Monday, May 25, 2009

Just A Dreamer.

Last year I LOVED my job and I was excited about the prospects of becoming an associate at this firm. I loved the crazy complication of litigating construction defect claims. I enjoyed handling personal injury cases and I also thought it was awesome that I got to dabble in many other areas of law. While I still enjoy the people I work with and I feel pretty dang competant at what I am doing now, I just don't feel quite as excited about my cases this year. I'm looking at the cases I'm handling and thinking- so what? If we win, another construction company that engages in poor practices gets off the hook. Because althought what they do may seem wrong to me, it is still legal afterall.

I've seen too many less than deserving plaintiffs win more than they should. I've seen too many greedy clients suck the other party's insurance policy dry. While I often feel proud to be part of a successful (yet smalll) law firm, I feel like I should be doing more with my legal education. This has only been a problem for me recently. While I'm not ashamed at all of the legal work I do, I just feel like I owe society more. At the end of the day, I'm still yearning to make a difference. Before I jumped on the LSAT bandwagon, and before I even thought about going to law school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. But I knew I wanted to help people. I had this quixotic yet burning passion to be a servant of human kind. To recognize a void in the lives of others and fill it up.

I think I could spend the rest of my life in my own office, talking to mediocre clients on the other end of a phone line. I think I could do that and be content. But I don't want to be content. I want to live my life with passion. I want to get out of bed each morning excited to go to the office because I am truly helping a client who could not otherwise access legal representation.

So, here is my blue sky, reach for the heavens idea: to start a pro bono legal clinic for low income families in my community. While there are a couple in the big city, there aren't any in my own community. I know this is crazy and probably naive. I don't have money. I don't have a whole lot of experience in areas such as family law and real estate (which are usually the two biggest areas that legal clinics deal with). I know I need a lot more resources and help. I'm not even a JD yet officially. So I'm willing to keep churning this idea around and waiting on it as long as I have to.

Ideally, I'd like to be involved in a clinic like this part time and still have a part time job to fall back on. So I need to do a lot more research. And I think I need some kind of business plan. I'm not really a detail person. I'd rather just do the dreaming.


Anonymous said...

Visit and for lots of information and technical support for your pro bono project.

CM said...

That's awesome. I have no doubt you can do it. I hope you follow through with it!

newduck said...

Why is this crazy? Why is this naive? Why is this just a dream? You can do this ten times. In your sleep. I think you are superwoman and will show the world what one woman can do. It brings tears to my eyes to think about this.

I hope that doesn't sound hokey. I know it does, but I don't care. I just love the sound of this and I want with all my might for you to do it.

By the way, have you ever read The Alchemist? If not, this might be the perfect time. Very inspiring.

FSD said...

You can do it, Cee! I started law school saying I wanted to help people and make a difference....where did I end up? A large, international firm. The only time I do good is when I take a pro bono case. Not acceptable! Don't sell yourself short. Follow your passion. Life is too short, and time away from your family is too precious, to do something that doesn't bring you passion.

I'm in the process of rethinking some things now that I'm a mom.

gudnuff said...

Your post, and the comments contained here, is a big, big part of what makes the idea of being a lawyer appealing to me (OH...I just posted Reason #2! Rock on!) It's people like you that make people ilke me LIKE people like you. And want to be one of you. And work shoulder-to-shoulder with you. You're smart, dedicated, articulate, ambitious, educated, focused, you understand the whole working mommy thing, along with all the other commenters here...why wouldn't I want to be a part of that? Why do people ask me why I want that? Better to ask: Why would I NOT want that? Why would I NOT want to be a member of that team?

gudnuff said...

Oh, and disciplined. I forgot disciplined.

gudnuff said... again...not trying to hijack the comment section, but one more thing:

You know where you say "Last year... I loved the crazy complication of litigating construction defect claims" and the other stuff you got to do/learn/try? Now, after some experience and the confidence that comes with it, you find yourself thinking, "So what?"...well...

Yeah. Exactly.

Okay, this concludes my hijacking of your comments section. But THANK YOU for posting the basis of my next post. You've provided the perfect jumping off point for me. Yay!

Proto Attorney said...

I think it's a great idea. A classmate of mine is actually starting her own legal aid firm (a solo practice right now), she's moving out to BFE in our state where there is a lack of legal representation in general. She got some attorneys to make donations, even enough to build her own library and get office space. I can put you in touch with her if you'd like, maybe she can give you some ideas. Are you on Facebook?

Check with your law school to find out if there are any grants to apply for. Money's tight right now in every state, but it's still out there.