Law in Contemporary Society

Finding My Way Through the Rigidly Ridiculous System

-- By Leyla Hadi - 25 Feb 2013

What I Want

My career isn't the most important thing to me. I don't want it to be. But I want it to be important, and I want it to be meaningful, and I don't think I want to be "influential".

I believe I have found the person with whom I want to walk through this magical and abysmal world; and so, to deal with the practical, real world stuff, I want to be able to make money so that we can live well. That includes paying off debt, which is something I've never dealt with before, and terrifies the crap out of me. That also includes the unconventional realities of a same-sex relationship: the $2400 fees for a three month "subscription" to a sperm bank which allows you to receive extensive details about the donor. The expenses that come with insemination. Et cetera.

I'll do what I have to do for a while to make money. I'll meet people to expand my network, I'll educate myself, and I'll question often and hard what I want, what I'm working towards, whether I'm happy, whether I'm helping the people I want to be helping, how I can take the next steps to get where I want to go. This semester provided me with enough education to know to be aware of the ways people are stunted and inhibited from networking and learning necessary skills to become independent lawyers.

What type of law do you see yourself practicing and/or where do you see yourself taking your career?

If the world were my oyster, I definitely would not be in law school. Here I am though. And very lucky to be. I have spent the last few weeks working at a regional firm in Rochester, receiving assignments that entail researching various issues and writing numerous memoranda. Unexpectedly, I have enjoyed it. I like the process of figuring out the answer, molding the facts, presenting the logic behind my argument. Unfortunately, I find myself falling asleep reading certain cases because I don't find the topic interesting in the least. I don't necessarily care about the solution, or the clients for whom I'm looking.

I still have very little idea of where I see myself taking my career, but I have reached a point where it is something I actively want to think about and question, as opposed to how I felt at the beginning of the semester. Like I mentioned in earlier drafts of this paper, there are very many areas I find interesting, worthwhile, or both. Of them, I will probably edge towards working for LGBT, women, or immigrant rights, or in the entertainment industry. One substantial, the other only a personal interest. I think, if I am to work at a firm, I should either try and work in litigation or in labor/employment. If I ultimately want to go into public interest, having a litigation background is going to do me more good (even if a small amount) than a corporate/transactional background. Because there is always that gun to my head, I have to go down a path. Maybe working at a firm won't actually do anything for me; maybe all it will do is make me miserable. Maybe I will only truly appreciate the benefits of an independent path once I have been in chains.

To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.

- Soren Kierkegaard

The short-term plan is less clear than the long-term. I know I want to do good. Despite my general pessimistic attitude about the world, and despite my belief that greedy rich white men will always run the world, I can make a difference, even if it impacts a handful of people. I was unable to reconcile living in a rigid, ridiculous system that can't be penetrated (and thus one which we must do our best to stay afloat), with the idea that I can still help a few people without sacrificing myself and my happiness. For years, I felt guilt for not moving back to Pakistan, and eventually dealt with it by saying I come first, not the people of that country, and because I come first I will stay here so I can live a better life. Which in turn changed my view regarding my role in the world into a black-and-white, selfish or selfless existence.

The paralysis has finally ended. I spent this first year of school making the motions, doing what needed to be done. I was passive. Even though I don't know where I'm going, or even the exact steps of how to get there, I know I need to start acting. Talk to people, participate in everything I find remotely interesting, explore, reflect. Maybe I'm stuck in the system, most people are. But I've already broken out of one system. I now know I shouldn't throw my hands up in defeat within another. Question, dare, not lose myself.


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r10 - 14 Jan 2015 - 22:15:33 - IanSullivan
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