Law in Contemporary Society

What Type of Lawyer I'm Becoming, and Taking Steps...

-- By XochitlRodriguez - 8 April 2013


As a lawyer, I see myself as someone who is independent and self-sufficient. As a lawyer, I see myself as someone who can make her way in the world with confidence and skill, able and unafraid to go after what she wants and needs. As a lawyer, I see myself as someone who can be counted on to solve a problem, and someone who enjoys the challenges and rewards that go with finding a solution. As a lawyer, I see myself as someone who is aware of the world around her, who is constantly learning more about it, and who is equipped with the power and skill to improve it.


Thinking of the type of lawyer I want to become in terms of the type of person I want to be, the choices I make about what exactly to do and what specific practice area to pursue become less important than why I’m pursuing that practice area or what I get from and how I approach whatever work I’m doing.

It feels a bit unsettling to be unsure exactly what I want to do within the practice of law, but I suppose I’ll just go after what interests me at the moment and what will help me to get the training, experience, and money I need right now, because these are my most pressing concerns at the moment. I’ll take opportunities in this light, using them for my purposes. In a way, this approach feels liberating, and it feels closer to what the person I want to be would do.


My immediate goals, then, are to learn how to be a creative legal thinker and a better “strategist,” to get experience in the fields that interest me, and to make some money along the way. All the while keeping sight of myself as a person and being sure to develop and grow personally as well as professionally.


After having cleared that up, is it ok to say I have no idea what exactly I’m doing at this point? To be honest, law school doesn’t seem to be the most conducive place for me to explore the question of what I want to do and how to do it. I feel constrained by the constant and seemingly purposeless workload, by the imposing structure of it all, by the millions of things they say I should be doing, and by the isolating nature of the experience. Maybe it is because I am not the most creative person, but it is very hard for me to think beyond these constraints on an everyday basis. This is probably something I should work on, and probably what I really need to do is figure out what is most conducive to my exploration and creativity. But in the meantime, I know that what is conducive to my thought process and my creativity is being in the world, working, and going after what I think I want.


There is a quote that I like, “Do one thing everyday that scares you.”

When I come upon something that I know is the right thing for me to do, I get an itching feeling in my gut, a very excited feeling, and my mind races, open to so many possibilities and new thoughts. This feeling immediately followed by and intermingled with fear, fear of what this feeling really means, what if it is really just nothing, what if I can’t do what I’ve suddenly been inspired to do, and do I really know how, the feelings fade and my thoughts fall back into the mundane, leaving me only with the remnants of the spark. I want to do the things that give me that feeling and I want to learn to manage that fear, or better, to overcome it.

How to do it? For now, I’d like to see if working in a legal area that interests me this summer will be more conducive to the exploration I need to do, because I did get the aforementioned feeling when I got this internship offer. It promises to match me with two organizations aligned with the legal areas of my interest – criminal law, labor and employment law, and/or housing law, all in the service of underserved communities. And it promises a great introduction to the legal community of Los Angeles through its network, especially to that geared towards the aid of low-income communities. My aim is to learn from the people I meet, to work, and, most importantly, to think and explore. This summer, I want to decide if this is really what I want to be doing, if this is really where I see myself. And, if so, I want to decide if going back to law school will advance my goals as I determine them. If not, I need to go back to the drawing board.


I don’t really know what exactly I want to do now, or how. But I know who I want to be, I know how it feels when I’m doing what I need to be doing. What I need to do now is overcome my fears and follow the one hunch I have – that maybe this summer’s work experience and exposure will be a good avenue for me to explore and begin to find my place. And I have to pursue this hunch wholeheartedly, unafraid to ask myself the hard questions, to be honest with myself, and to pursue a new path if this one proves fruitless.


Webs Webs

r4 - 14 Jan 2015 - 22:15:33 - IanSullivan
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