April 14, 2006

Words of Wisdom

I had lunch today with an attorney who has a practice similar to the one I would design for myself if I could be the uber-attorney right now.

I spent lunch picking his brain about law, how to get where he's gotten, and everything in between.

He said one thing that I've heard a few times from other attorneys I respect but never really taken to heart before:

It doesn't really matter what you do for the first 3-4 years of your career. It's important to get good work and do it. That's when you learn how to be a lawyer. It's only after you've mastered the law at this level that you can even think about being successful in any of the areas that allow you to do fun stuff while incorporating your knowledge of the law.

Huh. I hadn't really realized that after law school there was another 3-4 year period of hard core learning. It's dawning on me now. I'm beginning to think life may just be one 3-4 year learning period after another.

Another jewel of insight:

I feel so lucky to have stayed in the law long enough to be where I am. I love my practice. I love each day of my work. I can't imagine doing anything else. It's so rewarding. But it's a long road. And the law is a demanding career that breaks most of the people who enter it. There were times when it was almost impossible. But I'm so glad I stuck it out. I know other people who are so glad they got out.

I've heard it before. And yet, each time, it hits me differently. I can't help but wonder: Where will I sit on that continuum? Am I one who's going to love it, or burn out before the 3-4 year learning period is even up, before I even have a chance at the fun stuff? Will I stick it out only to realize I don't love it? Or, dare to think, might I be one of the ones who will actually love it?

Of course, all of this, it's idle procrastination. I've got 8 days of class and 5 finals to get through before graduation and then a little thing called the bar. I know I'm procrastinating. I know I should study. And yet, instead, I find that I've made lunch dates with attorneys I admire instead of studying...

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