Discussion Welcome

Jeni Swanson
J.D. Candidate 2012, UCI Law

People who know me outside of law school tend to assume that I feel out of place here at UCI Law. “What is it like,” they ask, “to be a conservative at that law school?” As if our school were filled with crazy-eyed liberals. Admittedly, we have our share of liberals, and as a conservative, I am obviously in the minority, but it has never been an issue here. Unlike many other law schools, where those whose ideals are not in the majority quickly learn to remain silent, both professors and classmates who enjoy discussion encourage my opinions.

In class, professors, even those who do not agree with my ideology, always encourage discussion to ensure that both sides are heard. I have not yet had a class in which I felt the professor presented the law unfairly, or with bias. I am acutely aware that law students at many “established” law schools would not feel the same.

In this unique environment, I am given the opportunity to defend my opinions logically and with intelligent arguments. As the saying goes, iron sharpens iron. Professors and students alike want to discuss issues in ways that allow both sides to polish our arguments. As one of our classmate explained, although they “fundamentally disagreed with almost everything I said,” my comments represented an important point of view that needed to be presented; thus, this classmate was glad that I spoke up.

For me, this is one of the joys of attending UCI Law. I cannot emphasize enough how fortunate I feel to be surrounded by the types of students and faculty who are willing to engage in open discussion. So here is my challenge to all students. Continue this tradition. Encourage discussion. It does not matter which side of the argument you are on, find people on the other side and encourage them to engage in discussion with you. You will benefit from the discussion, and after all is that not the point of law school—to learn how to recognize and argue with the other side’s argument?