Law in Contemporary Society
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The Best Is Yet To Come

-- By DanielImahiyerobo - 27 Apr 2018

After a year of law school, what have I learned about the sort of lawyer I want to be

There a two ideas about the type of lawyer I want to be that I had coming into law school, and after the first year I still hold those initial ambitions. First I want to be financially independent. I want to run my own music focused entertainment law practice, and use that as a platform to start a hip hop centered after school program of sorts for inner city kids where they can get early exposure to studio and other musical equipment. At first that will mean working for someone else, in order to recoup the monetary investment I have made into getting my law degree. However I think that is okay as long as I have a plan to reach my greater goals.

This leads into the second idea I had as to the type of lawyer I’d like to be. Entering law school I recognized that I was walking into a school/career where it would be all too easy to put my head down and get assimilated into the status quo. However, the type of lawyer (person) I wanted to be is one who remembered the things that were truly important to them as an individual. For me personally my family, my values and my own happiness are all very important. And there will be times when an work temporarily becomes all consuming, but it’s important not to forget what my real priorities are and to make sure that I am making moves that ultimately lead me towards those goals.

I learned something new about the type of lawyer I’d like to be while observing second circuit court of appeals judge Reena Raggi. I was struck by the mastery of her craft she displayed, by the pervasive knowledge she committed to gaining on each subject before her, and the strength/confidence which that knowledge allowed her to speak with. Though I was impressed I didn’t see the billboard addressed to me until hearing you talk about taking law school finals in class. You mentioned how it is okay to say something the teacher might not agree with as long as you have a strong enough command of the material to state it in terms that they can recognize and thus would likely respect. I realized then that I wanted to become the type of lawyer who displayed this mastery within the context of his own practice. Ideally I’m practicing something I’m interested in so ill naturally want to learn more about it. Plus If the goal is independence I’ll be facing an uphill battle against firms with far more resources and bigger networks, so I’ll need a strong work ethic, knowledge base, and some business savvy to combat that.

How-if I am returning to law school in the fall- do I plan to guide my learning in order to become the lawyer I want to be

The big difference between next year and this year is the ability to choose the courses that I will take, and increased opportunities to get involved on campus. What this means to me is that I will be able to immerse myself in work that I am naturally more interested in, and I think that will help me apply myself in learning/mastering the material. I hope to distance myself from the traditional classroom setting and take advantage of any clinics and/or externships that are in the vein of the field I want to practice in.

Another major way I can guide my leaning next year is to find guides, people whom I can model myself after and who can provide me with mentorship/ advice. I think one of my strengths is my self-determinative attitude, but it turns to a weakness when it gets to the point of me thinking I have to do everything on my own. Some of the best decisions I made this year involved reaching out to people, and I think I will carry that lesson into next year.

If I have learned that I should not continue in law school how have I come to that conclusion

In considering if I’ll come back this fall, I had to reflect on the reasons I came here in the first place. Arguably, if I just want to run a record label there were more direct routes than law school. Yet I thought about building that label, the business and creative sides of it I could figure out without a degree, but I felt without an understanding of the law I’d have to continuously outsource an integral part of my practice. In addition the music/entertainment industries can be very hard to get a foot into, especially if you don’t know someone. I thought a law school with the vast resources of Columbia would be a great vehicle to get me into the places where I could start to meet and shake hands with the people working in the areas I want to work in. Plus, I may feel sure that I want to do this now, but I recognize may be wrong about myself, or I may change over time. I saw having a law degree almost like having a very lucrative trade that could be applied in variety of settings. Therefore I saw going to law school as a chance to figuratively put a tool (my JD) into my tool box, to learn new skills and ways of thinking, and as a way to expand my network.

I think that my opportunity to achieve those goals only increases in each of the next two years I have at this school. I’m proud of myself for working through the waves of self-doubt and disinterest that I felt working through the 1L course load. If I was going to quit I think I would have done it already, and thus I am committed.

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r1 - 27 Apr 2018 - 02:18:18 - DanielImahiyerobo
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