You’ve been working hard all week and you just want to go out and have some fun. Your life has become engulfed in books, papers, debates and discussions. You know there are some sexy, carefree people out there and you are going to find them. Unfortunately, those care free people are going to want to talk to you about the law. Don’t you think George Zimmerman was guilty? They can’t charge someone with a crime if they don’t read them their rights, right? You must love watching Law & Order, SVU, right? The practice of law is little more than a source of entertainment to many people. Your relationship with the law will never be that way again. You spent 20 hours studying secured transactions over the past 3 days. Questions about the constitution bring back the nauseous feeling that you had before sitting for a 4-hour written exam on the constitution. Next time you go out, tell them you’re an administrative assistant. No one really knows what that is.
You may be 25 years old. The friends from your past may be 25 years old. But since you’ve been in law school, you are in two totally different age brackets. It’s not as simple as arrested or accelerated development, either. In some ways, you feel much younger than people who did not go into post-graduate education. They’ve found real jobs and are able to afford their own cell phone plans. They have health insurance and fiancés. You still go to parties where you play drinking games and you’ve been surviving on mac and cheese for a month. In other ways, you feel much older than your counterparts. Last week, as part of your internship, you had to convince a judge that he should resume visitation for your client because she was not going to try to get her child to sneak cigarettes into the jail ever again. After a day like that, conversation about whether ‘N Sync will reunite on the MTV VMAs doesn’t excite you very much. This is how you will end up with a large ratio of lawyer friends. More on that another day.
One of the reasons that you decided to go to law school is because you appreciate your writing ability. You were even known to conjure some poetry in your more romantic moments. Well, forget about that now. As Shakespeare wrote in Henry VI, if you want to encourage people to write for pleasure, “kill all the law professors.” Legal writing will suffocate any artistic attitude that you had towards writing. Your flowing prose will be replaced with ‘wherefore’s and ‘now comes’s. Words become the hammers and wrenches of your toolbox, instead of the brushes in your painting kit (which will remain resting under a pile of text books for years to come).
You used to read Vogue magazine. You used to tear through the racks at thrift stores, only to seize upon a robin’s-egg-blue, faux fur coat that was just ghastly enough to be beautiful. Your groomed and decorated appearance was a reflection of your inner beauty and light. Now you’re in law school. For class, you try to find something comfortable that doesn’t smell. For work, you meld into the dark-suit-wearing professional, so that the partners can spy a younger version of themselves in you. Sometimes, on a Friday night, you put on something fun. You haven’t had the time or money to shop for clothes in a while, though, and that blue fur coat is starting to look determinedly sad. You might as well toss out those old issues of Vogue to make room for the law review articles that you have to edit. But don’t despair. You could always pretend like the ink on your fingers is a creative tattoo.
(image: indoor picture of businesswoman holding her head with her hand via Shutterstock