Law in Contemporary Society

I Hate Injustice And I'm Coming Back

-- By RobertoRivera2 - 02 Jun 2015

The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living

I hate injustice and that’s why I’m coming back. I came into 1L year completely unsure of why I was here and what I was going to do with my law degree once I earned it. This sense of aimlessness was only exacerbated after two semesters of frustration at what I thought was the legal field’s purposeful blind eye toward contemporary issues of black and brown plight. I constantly felt that professors did their best to avoid acknowledging even the most basic and apparent of race issues raised by the untethered application of doctrine to real world issues. This frustration was followed by confusion at my extremely positive experience working at a “big law” law firm the summer before starting at Columbia. If I truly hated injustice how could I have enjoyed working to maintain the engine of many of America’s capitalistic ills? This question troubled me, especially throughout my second semester in Law in Contemporary Society. I now believe I have an answer and a plan, at least to start, and this is why I know I will be coming back in the fall.

My Inspiration: Ta-Nehisi Coates

One of my favorite activist writers today is Ta-Nehisi Coates. In one of his interviews with Bill Moyers discussing his article “The Case for Reparations,” he speaks of the injury gap created by decades of social and economic policy designed to ensure African-Americans would remain without economic and social capital and would effectively constitute the perpetual bottom tier of society. He offered examples of widespread housing, lending, and policing practices designed to ensure there was a significant dearth of stable wealth within our community. This is the injustice I hate. This is the injustice I have decided will determine the arc of my career trajectory.

Lifting As I Climb: Diversity Recruiting

I do plan to return to a “big law” law firm and I think I have a pretty good idea where. However, remaining indefinitely as a typical associate is not what I intend to do. Combining my hate for injustice with my love for mentoring I want to leverage my position, experience, and connections to become a full-time director of diversity recruiting at my firm or another of comparable import. I foresee this addressing one of the primary consequences of the racial caste-ing policies discussed by Coates and effected by our major institutions; that is, the “de facto” exclusion of African-Americans from positions of legal power and economic wealth. With the experience of working within a firm I will be able to help augment our collective influence in the field and beyond, as unfortunately this work often serves as the most effective launching pad for higher levels of non-firm legal success. I acknowledge that this path will require the “pawning” of my law license and this has given me pause. But, as I’ve come to realize, my ultimate desire is not to practice law. My true aim is to help uplift my community through the connections I make from legal involvement, and this troubles me far less. I will never be far from evil, as that is what injustice is, but by my proximity to it and determination not to dissociate myself from the acknowledgment of its existence, I will strive to meaningfully diminish its bearing on the lives of my people.

-- RobertoRivera2 - 02 Jun 2015


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r2 - 29 Jun 2015 - 21:51:37 - MarkDrake
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