“Well then why are you in law school?”

It’s a question I’ve been asked numerous times to which I have no answer. Well, no convincing answer, anyway.

I have just completed my first year of night school. Our last final was this past week and, thankfully, I am not taking classes this summer. My spring semester came to a typical conclusion, involving final exams for which I was grossly under prepared. Over the course of my academic career, I have come to take a perverse pleasure from walking into a test (partially?) unprepared. I am not sure how to explain it except to say that when you sit down in front of a piece of paper upon which most or all of your grade depends and realize you are ill-equipped to complete it, the adrenaline starts flowing. It dawns on you that you are going to have to dig deep, if you know what I mean. And so the game begins.

For quite some time I have had little aspiration of becoming an attorney. It just doesn’t seem like me. Voiced aloud, this sort of confession invariably earns an utterance along the lines of the title of this post. My usual response is, “I really don’t know.” And that’s the truth. I have long held at least a mild interest in the law. I am not sure if it was that interest or boredom or perhaps a combination thereof that drove me into law school. I can tell you that I work 40 hours a week now and for me that’s PLENTY; I have no desire to work any more than that. Some people believe the choice to be financially driven. I don’t think that’s it, either. Those things that bring me the most joy in life have little to do with money. I suppose what it comes down to is that maybe I pursue the law more as an avocation than a vocation. Such a realization is valuable to me; it allows me to assume that role of a “casual law student,” thus avoiding many of the stresses normally intrinsic to the pursuit of a law degree.

I should make one thing clear. In my mind, the field of law is an inherently noble profession, despite any less-than-savory characters who might lead you to believe otherwise. It is a system of principles and rules based on fairness; that, at least to me, demands a certain respect. For all its flaws, abuses, and apparent shortcomings in execution, the judicial system in this country has remained progressively flexible and generally effective since its inception 200 years ago. That impresses me.

So perhaps I am destined merely to admire the field of law from afar as a mere spectator, rather than a player. As with everything else, time will tell.

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