Law in Contemporary Society

Don’t Force the Square Peg in the Round Hole

-- By AngeloAngelino - 25 Apr 2018

Where Do I Fit as a Lawyer?


For the past 5 years, I have tailored my experiences to best position myself within the sports industry. Although I hoped to work the field of sports and development, I was told by the people that I thought I should be looking up to that I should first learn the business side of the industry. These suggestions prompted the shift in my major from history to business and my pursuit of marketing/consulting internships in sports. Although I was uninspired by each opportunity, I told myself that each was a necessary learning experience for that development job.

Probably Not…

Why did I love the idea of sports? I love the opportunities that the industry of sport creates for billions of people around the world, either as athletes or fans, that use sport as an inspiration in their own lives.

I wanted to be a part of that transfer of passion and realization of success.   Realistically, as a lawyer in sports, I would only be tangentially involved with that side of the industry and I am not willing to commit 20-30 years of my life doing corporate labor law before someone tells me I have enough “experience” to enter the development side. The industry’s goals are just inconsistent with my own.

With people! Not an industry.

Once I realized that sport was just an instrument for my passion, I was free to think about not only who I could best serve but also who I wanted to serve. Passion drives who I am and who I want to be, and I think more than anything else, I am passionate about serving others in the pursuit of their own passions. From a career perspective, I need to be passionate not just about the company logo and what it could represent, but the people that created it and continue to believe in it. My mother is an artist who specializes in “the use of color” (- my mom), her dad was a tailor, her mom was a fashion designer, and my paternal grandfather was a carpenter; as such, I have been exposed to and have come to value different ideals of creative expression. Like much of my family, I hope to surround myself by innovative, dynamic, and progressive individuals to continue to push myself towards new ideas for both myself and what I want to do.

Applied practically? At the moment, I can’t imagine a discipline more appropriate than startup law. More broadly than just Silicon Valley tech companies, I am excited at just the prospect of working with individuals who have some business or social or personal idea that they hope to develop. As their counsel, or at least just someone with a legal background, I hope to understand their vision and help them best translate that into growth as they see fit. What I thought was the reason I wanted to work in the sports industry is now the perfect reason for me to pursue a career in startups. I am not buying into the brand, but into the individual people and their passions.

Focusing on my strengths

I think that one of my greatest strengths is in understanding how others work and how they act. Although I am grateful for this opportunity to be surrounded by types of personalities that I have never experienced before, (not to be too dramatic) Columbia Law School has an environment that is toxic for social development. My first semester here contributed very little to my conception of the law and, if anything, was detrimental to my understanding of lawyering. For many, their only “passion” is to get good grades or to work for the best firm, and they let you know it.

However, this semester, the combination of surrounding myself by people who make me excited about being a lawyer, avoiding people who need to suck you into the drama of the grading curve, and Law and Contemporary Society has surely contributed to this realization.

While it was certainly initially helpful to separate myself from the law school’s culture to truly understand what I wanted out of myself from this experience, over the next 2 years I think re-engrossing myself into the community will be crucial for my development as a lawyer. Regardless of the area of study, I want to work with people, and I should take advantage of this different environment while it is available to me. I have never been in a community with so many smart, passionate, and talented individuals, and I shouldn’t let a few negative personalities detract from my recognition of their uniqueness. Where the law school lacks in more traditional forms of creativity and innovation, I hope to be able to interact with other Columbia students either academically (I took 4 years of architecture in high school and hope to audit some sort of architecture or history of architecture course) or professionally (by participating in some clinic, contacting the Columbia Startup Lab, or engaging with students myself in some capacity). As I can learn from them, I hope they can learn from me, and I am genuinely excited to return in the fall.

Although I am sure I had a good reason to come to law school, I don’t know how I decided without truly understanding how I wanted to lawyer. Now, whether it be with startups or starting my own practice to work with different artists, I know how I want to be the lawyer that surrounds myself with people of passion.


Webs Webs

r4 - 30 May 2018 - 12:14:02 - AngeloAngelino
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