UPDATE : 2020.9.3 목 10:53
[FACULTY EDITORIAL] Think Outside of the Box
FACULTY EDITORIAL | 승인 2012.06.29 16:12|(230호)

    You might have been asked to solve this quiz. There is a square which is made up of nine dots. You are asked to cross all nine dots using four straight lines. You wouldn't be able to solve this quiz if you try to go over the dots within the `square. You can easily cross all nine dots if you are allowed to use five straight lines. But you are supposed to use only four lines. A lot of people facing this question do not solve the puzzle because they assume that their lines have to remain within the square. You can cross the nine dots only if your lines go beyond the square. Oftentimes, people bind themselves by making assumptions that are based in customs, culture or tradition. Or the assumption may be due to the prejudice, preconception or prejudgment about any given subjects. I think that we do not wane to be bound by the assumption that can impede our imagination and potential. As it is often said, we want to "think outside of the box" in order for us to jump to the next level in our field.
After having spent more than twenty years in the United States, I joined the faculty of the CNU law school. The first impression of our students is that they are very committed, serious and talented. I believe that all of them have excelled in their studies and, more importantly, have great ambitions to achieve their dreams and goals. Otherwise, they would not have been here. However, I would like to ask a little more from them. That is, there is a need for more creativity and originality in their thinking. Instead of seeking and finding an answer within the boundary and path that are known and laid out previously, it would be best to attempt to go outside of the boundary and think more critically and creatively. The ability co "think outside of the box" is necessary to look beyond the horizon. In the field of law, there is no right or wrong answer as things are not always black or white. Or there can be more than one answer to a given problem. Oftentimes, there are a lot of gray areas.
In litigations, there are always a winter and a loser. Since a trial is conducted by lawyers who are legally trained, it means that 50% of the lawyers end up on the losing side. The lawyers are not the only ones who are vulnerable. The decisions of the trial courts are appealed not so infrequently and they can be overturned by the higher court. The higher court decisions are also not immune from the possibility of overturn by the highest court of the land. It indicates that even the opinions of the judges un the bench may not be so perfect and free from challenge and debate. Without getting involved in debating the correctness or justification of the judges' opinions, it is significant to note that their opinions might have stood had the losing party at lower court not challenged and appealed such decisions. It all means that we should not be afraid of challenging and debating the existing ideas and concepts. Especially the students at universities are given golden opportunities to do so. It would be the best time for them to do because such opportunities tend to be limited when they leave the school and enter the work force.
In the U.S. law schools, the students have to participate in moot count, a mock trial, where they, as lawyers, represent either plaintiff or defendant. After the mock trial, they are asked to prepare for a new trial by assuming the role of the opposing counsel. In other words, if they represented a plaintiff in trial, they are supposed to represent a defendant next time. This is an excellent exercise for the law students because it forces them to consider and understand the opinion and reasoning of the opposing side so that they can be better prepared to represent and defend their clients no matter which side they will be in. They are encouraged to think lawyers by learning to have more than one perspective on a given issue. The ability to have diverse perspectives is essential to be trained as lawyers and to become excellent lawyers. I think that such ability is not limited to legal study but applicable to all areas of study. The world needs a person who is capable of looking at things with different perspectives rather than a person whose perspective is narrow and one-sided. A person with dynamic and flexible way of thinking would enjoy the advantages in achieving his or her goal. There is an old saying that "if you knowyour enemy and yourself. you can win every battle."


By Kong Young Ho / Ph.D. Professor / CNU Law School


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