Law in Contemporary Society

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TWikiGuestSecondEssay 5 - 15 Jun 2017 - Main.DavidManadom
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After a year of law school, I have come to five conclusions regarding the sort of lawyer I want to be: (1) I actually want to be a layer; (2) I do not want to be a litigator; (3) my interest in real estate is real and should be pursued; (4) I do not want to practice here in New York City; (5) there is a 93 percent chance I will move back to Nashville to practice real estate law and pursue a career in politics. Contrary to the assumption in the prompt, when I arrived at Columbia Law I was not totally keen on the idea of practicing law. I had envisioned myself wielding my legal education in other ways that served the public interest, like broadcast news media for example. (I had applied to Columbia specifically because of our unique access to a world-class journalism school). But as I have thought longer and harder about my interest in public service and politics I found the value of having a formal legal training, which would only come from practicing the law. That said - I realized that if I wanted to truly be an effective change agent and advocate for the public welfare, I needed to learn how to be a lawyer. So that is what I will do. Participating in the Frederick Douglass Moot Court was a valuable experience for a range of reasons. But the reason most relevant to this assignment is that my mooting experience showed me that I did not want to be a litigator. I found little enjoyment or sense of satisfaction in the legal research or brief writing process, and found even less in delivering the oral argument and fielding questions from the bench. If anything, I learned that my public speaking skills are more geared to oration and speech, rather than legal argument. This is not to say that I am unprepared to invest in my oral argument skills; rather, I am noting that my comparative advantage lies elsewhere. And it is to elsewhere that I shall turn. During the days in which I felt most trapped in the hell hole known as 1L I would spend the remaining hours of the night on my phone looking at New York City real estate listings. Real estate has always been a passion of mine, stretching back over a decade to when my mother and I would walk onto developments after-hours in our neighborhood to see what the new homes looked like and how they compared to ours. Given my interest, a few lawyers had even previously recommended that I consider real estate law, but I had never taken their suggestions too seriously. But recently I have had a change of heart. If I were to practice at a firm, which is likely, given my financial situation, I think I would start in real estate, as I could actually see myself wanting to master the material at hand. This is all still subject to change. Another big breakthrough was my realization that I do not want to practice here in New York City. Growing up in Nashville I had always dreamt of moving to New York, for surely there I would find my happiness. But with every dinner, luncheon, and cocktail hour hosted by Skadden, Sullivan & Cromwell, et al., the lawyers I met began to blend together in a way I found depressing. In some ways I acknowledge that my feelings towards these interactions could be limited to select firms…maybe. But importantly I see strands of this ultra-capitalist thinking throughout this city, permeating both social and professional interactions. This is not who I am. What this year has truly taught me is that given my unique ambitions, I should be grow more comfortable doing life differently from most. This has led me to the conclusion that I want to return home to Nashville, where I feel I share the same soul as its people. From a young age, my ambition has been to run for Congress so that I could be the champion I wish I had seen as a youth, fighting for equality and justice even in the face of political pressure and moneyed interests. Part of me thought that I could effect this change at arm’s length, allowing me to leave Tennessee to find acceptance elsewhere. But I now realize the importance of going back and taking with me the education and exposure that I gained from having left. So I will be traveling back to Nashville next week to learn more about what legal practice is like there. If I find the opportunity, I will likely spend next summer at a firm down there and will move there upon graduation. So after a year of law school I have in fact learned some things that speak to the kind of lawyer I want to be. But more importantly, after a year of networking with big law types, I have realized the kind of life I want and the kind of person I want to be. And those are considerations that I take very seriously.
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TWikiGuestSecondEssay 4 - 16 May 2017 - Main.JustinMaffett
