawyer. There is more to the law than cases and statutes, contracts and deeds of trust. The law involves people and their relations with each other. To understand and advise your clients properly, you need to understand and experience the world at large. (Chief Justice Brian Dickson’s Remarks to the Osgoode Hall Graduation Dinner, 15 June 1990 in Brian Dickson: A Judge’s Journey, by Justice Robert Sharpe and Professor Kent Roach)


  1. There should also be a caution when “stepping towards extra-curricular activities” that such activities don’t become a burden, i.e., taking on too many activities because one wants to be seen as doing it and having it all. Ensure that extra-curricular activities aren’t a disguise for business development, networking and general self-promotion. Balance and letting go of ego would appear to be useful towards countering such an “all-consuming spell”.