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We reached a much needed breakthrough with today's session, starting w/an engineer's bold statement: "data scraping is NEVER illegal." With that, a chain reaction was set off. Sarcastic laughter from the law students followed by quick retorts by business/engineering students...
We weren't frustrated because of the lack of definite answers, we were frustrated because our lanes were crossing. We so badly wanted everyone to keep to their place. The law students should speak about the law, the engineers code, and the businesspeople make money.
Everything was operating so smoothly up until the point an engineer, god forbid, decided to speak up about the law. It bothered us and you could see it. We laughed, rolled our eyes, stopped listening...what business does the coder have telling us how to do our job?
Before the thought was finished, us law students had already checked out. I even sarcastically offered the tired "it depends," smirking at my colleagues. But man, I wasn't expecting his response...which became a much needed ego check.
"You lawyers keep laughing at us and saying it depends, it depends, it depends, but we have no idea what the means. We don't know how to move forward with that. Obviously there's an answer here because other companies make this very same thing happen. We're asking you how."
I stopped laughing - it was a fair point. I was so caught up with trying to absolutely decimate my engineering and business colleagues with my "sophisticated" 2L legal knowledge that I lost sight of the entire point of this exercise. We all did.
In that moment, we no longer cared about solving the problem, we cared about winning the pissing contest among each other. While we should've applauded and embraced our attempts to learn more about each other, we chose to wage war.
I spend so many hours in my law school interacting with law students and professors and speaking what I've grown to accept as common language only to realize that not everyone is willing to just accept "it depends," like we are. "It depends" with nothing more, is frustrating.
We weren't getting anywhere because not everyone in the room is comfortable with uncertainty. With that, I knew my response had to be more calculated and empathetic. I explained "it depends."
That was the breakthrough we needed. By bringing the engineers and businesspeople into our lane, we invited interesting conversation about algorithmic design and risk analysis, instead of "why can't we do this."
The real struggle in working collaboratively isn't simply that we speak different languages - rather, it's that different fields breed ego. Engineers look down on those that can't code. And lawyers and businesspeople often just want to hear themselves talk.
We're uncomfortable crossing the wires because we've spent a lifetime learning our individual crafts and we're offended by outsiders shortcutting that work.

And that's why we aren't moving forward. This toxic "stay in your lane" attitude has to change.
I'm glad I had the opportunity to experience this frustrating simulation today because it made my blind spots painfully clear. I, like most law students, sometimes get so excited to "show off," that I lose track of my ultimate role - advisor.

Lesson learned.
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