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After a year of law school, I have come to five conclusions regarding the sort of lawyer I want to be: (1) I actually want to be a layer; (2) I do not want to be a litigator; (3) my interest in real estate is real and should be pursued; (4) I do not want to practice here in New York City; (5) there is a 93 percent chance I will move back to Nashville to practice real estate law and pursue a career in politics. Contrary to the assumption in the prompt, when I arrived at Columbia Law I was not totally keen on the idea of practicing law. I had envisioned myself wielding my legal education in other ways that served the public interest, like broadcast news media for example. (I had applied to Columbia specifically because of our unique access to a world-class journalism school). But as I have thought longer and harder about my interest in public service and politics I found the value of having a formal legal training, which would only come from practicing the law. That said - I realized that if I wanted to truly be an effective change agent and advocate for the public welfare, I needed to learn how to be a lawyer. So that is what I will do. Participating in the Frederick Douglass Moot Court was a valuable experience for a range of reasons. But the reason most relevant to this assignment is that my mooting experience showed me that I did not want to be a litigator. I found little enjoyment or sense of satisfaction in the legal research or brief writing process, and found even less in delivering the oral argument and fielding questions from the bench. If anything, I learned that my public speaking skills are more geared to oration and speech, rather than legal argument. This is not to say that I am unprepared to invest in my oral argument skills; rather, I am noting that my comparative advantage lies elsewhere. And it is to elsewhere that I shall turn. During the days in which I felt most trapped in the hell hole known as 1L I would spend the remaining hours of the night on my phone looking at New York City real estate listings. Real estate has always been a passion of mine, stretching back over a decade to when my mother and I would walk onto developments after-hours in our neighborhood to see what the new homes looked like and how they compared to ours. Given my interest, a few lawyers had even previously recommended that I consider real estate law, but I had never taken their suggestions too seriously. But recently I have had a change of heart. If I were to practice at a firm, which is likely, given my financial situation, I think I would start in real estate, as I could actually see myself wanting to master the material at hand. This is all still subject to change. Another big breakthrough was my realization that I do not want to practice here in New York City. Growing up in Nashville I had always dreamt of moving to New York, for surely there I would find my happiness. But with every dinner, luncheon, and cocktail hour hosted by Skadden, Sullivan & Cromwell, et al., the lawyers I met began to blend together in a way I found depressing. In some ways I acknowledge that my feelings towards these interactions could be limited to select firms…maybe. But importantly I see strands of this ultra-capitalist thinking throughout this city, permeating both social and professional interactions. This is not who I am. What this year has truly taught me is that given my unique ambitions, I should be grow more comfortable doing life differently from most. This has led me to the conclusion that I want to return home to Nashville, where I feel I share the same soul as its people. From a young age, my ambition has been to run for Congress so that I could be the champion I wish I had seen as a youth, fighting for equality and justice even in the face of political pressure and moneyed interests. Part of me thought that I could effect this change at arm’s length, allowing me to leave Tennessee to find acceptance elsewhere. But I now realize the importance of going back and taking with me the education and exposure that I gained from having left. So I will be traveling back to Nashville next week to learn more about what legal practice is like there. If I find the opportunity, I will likely spend next summer at a firm down there and will move there upon graduation. So after a year of law school I have in fact learned some things that speak to the kind of lawyer I want to be. But more importantly, after a year of networking with big law types, I have realized the kind of life I want and the kind of person I want to be. And those are considerations that I take very seriously.
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TWikiGuestSecondEssay 3 - 15 Apr 2016 - Main.WendyCai
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* PROGRESS REPORT*
 
