A Letter from the Editor
Every student who started Law school in 2020 was taking classes on zoom the entire time. Me included. Although, I was fortunate to know a small handful of students who were daring enough to come to campus for one hybrid criminal law class. Back then, the school building was completely empty, always. Sometimes it felt like we had the place to ourselves. It was also a little eery; the place seemed a bit lonely without its students. So, it’s entirely possible that this early Law school experience of empty hallways and open classrooms had something to do with my desire to build a student community.
If the experience of law school has taught me anything, it is mostly that people love to fight. Not physically (not usually) but legally. We have recorded centuries of legal battles on endless pages of the common law. For ages, humans have been in disagreement on just about everything you can imagine, and we can’t help but to drag one another into court and duke it out. People. Love. To. Fight. So, what does that make us as Lawyers?
Are we the fighters? The peacekeepers? The accomplice? The General? It’s likely we fall somewhere in between, and this is something to keep in mind. A Lawyer wears many hats, so don’t box yourself in. When I created The Margins, the point was to give a platform to the divergent voices, the ones who stood for a new approach. The point of The Margins IS to be subversive in the approach to writing about the Law. The unfortunate misconception that Lawyers are all buttoned-up brainiacs who only appeal to one another and not the general public comes from the very culture Lawyers have created for themselves. In an attempt to project authority and expertise, we have created our own niche bubble of authority and expertise. Lawyers can discuss the law all day in Law Review articles, but the only people reading those articles are other Lawyers.
The Margins is an attempt to change the way in which we perceive the law and our relationship to it. We should not be gatekeeping; we should be charitable with the knowledge we possess. We should be willing to break it down, speak candidly, and expand the conversation beyond our community. We should also collectively be invested in changing the narrative around the role of the Lawyer. We are not all soulless sellouts only interested in winning cases and making money. I’d even like to note that I do not judge that style of Lawyer; I recognize we all possess a desire to “win” a legal argument and that a competitive spirit lies within each of us. The law is not moral or immoral, no more than a hammer or a sword. The law is a tool to be wielded, and there is always something to learn in every approach to this art.
As future lawyers, we can and should represent agents of change, we are those few who possess the privilege to interfere with the law of today in order to legalize a better tomorrow. That should be what people think about when they think about us, and The Margins is an attempt to give voice to that ideal.
So with that being said, I leave you not with a quote or a saying but with a question. What does the law mean to you, and how would you like to change it?
- Thom Barranca