Term Paper: Learn How the Law Works

Pages: 7 (2253 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Law  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] "

Lief H. Carter (Reason in Law)


My most challenging academic pursuit to date was my recent participation in the German Pupils' Academy, which considers itself to comprise ninety of the brightest and most talented European secondary school students. The four-week program at Rostock, West Germany offered me the opportunity to collaborate with a team of seven other talented students researching and writing a detailed, in depth, formal academic paper on a topic of our choice. The research topic chosen by our team was Theoretical Legitimization and Practical Manifestation of Guaranteed

Human Rights in the Federal Republic of Germany between 1949 and 1999.

The project involved a tremendous amount of research, both online as well as in German library archives, since much of the relevant information was available only in microfiche format. On average, we devoted a full day of work every day for the duration of this venture to research, after which we routinely devoted as much time synthesizing the results of our independent efforts, usually working until 2:00 AM.

At the outset of the academic project, I fully expected to push myself academically, as well as to benefit from the rich cultural and social experience of collaborating with other talented students from many different countries. On the other hand, I did not necessarily expect to learn so much about the art of collaborating with my team members. At certain points in the process, we found the academic research less challenging than the task management and coordination aspects of the project.

Without a doubt, the research project amounted to a crash course in rigorous academic procedure and formal writing, but it proved equally valuable in terms of the need (in my case, at least) to learn to rely on others as well. Having always studied independently and privately, I found it necessary to resist the impulse to do more than my share in certain situations and to share my work while it was in its developmental phase, which I would never have otherwise done, except perhaps under threat of violence and great bodily harm. Delegating responsibility and trusting my partners with their responsibilities was equally difficult for me, for the same reason, simply because I am accustomed to multi-tasking rather than focusing on a single area of inquiry at a time. I am uncertain whether this is strictly a personality issue or something capable of being blamed on something else entirely:

The guiding principle in the art of composition should be that human being can think clearly only one thought at a time, so that he should not be asked to think two, not to speak of more than two thoughts at the same time. But this is what he is being asked to do when parentheses are inserted into sentences which have been broken up to accommodate them, a practice which causes unnecessary and wanton confusion. German writers are the worst offenders in this respect. That their language lends itself to it more readily than other living languages may account for the fact but does not make it commendable."

Arthur Schopenhauer

Needless to say, conflict resolution proved almost as important for all of us as our individual academic skills, particularly in the hours after midnight when patience and the time remaining until our deadline were both short. Ultimately, I learned as much from the non-academic aspects of the project as from the intense academic focus of the assignment. The opportunity to study and collaborate with academic minds much more talented than mine made my participation in the German Pupils'

Academy the most rewarding academic experience of my life, in addition to one of the most challenging ventures that I have ever undertaken.

In many respects, I hope that the experience will only be a preview of my future learning environment at Harvard University, where I can immerse myself in the study of economics and math in order to (eventually) channel my continued course of study in law in the direction of international relations and economics.


Carter, L.H. (1979) Reason in Law.

New York: Little Brown & Co.

Dershowitz, A.M. (2002) Shouting Fire: Civil Liberties in a Turbulent Age.

New York: Little Brown & Co.

Ginsberg, M. (1965) On Justice in Society.

Baltimore: Penguin Books

Hollingdale, R.J. (1970) Schopenhauer: Essays and Aphorisms.

New York: Penguin Books

Miller, A.R. (1983) Miller's Court.

New York: Plume

Turow, S. (1982) One L: An Inside Account of Life in the First… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Learn How the Law Works."  Essaytown.com.  August 16, 2004.  Accessed May 21, 2019.