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How I ended up in Law & Contemporary Society At the end of last semester, I consulted countless 2Ls about class recommendations for 1L spring. I weighed my options, considered how engaging it would be to take Corporations with Jackson or useful it would be to really know tax law right as tax season was coming up. I decided to take your class instead. One hour before the deadline, I rearranged my class list and made Law & Contemporary Society my first choice. Because it didn’t have final. Because there wasn’t the same competition for grades. Because it would be a “lighter” course load. Ha.

CLS Supper Theatre I spent the first several weeks of class either being confused by the seemingly opaque anecdotes you told in response to most questions and kicking myself for not actually going to the electives panel. If I had, maybe I could have seen this coming. But more than anything else I was indifferent. I was unimpressed with the weekly matinees held in Jerome Green 107. I thought I understood the broad strokes of what you were trying to teach us. Don’t let the man keep you down. Go forth and do good in the world. Control your own destiny. Blah blah blah. I didn’t think I needed the songs and the confrontation and the poems to understand any of that. A brief moment of clarity I remember earlier in the semester when someone in the class, a black student, asked you about privilege and how that affected some of our ability to pass up the opportunity to go into Big Law. That a history of no money and no social capital meant that whether or not going into Big Law was the right thing to do, it was absolutely the proper thing to do. You weren’t buying it. I don’t remember exactly what your words were in response (I’m working on that), but the essence of it was that when you are so compelled to do a thing, the history of oppression, lack of wealth, or supposed duty to community will dim in comparison to that thing, that thing you must do. At that point I only understood about fifteen percent of what was happening in any given lecture, but I got that. I got it because I’ve spent years afraid that if I didn’t have the resume that matched my “full potential” I would be a disappointment to my parents. At major junctures of my life I would consider doing something that didn’t conform to the Children-of-Nigerians Handbook. But ultimately I would always take the expected path because there was nothing powerful enough to justify the discomfort.

Baby Steps That moment of understanding didn’t change everything, but it was a start. The clouds of apathy and skepticism that hung over my head when I entered JG 107 began to dissipate. Eventually, I found myself looking forward to the show, some weeks even working up the courage to be a featured cast member. I realize the show was necessary to stand a chance against the two decades prejudices, bad pedagogy, and general apathy that I dragged with me into the audience every week. Slowly your monologues moved from opaque to translucent. * Complete Brain Takeover* Carl Wylie got me. He has set up camp in the back of my mind, and I welcome his company in a way a former me never would have. Lessons learned in this course have officially taken over my brain. Eben, I’ve even started an alternative set of anti-arithmetic outlines. I even tried used consilience in a conversation. Mind you that single word pretty much killed the conversation. I didn’t read them well enough, not the right time, place, or audience. The point is that it happened. “The thing that is Freud” and “the thing that is Marx” are phrases that are now so firmly implanted in my head and now so much more influential in the way I think that I had the audacity to speak my version of those phrases aloud. I really should have known better (It has taken me full three months to really warm up to the idea). This “lighter” class forced me to reexamine myself, my peers and as you may say, demands some “heavy lifting.” * My Next Step* So what I do now? Just unncomfortable enough in my own skin and both willing and capable of changing—of influencing change. I have decided to read. Properly. I think it is a sensible and reasonable thing to do. I still don’t know what my own practice will look like. I have no idea who my network will require. I don’t know what issue will command my creativity and compel me to jeopardize making my parents proud. And I won’t so long as I can’t even recognize myself. Correction: my selves. Carl Wylie showed me that. I don’t know what the results will yield, but I think a second look at who my heroes are or should be will help me create a path for how to start my own practice. Because that is what I want. I truly do.

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TWikiGuestSecondEssay 2 - 01 Apr 2016 - Main.EmiL
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-- SuzanAbebe - 02 Jun 2015

 
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THE FEAR OF FAILURE, UNDERNEATH IT ALL.

The 90’s.

Unconventional is the term I use to describe my parent’s decision to leave Ethiopia to come to the U.S. in 1993. At the time, I was three, my brother five, and my sister seven. Our home was also filled with our uncles who were all in their twenties. My dad was the oldest of ten boys, so at various points he had his brothers live with us to attend school in the capital city instead of them foregoing education in the villages where they grew up. My dad decided that he needed better than he had for his owns kids, so he and my mom left and we stayed behind. It would be two-and-a-half years later that my brother, sister and I finally reunited with my parents in Washington D.C. I often thought my dad was an impulsive person, and was angry with him for the deep-rooted feelings of abandonment my siblings and I felt from being separated from him and my mom. But over the years I have learned that he is calculated, fearless, and proceeds forcefully to get what he needs for his family. He is the high risk, high reward type of individual that I wish that I could instinctively be.

The Nation’s Capital.

My mom had a distant relative in Maryland they were supposed to stay with until they found an apartment of their own. Though my father’s pride had them out of there less than a week after their arrival. They slept in various train stations in the D.C. area until my dad earned enough money from his fast-food chain gig where he quickly became manager, to get an apartment. My mom eventually found a nanny position for a wealthy Jewish family. I don’t know all of the details regarding my parent’s struggles during those years, but I know life was unimaginably difficult for them. My siblings and I arrived to a tiny studio apartment, but over the years our living quarters steadily got larger. Despite not being educated “professionals” – an opportunity they instead saved for their kids – my parents became homeowners, small business owners, and money saving machines.

