why i want to go to law school
October 3, 2011 § 1 Comment
1. It’s a logical step to take. I am good at reading and writing — at generating and taking apart text, in so many words. You could even say that that is the only thing I am good at. And insofar as I’ve been able to tell, the practice of law involves a lot of reading and writing. This takes the form of fact-gathering, marshalling evidence, assembling arguments, attempting to pin down every eventuality and nuance, and trying to anticipate and head-off the arguments and objections of opposing parties.
2. I want to help people. Oh, don’t sneer. Direct-client contact is what legal aid lawyers do. It’s much more dynamic and stimulating a process than accumulating fat rolls in front of a computer screen all day long. Now that I’ve put in time at both types of jobs, I can say with a fair degree of confidence that clinic work is much more likely to keep me invigorated and engaged. Knowing that one’s work has real life application is not enough. After all, these engineers that I work with build bridges, parks, and roads through mountains. Do they think that’s swell? No. To them it’s diagrams and decimals on a screen. So the face-to-face component is crucial. That’s what I think, anyway, as I attempt, with middling success rates, to envision my “ideal job”. (As a corollary to that.)
3. This is a bit more selfish. I think the court-house is a great place to story-gather. Courthouses are, after all, where the bad parts of life come to happen. There is an incredible amount of drama going down in every room, on every day, for every case. I remember walking in on a shouting match in divorce court. “She said she loved me,” the man said to the judge. The judge was silent. The man continued. He began to enumerate the ways in which his wife had tricked, mislead, or maligned him. His voice kept breaking.
A lot of bad things happen to people who don’t deserve it, as well as to those who do. That’s what makes for interesting stories. While I may not have the most time in the world — lawyers of all stripes work long and work hard — I will keep writing. An hour here, thirty minutes there. Seriously! I would forgo a baby for this. (Just don’t tell B. I said that.)
4. “Think of something that you can’t see yourself doing, ever — and then do it.” CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, LIKELIHOOD OF IMMINENT FAILURE BLITHELY DISREGARDED
All my life, I’ve been much better at writing and reading than I have been at oral argumentation. So I want to go to law school to improve my persuasiveness, my rhetorical skills, my abilities of self-projection, and – yes – my personal charisma*. Granted, 200K is a lot of money to sink into a set of personality and skills make-over courses that may just fizzle. And I have a feeling that I will fail miserably, and that much licking of wounds will ensue.
But the important thing is to try. Sure, you’ll fail. Apply yourself once more. This time, you didn’t fall quite as short. Then, try again. See? You’re well on your way to competence. If not that, at least you’re failing better.
Anyway, the important thing here is that I feel that law school will challenge me to measure up, and hopefully bolster a part of my personality that needs it.
Next up: potential pitfalls, or Law School: You’ll Regret It for the Rest of Your Broke-ass Life.