What if you were a 12-year-old boy living in the USA who would be interested in “going into the law as a career” and you decided to ask a famous judge for advice? This is what M. Paul Classen Jr. from Alexandria, Virginia, did in 1954. And this is the reply he received from Mr. Justice Felix Frankfurter:
My Dear Paul:
No one can be a truly competent lawyer unless he is a cultivated man. If I were you I would forget about any technical preparation for the law. The best way to prepare for the law is to be a well-read person. Thus alone can one acquire the capacity to use the English language on paper and in speech and with the habits of clear thinking which only a truly liberal education can give. No less important for a lawyer is the cultivation of the imaginative faculties by reading poetry, seeing great paintings, in the original or in easily available reproductions, and listening to great music. Stock your mind with the deposit of much good reading, and widen and deepen your feelings by experiencing vicariously as much as possible the wonderful mysteries of the universe, and forget about your future career.
With good wishes,
[signed] Felix Frankfurter
From THE LAW AS LITERATURE, ed. by Ephraim London, Simon and Schuster, 1960.
What do you think about that?