Law's Effect on Society

Studying law in the United States as opposed to my home country, Turkey, lifted a veil of ignorance, or maybe more simply put; opened my eyes to so much in the politics, government and legal infrastructure of my home country.

The legal education in the U.S. is dramatically different than the system in Europe and in Turkey. The main difference is that it is not an undergraduate degree like it is in nearly the rest of the world. You first need to graduate from university, and then take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) to later send applications to the law schools which you would want to attend. Shortly, it is a graduate, professional degree which one pursues for three additional years after a liberal arts or science degree.

The difference is not only in the years of your life which you spend educating yourself and learning from professors. The main difference is that people, from all different backgrounds; scientists, engineers, liberal arts; international relations, politics, philosophy graduates and even architects; basically anyone can pursue a law degree on top of their bachelor undergraduate degree. Consequently, you not only learn from those people who are much older than you; who have professional experiences lined up on their resumes from financial institutions to start ups; but also from all their previous graduate experiences -- their university degrees in different subject matters.

To me this makes the most substantial difference. You learn to look at the "facts" from every possible different angle. So when "life happens" you are trained to view the situation from a much broader perspective. You also learn to switch your point of view, swop glasses to look at the very same picture. You come to master in time that with each different glass, the picture tells a different story. Whatever you want to call this -- it is a skill that lies in the heart of legal thinking.
Besides all the aforementioned different points of view approach, the American legal education supplies a vision that allows one to see, much more clearly, the problems that trouble other countries and scrutinize into the roots of those problems. Scenarios not only include the failures of your home country government; more specifically the problems that exist in the way of thinking, but also the societal and sociological problems -- comparatively one final realization is that a majority of these depend on the application of laws.

One thing that became apparent to me in the past year is that the indication of a hallmark society is providing remedies for the violation of citizens' rights. When the remedy does not exist, people consequently begin trying to find their own remedies and lose trust in their government, regarding first of all the protection of their rights. This situation eventually creates chaos and conflict between citizens. The ones who secure close ties with the government advance, get away with anything; while those that support an opposing ideology or political doctrine continue to fight a losing battle.

Plus, it is nearly impossible to have trust in your government and thus grow loyal to your home country when the application of laws is unpredictable.

An action which one easily gets away with, becomes a criminal act that convicts another one the next day. In my view, this simply is one of the dilemmas which concern the Turkish citizens recently. The same goes for many other countries that are in need of legal reform to achieve greater predictability, equality and justice.

It is a problem if people have rights but not remedies when those rights are violated, but it is a worse problem if the remedies are not applied in equality amongst the citizens of the same country.