Sunday, October 30, 2005

It's not me, it's you

This weekend, I had a conversation with C, a girl from school I know peripherally. We've never been friends - we were in the same section and have had some classes together since, but she's always struck me as slightly off and not someone I want to be around. (I try really hard to keep the crazies as far away as possible these days. I figure my profession is crazy enough.) Anyway, she is dating an international LLM who is apparently crazy about her and wants to move back to his native Mediterranean land and bring her with him. He also wants her to stay home, make his home beautiful, and enjoy herself while he goes to work. She told me that she appreciates that, but that she has loans and is uncomfortable with the idea of her boyfriend or husband or whatever paying them all back for her, despite the fact that he has offered.

I find it entirely disturbing that I found myself instantly jealous of her. I went to law school in the first place because I wanted to make sure that I never had to rely on my own husband for my financial well-being. I was always told by my divorced and bitter mother to keep a few months' living expenses in a numbered account that my future husband would never know about, and becoming a lawyer seemed like a great way to make that happen. At this point in my legal "career," however, I would happily accept an offer like C was given. If I have to be an indentured servant, better I should be able to play with children and get expensive spa treatments than get barked at by megalomaniacs every day.

One of the first signs of insanity is thinking that your world is crazy and only you are sane. But on this one, I really think I'm right. The entire legal world is so totally fucked up that I am pretty much at a loss to decide what the hell I want to do after law school. Sometimes I think I just want to drop out of it entirely and do the kind of shit I could've done out of college with my cute little BA in English Lit. But it's not because I can't hack it - I can. It's because I'm not that crazy, and honestly, I'm pretty much over the idea that I should aspire to be crazier.

So, uh, I'm accepting applications if anyone wants to bankroll my lifestyle while I get my nails done.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Eye for an eye

The other day, on advice from a lawyer at my firm, I met with a professor at my school, J. J has given me the only truly awesome grades I've ever gotten in law school and always seemed to like and respect me as a human being. He showed some true kindness to me once, when I lost a journal election and was bawling in the hallway, locked out of the office. He brags nonstop about prominent people in his field being friends of his, so I thought that meeting with him might not be such a bad idea.

Wrong.

In addition to acting completely put-upon and annoyed that I was wasting his time, he informed me within the first couple minutes that he was also wasting mine because there's just nothing he can do. He has no "magic silver bullet" and is not a "clearinghouse" for jobs, matching them up with his star pupils. He made a point of mentioning that he spends 15 hours a day at school and knows fewer people in NY now than he did when he first moved here because he has just become such an antisocial workaholic. Fine. Sorry. But as if acknowledging the fact that he wouldn't help me wasn't enough to ruin my morning (considering I had woken up early to get to school to meet with him that day), he had to add a little insult to injury in typical law professor fashion.

"You need to make it clear to people that you are ready and willing to work, and that you want the job. But there is a fine line. You can't seem desperate and you have a tendency to come across as overly emotional. You do know that."

Faced with little alternative response, I swallowed and said, "Yes."

"Now, I know that you are an incredibly resilient person and that you aren't fragile. But emotional people come across as fragile, and while some people may well think, 'She is a smart person and a fun person to be around,' others may conclude that you are just too fragile to do what you want to do."

Thanks. I had thought that I had basically gotten away with the crying in the hallway incident, but some memories last longer than others, I suppose, even the memories of him calling on me in class every day for a year and always getting the question right.

I can't win: I am totally sure that some of the lawyers I worked with this summer would come to the opposite conclusion, since I had told myself at the beginning of the summer to keep everything 100% professional.

Not to be all feminist here, but this is the fucking problem that women always face: you are either a cold bitch or an emotional, overwrought, unreasonable and delicate flower who couldn't possibly hack it in the man's world of litigation. You know what? I think most people who know me would agree that I am tough as nails. If I litigated a case and lost, I would shut up and take it like a man while in public - and then cry like a baby the minute I got into a room by myself. That is what makes me a HUMAN BEING and not a robot. But I guess I should already know that the law doesn't value people at all...and the fact that I'm on the precipice of entering a profession where people who can suppress all human instincts and emotions get ahead should be a red flag, right?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Teshuva

Just to follow up again, I got ANOTHER apology from the administrator mentioned below. This time, it was in the form of a handwritten note so coerced that clearly, were it a confession, it would not be admissible in a court of law. I can imagine the gun to his head as he writes:

"I regret our recent telephone conversation, and want to apologize for anything that I said that may have upset you. I understand how stressful law school is, and feel badly that I may have added to your worries.
I think we both have at least one thing in common - we want [our school] to be the best school it possibly can be!
I am happy to speak with you further about this. Just call me at [my private line]."

Well, perhaps he may understand my reluctance to ever communicate with him on the phone again, but in the spirit of the ten days of repentance, perhaps I should write to him and communicate my forgiveness. Although by Jewish law, he has to ask one more time for my forgiveness, and then he should take it up directly with the man upstairs. And I don't mean the dean of the law school.
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