Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thanks, NY for Joining the 21st Century & the Pitfalls of New Grads Going Solo

In case you haven't heard, NY just legalized gay marriage. That's all I have to say.

It's the 21st CENTURY!!!!! This is America. I'm just glad NY finally got with the program. Now if we could only get rid of Bloomberg & my husband could find a job with an employer who truly appreciated him + gave him viable holiday vacation time, life would be so much better.

I've talked about this before but it's just pathetic and tacky for the government to use religion to deny people basic rights. Let me also add it's a religion many people don't follow or support. And a quote I read from the Catholic Bishops of New York is a laugh: treated gay people "with respect, dignity and love", did you? I wonder what gay people who grew up in the Catholic church would have to say about that. I can tell you that there are LOTS of people in the Baptist church who would be lying if they said that.

Gay people getting to marry has nothing to do with your sex-starved marriage so shove your prejudices up your butt. Unless YOUR church is being commanded to marry gay people, you have nothing to say about it.

Maybe I should lobby the government to invalidate marriages that haven't been consummated in a certain number of years or to force you to adopt 5 children every time you publicly tell women not to get abortions. How do you like them apples? Not so cool telling adults what to do when YOUR life & choices will be affected, now is it? Unless you'd like that to happen, maybe you ought to keep your trap shut.

Also read this story recently about new law graduates opening virtual offices and becoming solo practitioners. While I appreciate ingenuity and am as in tune with technology as the next person (who isn't your typical attorney), there are some serious pitfalls to doing this. As someone who's freelanced as an attorney & gotten legal clients, let me share a few facts:

1. Malpractice insurance: It's costly, particularly if you want to do entertainment law. If you're unemployed, you can't afford it. If your state doesn't require it, at least you can just opt out & tell prospective clients about that fact.

2. The ability to hustle: If you can't hustle, there's no way you'll do this successfully. I'm not so sure all new law can do it. I had the advantage of being a founding member of a sorority chapter. Plus, I've had no choice but to hustle for survival. I believe a typical new law grad who's not had to hustle or be in a position of leadership is going to have a hard time.

3. Access to people who know more than you & knowing when to use it: Just like high schoolers, I'm sure there's a group of new law grads who think they know it all & then get in over their heads with no older, wiser folk to ask for help from. Not only do you need that access (which can be hard to get from self-important jerk types who try dragging you down) but you need to know when to use it.

4. Lack of community in the legal field: Yes, I still believe there's a horrid lack of "community" in the legal field. I found it laughable when I read an ABA article saying to make friends w/other attorneys.

Okay, if you've read legal blogs on lawyer relations, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't let me give you a short version: lawyers are assholes and total sociopaths who are nothing but sticks in the mud.

Not every single attorney I know fits this & I've managed to find some who have a shred of humanity. But...the chance of that is slim in my book. I'm also not big on the term "friend"; I call people my contacts since "friend" implies a deeper level of intimacy than I'm comfortable with. Also really doesn't help that my oldest friend in the world 180ed into a different person. These days, I hear the word "friend" and that whole thing weighs on my mind.

I also recognize that I'm an unusual person. To really be my friend is tough; I'm a private person, despite being blunt. I've had many people let me down in life & hurt me. You could say I put up barriers around myself & you'd be right. Generally, I find it hard to trust people or believe they're going to be reliable.

Plus, I'm in a field where you kind of have to put up barriers or you'd get eaten alive.

Even staying in my sorority chapter after a while was emotionally difficult; I just felt like I had to stick it out as an endurance test, to prove I could do it. I'm glad I did but I feel like I know who I am and have learned to accept it.

5. Trial and error factors: I had to do some of this. You learn there are lots of scumbags in the world & people who don't appreciate a damn thing. Believe me, your altruism fades really quick after you represent people on your own, go through a bunch of time & effort and end up with people not paying you or appreciating you. I don't take kindly to stuff like that & after bad experiences, I'm much pickier about who I deal with. It's on my terms or it's not going to happen.

Perhaps that's part of legal training: draining out nearly ounce of altruism and empathy you'd feel for a client.

I feel it's the fault of the legal profession, schools, the ABA, whoever else caused the field to be as it is that new grads are having to do this. They're doing what they have to in order to survive and pay off the ridiculous loan rates. Unlike some people, I don't punish others for doing what they need to in order to survive. As they say, some rules are meant to be broken. You just need the maturity and forethought to know which ones are good & serve a purpose vs. which ones are asinine & beg to be broken b/c they are that stupid.

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