Law School? My Four Reasons Why.
With law school orientation and the beginning of my 1L year approaching, I’ve been wrapping up my summer “decluttering” vacation and getting my mind right to start the school year. I have committed to de-prioritizing the blog while I figure out how to navigate law school. Over the years I’ve learned that no amount of reading or preparation can ever account for the knowledge gained when I actually gain hands-on experience.
After reflecting on my INFJ-ENTP “switch” earlier this year and everything I’ve learned not only in these past three years but the past THIRTY years, I can confidently say this:
The decision to attend law school and become a practicing attorney is really is the output of that revelatory moment, and the “conclusion” of my multi-year “self-discovery” and journey to (1) recover my artistic self; (2) rediscover who I always was; and (3) put me in a position to create who I want to become.
To sit down and express all the hows and the whys is a pretty daunting task at this point. However, I decided to start by documenting four reasons why, at the age of thirty-one, I decided to go to law school.
So here it goes...
Reason #1: To Become a LawyeR.
The most practical reason for going to law school is to be qualified to sit for the bar exam and become a licensed attorney--someone who is certified by a governing body (the “Bar”) to become a consultant who specializes in the law.
You do not need a law degree to know the law.
For example, there are probably people who have never seen the inside of a law school who know the law and “think like a lawyer." We have many legislators (albeit very few) who can stand their own with their fellow attorney colleagues. They never went to law school, but through self-study, observation and passion have learned to pick up the analytical, reading and writing skills along the way. I’ve also found that teachers already engage in a lot of the very same thinking processes lawyers engage in on a daily basis, albeit in a very different arena. For example, the Texas state standards (TEKS) are located in the Texas Education Code. Teachers take these statutes (thats what the standards are), interpret them and create a year-long strategy of examples and experiences that are then delivered to students in order that they may master the knowledge and skills expressed in these educational “statutes.”
However knowing the law and being able to practice the law are two very different things.
And so, when considering whether or not I should go to law school, especially at the age of thirty-one, this was a very important consideration.
I’m not going to take the time to share all the specifics, but really when it came down to the “cost-benefit” analysis, law school won. I have every intention of becoming a practicing attorney (on my own terms, of course...but that’s to be continued).
Reason #2: CONSOLIDATION
I have gone through a three-year “process of elimination” and sampling of all the things that light my soul on fire. I went through life like a mad scientist--gathering data by trying this thing, then that thing--analyzing data on what gave me energy and what didn’t.
Working remotely in Peru was really an eye-opening experience that allowed me to learn more about myself. Some things I learned include:
Endlessly traveling the world and taking photographs is fun, but not as a full-time gig. I learned that while I greatly enjoy traveling and taking photographs, these activities are best treated like a serious hobby, not necessarily a platform or vocation. In other words, traveling and photography lights my soul on fire, but not enough to make my living from it.
I enjoy routine, stability, and having “my things” around me. I learned that I have no problem working for or working with other people, as long as there is high degree of flexibility and/or alignment in project selection, working environment and opportunities to grow and develop. It has been difficult to find said environment, but over the past three years I’ve become increasingly adept at identifying these opportunities.
Entrepreneurship has its pros and cons and my entrepreneurial “streak” can be satisfied in an environment when I can work WITH people, NOT necessarily FOR people. I prefer to work with individuals who share my passion, clarity, and intensity for a project and value one-to-one collaboration. I prefer working in an environment where each person brings 100% to the table in order to grow and get better. I’m not one for “top-down” management. There may be different people who “lead” certain projects, but when you work with people whose passions, intentions and clarity are aligned, there is no need for “management” because everyone manages themselves.
I’ve been meeting these things by doing the remote freelance consulting thing for a little over a year now (education, digital marketing, and online course creation). However, there was one last adjustment to make—I wanted the “content area,” to be more aligned with topics and ideas that I am most energized by—history, politics, religion, business, ethics, psychology and conflict resolution. Being part of the legal profession seemed like the best platform to (1) develop and refine my analytical, speaking and writing skills; (2) engage in intellectually challenging problem-solving; and (3) create the opportunity for a flexible work environment while having a platform to address issues I care about on a systems level.
I recognize that being an attorney probably means giving up my “work-from-home” lifestyle, but truly—working remotely was cool for a year-or-two, but it got old real quick. I realized that it was just the very regimented working hours and location requirement of the public school environment that really got to me and perhaps I needed to spend time working remotely to recover. (And by regimented I mean not being able to get a drink or use the restroom when you wanted to use the restroom and being 100% of the time responsible for other people's children.)
Reason #3: To GIVE LOVE TO MY “SHADOW” SELF
This reason is in reference to my MBTI shift earlier this year to ENTP (from INFJ). If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’m a huge MBTI junkie. Why? Well, one reason is that I’ve seen it accurately predict human behavior hundreds of times over, not to mention, MBTI tends to gives me useful information about people and their tendencies.
“But wait! The “academic psychological community” says MBTI is B.S.”
Yes, however, MBTI is, by definition, impossible to study using the scientific method because there is not a proper “control.” People are fluid and ever-changing and will not always type the same (my experience, case-in-point, and many others like me). Therefore, this makes MBTI a poor candidate for those seeking to produce a predictive, quantitative model (which to the academic psychological community = "ineffective.")
In my opinion, there is a “best fit resting MBTI type” with its corresponding shadow type that can come out when under stress. I see all people as being capable of “transcending self” and being able to choose what “type” they are in any given moment, if they go through the "hero’s" journey of really identifying their "resting type."
Because it took me the past three years to really get back to my “resting type,” (ENTP) with a lot of help from a lot of different people—I think I’ll hang out here for a little while and really engage with this part of myself while NOT abandoning my “shadow self,” (IN/SFJ), but using it to my advantage.
In addition to embracing my darkness as well as my light, applying/going to law school process also brought up a lot of interesting “hillbilly” mindsets and issues regarding the perception and role of lawyers in society I had to confront and work through. I’ll probably talk more about this in a future post. But as a preview, consult Hillbilly Elegy and Educated: A Memoir.
Reason #4: CRITICISM IS ENCOURAGED!
A lot of my issues in “corporate” work-life and working for small-businesses came with my tendency to be the critic on the team. This came off quite poorly--ESPECIALLY in my younger years. (Being female also didn’t help. Males, in my observation, can typically criticize more while being less ostracized.)
I got to a point where I was sure I was the one that needed to change, despite feeling like being critical gave me energy and felt so “natural.”
It was only when I read Glenn M. Parker’s “Team Players and Teamwork,” that I learned that YES—it is absolutely necessary to have the critic on high-functioning teams. However, managing a critic is very difficult unless (1) the criticism is voiced productively; and (2) you have a manager who values the criticism.
Being the critic has been both my blessing and my curse. However, I’m at a point in my life where I see this “critical tendency” of mine as neither blessing, nor curse; to just take this tendency for what it is, nurture and develop it (by going to law school) and using my “skeptical and analytical mind” to contribute to society.
So, In many ways this decision to attend law school was unexpected, yet in many ways — it makes sense. The more I think back on my life and the things I have always been drawn to—from books to movies to topics that light my soul on fire, this desire to be an advocate as always been there. However, this seems to be the time and place to engage this part of myself.
To everything there is a season…
I'm looking forward to sharing my journey (along with continuing to share all my decor, travel and capsule wardrobe things).
Thanks for stopping by.