Posted Apr 01, 2011 09:09 am CDT
Thanks for your valentine to the legal profession, “Why I Love Being a Lawyer (Seriously),” February. I love being a lawyer and found your quotes informative and inspirational. In my term as president of the Florida Bar, I am traveling the state reminding lawyers that they, too, should love what they do, and I often turn to Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ valentine to the practice:
“And what a profession the law is! Every calling is great when greatly pursued, but what other gives such scope to realize the spontaneous energy of one’s soul? In what other does one plunge so deep in the stream of life—so share its passions, its battles, its despair, its triumphs, both as witness and actor?”
Thanks for reminding us of the importance of passion in our professional lives.
I am one of those law school students getting ready to graduate in May, and despite not yet having a job and the uncertainty of not knowing whether I will get one, I am 100 percent sure I did the right thing leaving the corporate world after 22 years and going to law school.
Yesterday I spent my entire day volunteering at my school’s free legal aid clinic doing intake. Although exhausted when I got home, I had the deep satisfaction of knowing that I helped three people. One young woman was trying to file a petition to terminate guardianship for her two very young children. Another woman whose husband is in the Army told her he wanted a divorce and has not sent any money home to help support their baby. A third wanted a divorce from her batterer husband. Whether or not we are able to take these cases, I was able to provide solid legal advice to help these three women take the next step with their legal issues.
The only frustration I find at the moment is that we do not have the capacity to take every case and there are so many deserving people. This sure beats sitting at a desk all day counting beans for a large corporate giant who could care less what I am doing as long as the money keeps rolling in.
I love being a lawyer as i get an opportunity to use my God-given talents, gifts and training to help others. I get a tremendous satisfaction just knowing that I made what seems so difficult simple to others. Just seeing the stress and worry fade from their eyes and faces, plus seeing the look of relief and joy replace all that is priceless. Of course it helps that I get paid to do this!
Deidre S. Powell
As a recent law graduate soloing without complaints, married to an “employed” attorney, I am close to the action recounted in “Law School Bag It, Bloggers Say,” February. I specifically refer to the statement made by the Boston College Law School 3L that he was “resentful at the thought that I was convinced to go to law school by empty promises of a fulfilling and remunerative career.”
Really? What a ridiculous statement. In the law of contracts, even if you get a bum deal, with consideration, bargain and a “meeting of the minds” you still get a contract. So if this 3L listened in Contracts, he’d know that he will be responsible for making the decision—for making the contract. Also, does he think his three years of money was for paper? That he wasted his money? He has after all gained three years of legal knowledge. He, as Kingsfield said in The Paper Chase, has had his brain turned from mush and now thinks like a lawyer.
And what empty promises? The promise was to receive a law degree, which he will. No school ever promises that you’ll change the world making $200,000 per year. Do law schools really need a “These results not typical” disclaimer when promoting their alumni?
Mark Twain aptly said, “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” Really, if you’re an attorney, you’re never unemployed. There is always a market for honest, compassionate attorneys who call their clients back and care about the person. Make a reputation for yourself and the money will handle itself.
Kansas City, Mo.
I am a 2010 law school graduate with some thoughts to share with recent graduates, prospective law students and scambloggers alike:
All of the statistics and other data scambloggers use to “debunk the law school myth” were available when they were thinking (or not really thinking) about whether to attend law school.
If they would have spent half the time researching then that they spend complaining now they would have known that expecting to get a high-paying job right out of law school simply because they finished it is delusional. They would have known that so much more than a diploma goes into getting a job: their grades, their school, their activities, their network and, yes, even their personalities.
Claiming that law schools didn’t do enough to educate them about the risks of attending is little more than a manifestation of an overbearing sense of self-entitlement, mixed with an attempt to avoid responsibility for their choices. The fact is, no one held a gun to their heads to make them go to law school—the devil did not make them do it.
Jonah Hammer Dyer
Des Moines, Iowa
I am not an attorney but a certified public accountant, certified fraud examiner, chief executive officer, and criminal and civil investigator with a certification as a paralegal. My CPA friends say, “Why become certified as a paralegal? This is a step down from your CPA and CFE credentials.” My reply is simple: The more you are skilled to do in a profession, the better job you will do.
So I say to all the law school graduates complaining about jobs: You missed the boat in not understanding what our legal system does for business. Everything in business is surrounded with legal issues. Law school is giving graduates an opportunity for business. Unfortunately, a lot of law school graduates do not have a strong business undergraduate degree. This is the fault of the law student and not the law schools.
As I always tell my clients: Think positive, find out the problems and set up solutions to succeed. Law school graduates, reinvent yourselves using your JD education.
Joseph B. Mansour
West Chester, Ohio
Lawyers Giving Back