Law in Contemporary Society

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The Awakening

-- By GeanetteFoster - 08 Jun 2017

I considered framing this essay around balance, but I as I outlined this essay, I recognized that I would often have to reconcile what I wanted to do for myself, my community and my family with the negative aspects of my career choice. Rather than pretend I can balance all of these things with my career, I am going to discuss my desire to become a lawyer who makes purposeful decisions and how I can tailor my law school experience so that I can build and develop a habit of making purposeful decisions and conscious choices.

Two years ago, I read The Awakening by Kate Chopin, a book about a woman who, fearing she has no choices, commits suicide. In the book, she wanted social acceptance but realized she could not attain this because it conflicted with her simultaneous desire to defy society’s expectations by freeing herself from her familial obligations. After reading this book, I recognized that most choices have a silver lining. Every choice has a negative and positive aspect, and instead of acknowledging this, I often act as though I have few or no choices. As a lawyer, I don’t want to pretend I don’t have a choice. I want to recognize that there’s always a choice, but I also want to recognize the negative and positive aspects of my choices, including my decision to become a lawyer in the first place.

As a lawyer, I recognize that I won’t always be fighting at the forefront justice, but I also recognize that my presence could open the door to other young black girls. The next generation of black girls will have one more example of a black woman working in a corporate atmosphere that once excluded girls who look just like them. They’ll see a girl with natural hair, dark skin, a corporate suit, and a law degree. I can only hope that inspires them to have ambition just like Phylicia Rashad’s portrayal of Claire Huxtable reminded me that I, too, could become a lawyer.

I also recognize that I won’t always return home in time for family dinners. I may have to postpone family vacations because of work obligations. I may have to consider hiring a nanny to help raise my future children. But I will hopefully have enough money so that my children can go to the best schools and make choices without factoring debt into the equation as I have had to do.

I recognize that I will come home from work too tired to write poetry, read fiction, go to the gym, or deep condition my hair. But I will also have challenging work that allows me to think through, complex issues with brilliant people. These two of the main factors I have considered when applying to jobs in the past, and I have despised jobs and classes that did not challenge me the way I wanted to be challenged. '

Every decision has a positive and negative side. My decision to continue to pursue this career is not perfect, but I want to be the type of lawyer who recognizes all of the aspects of this career that I have outlined in this essay—the positive and the negative. I want to be the type of lawyer who makes conscious decisions because she is aware of the impact of her decisions, the good and the bad. Most importantly, I want to be the type of lawyer who makes decisions and learns to live in the negative aspects of those choices rather than ignoring them to focus on the good.

To ensure that I make conscious and purposeful decisions as a practicing attorney, I need to build this habit while in law school. Fortunately, the next two years give us a lot of options—whether or not to be on journal or law review, what courses and externships to take, how to fulfill the major and minor writing requirements. I want to ensure that I choose courses, externships, journals, writing assignments, and other law school related choices because I want them, not because I feel like I have no choice. For example, many students plan to enroll in courses that they know will appear on the bar exam. Some of these students may feel as if they have no choice but to take those courses so that they can pass the bar. As part of my habit-building regiment, I need to recognize that I can take those courses or not take those courses. No matter what I choose, I need to make sure my choice is purposeful and conscious.

Revision 1r1 - 08 Jun 2017 - 04:30:56 - GeanetteFoster
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