Legal Muse

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Heritage

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For most of my life, I’ve lived in fairly close proximity with a large portion of my family – on my father’s side that is. Our clan was pretty closely confined to New England, and we frequently met for the holidays/weddings/miscellaneous well-mannered frivolity. As I was beginning my search for information regarding the legal profession, I realized that no one in my family was an attorney. I began to think that there was no precedent for legal scholarship, and that I, being the roguish young upstart that I am, would be the first – after all, on my father’s side, my family had been poor Irish-Catholics, who I doubted at any point in the past had been renowned for their lawfulness. In fact, my impression is that they were probably known for the exact opposite.

I find myself thinking that things were different in my mother’s family. If I take an objective view of my Hungarian side, I notice that there was a clear focus on the importance of education, and the value of esoteric knowledge. All of my cousin’s have a Ph.D, and my various aunt’s and uncles had also obtained similar degrees. Perhaps there was some legal precedent somewhere in my family tree after all?

My mother (the sweetest woman in the world), confirmed for me that back in Hungary, I had a relative of some legal prestige. His name was Barna Horvath, and he was a professor of the Sociology of Law at the esteemed University of Szeged, one of the most distinguished universities in Hungary and Central Europe. I was doing some research on a fellow by the name of István Bibó, and it turns out that he was heavily influenced by my ancestor. Looking at what István Bibó actually did, I feel somewhat proud.

So there it is. In my blood flows the genes of a fairly famous legal philosopher (my definition of prestige is wikipedia’s list of “Notable Person’s” who taught at the University of Szeged).

Looking at my personal strengths and weaknesses, I honestly don’t see myself having the mental horsepower to do something as impressive as actually become a philosopher. At the start of law school, just passing the classes seems to be a fairly daunting challenge in its own right. However, it does give me even just a modicum of hope – I’m not the first; it’s been done in my family, and it’s been proven that we can be good at it. Call me a coward, but being the youngest I’ve always followed in people’s footsteps. Here I am though, about to do something that none of my living relatives have ever done.

It helps to know that the trail has already been blazed, even if it was close to a century ago.

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Written by DMN

June 23, 2008 at 9:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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