Law in Contemporary Society
After a year of law school, what have I learned about the sort of lawyer I want to be

Coming into law school I had two ideas about the type of lawyer I’d like to be, and after the first year I still hold those initial ambitions. First I want to be financially independent, and to run my own music focused entertainment law practice. At first that will mean working for someone else, however I’m okay with that as long as I stick to the plan to reach my greater goals.

Entering law school I recognized that I was walking into a school/career where it would be all too easy to put my head down and be assimilated into the status quo. However, the second idea I had about the type of lawyer I wanted to be is one who remembers the things that are important to them as a person. Personally my family, my values and my own happiness are those things. Though there will be times when work temporarily becomes all consuming, it’s important not to forget what my real priorities are so that I make moves that ultimately lead me towards those goals.

I learned something new about the type of lawyer I’d like to be while observing second circuit court of appeals judge Reena Raggi. I was struck by the mastery of her craft she displayed, and the confidence which with her knowledge allowed her to speak. Still, I didn’t see the billboard addressed to me until hearing you talk about taking law school finals in class. You mentioned how it is okay to say something the teacher might not agree with as long as you have a strong enough command of the material to state it in terms that they can recognize and thus would likely respect. I realized then that I wanted to become the type of lawyer who displayed this mastery within the context of his own practice. Especially because as an independent I’ll be facing an uphill battle against firms with more resources and bigger networks, so I’ll need a strong work ethic, knowledge base, and some business savvy to combat that.

How- if I am returning to law school in the fall do I plan to guide my learning in order to become the lawyer I want to be

The big difference between this year and next is the ability to choose the courses that I will take. What this means to me is that I will be able to immerse myself in work that I am naturally interested in, and I think that will help me apply myself in learning/mastering the material. I also hope to distance myself from the traditional classroom setting and take advantage of any clinics and/or externships that are in the field I want to practice in.

Another major way I can guide my leaning next year is to find people whom I can model myself after and who can provide me with mentorship. I think one of my strengths is my self-determinative attitude, but it turns to a weakness when it gets to the point of me thinking I have to do everything on my own. Some of the best decisions I made this year involved reaching out to people and asking for help, I hope to remember that lesson next year.

Finally, I recognize that entertainment law has high barriers to entry, and as an independent can be difficult to sustain oneself with alone. Therefore working in multiple areas will help me build a high-functioning practice. My internship at McDermott? Will & Emery this summer will help me gain experience in many practice areas. Four weeks in and I have noticed how some practice areas such as tax are more standardized and tend to offer more consistently flowing work as well as better work life balance. I have also recognized that there may be an extra step between my first firm job and my ultimate self-run practice, likely in the form of a lateral transfer in-house or to an entertainment focused firm. I worry slightly that spreading myself across multiple practice areas, may make me less attractive to firms who seem to desire their laterals to be specialized. However, I believe that I’ll be able to find a few practice area such as contracts or IP that will nicely compliment the entertainment law background I wish to develop.

If I have learned that I should not continue in law school how have I come to that conclusion

In considering if I’ll come back this fall, I had to reflect on the reasons I came here in the first place. Arguably, if I just want to run a record label there were more direct routes than law school. Yet I thought about building that label, the business and creative sides of it I could figure out without a degree, but I felt without an understanding of the law I’d have to continuously outsource an integral part of my practice. In addition the entertainment industry can be very hard to get a foot into if you don’t know someone. I thought a law school with the vast resources of Columbia would be a great vehicle to get me into the places where I could start to meet and shake hands with the people working in the areas I want to work in. I saw my degree like lucrative trade that could be applied in variety of settings. Therefore I saw going to law school as a chance to put a tool (my JD) into my tool box, to learn new skills and ways of thinking, and as a way to expand my network.

I think that my opportunity to achieve those goals only increases in each of the next two years. I’m proud of myself for working through the waves of self-doubt and disinterest that I felt throughout 1L year. If I were going to quit I would have done it already, thus I am committed.


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r3 - 15 Jun 2018 - 11:23:51 - DanielImahiyerobo
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