My Practice?

I got a nice dose of humble pie by my dad when I went home for winter break. I could not wait to tell him that being a Columbia law student means my first gig out of law school could be $160,000 a year plus a bonus in big law! I was waiting for those kinds of smiles a father gives when he is proud of his child. I’m not sure why I even thought that, anyone who knows my dad knows he doesn’t smile unless forced. My friends have always been petrified of him that they prepped themselves to come over my house. Although I know he loves me because of his actions, especially in the moments where he is scared to lose me. For example, one time I got really sick in college, and the University thought I had the swine flu. My dad dropped everything and cut a commute of 2 hours in half to pick me up. His face that day captured his love for me no words could define. Anyways, my dad looked at me with one of his looks that make me feel silly. He said, “What is this work to make a stranger rich that is making you feel proud. You are going to open up your own practice, focus on subjects that will make you in demand.” I knew I had aspirations of opening my own practice, but that always seemed like a long-term goal. I wondered why it was so obvious to him that it could happen immediately. After our conversation, I initially wrote off my dad’s comments as typical of an immigrant mindset about owning a business as the ultimate goal. I was still so caught up that big law didn’t avail itself to just anyone.

Back to Fear.

After winter break, I began this course, where for the first time the same notions my father preaches, are reiterated by a law professor. Sad to say but it gave the idea more legitimacy for me. Earlier in the semester, you taught us about the nuts over bolts method of running a practice, and told us that your monthly goal was ensuring that your nuts stayed lower than your bolts. That same class you looked out at our class, looked at most of us in our eyes, and said that you can feel how scared we all were.

The more I analyze why it is I am so apprehensive about beginning my own practice straight out of law school, the more I realize it is largely because of that fear you picked up on. It doesn’t feel like my experience is the all or nothing kind my parents faced to make life better for us. For me, it feels like I can enter the pawn shop, get my 160k and have my community say, “hey that Abebe kid has really made something of herself” even if I am miserable OR take the road of uncertainty to being my own boss but potentially create something good. I am scared about starting my own practice, because I am scared about failure. More specifically, I am scared about hiring people who will depend on me for their livelihood. I am scared about not knowing enough and advising clients on matters that could make or break them. I am scared that I am losing my Amharic speaking capabilities and predict that a good portion of my clientele will probably be Ethiopian who will need that. I’m still not at the point where I have decided just exactly what I will do, but I think confronting this apprehensions is a start. I’m also tailoring the rest of my time in law school to gain the most amount of practical experience that I can get.

>
>
META TOPICPARENT name="SecondEssay"
* PROGRESS REPORT*

How I ended up in Law & Contemporary Society At the end of last semester, I consulted countless 2Ls about class recommendations for 1L spring. I weighed my options, considered how engaging it would be to take Corporations with Jackson or useful it would be to really know tax law right as tax season was coming up. I decided to take your class instead. One hour before the deadline, I rearranged my class list and made Law & Contemporary Society my first choice. Because it didn’t have final. Because there wasn’t the same competition for grades. Because it would be a “lighter” course load. Ha.

CLS Supper Theatre I spent the first several weeks of class either being confused by the seemingly opaque anecdotes you told in response to most questions and kicking myself for not actually going to the electives panel. If I had, maybe I could have seen this coming. But more than anything else I was indifferent. I was unimpressed with the weekly matinees held in Jerome Green 107. I thought I understood the broad strokes of what you were trying to teach us. Don’t let the man keep you down. Go forth and do good in the world. Control your own destiny. Blah blah blah. I didn’t think I needed the songs and the confrontation and the poems to understand any of that. A brief moment of clarity I remember earlier in the semester when someone in the class, a black student, asked you about privilege and how that affected some of our ability to pass up the opportunity to go into Big Law. That a history of no money and no social capital meant that whether or not going into Big Law was the right thing to do, it was absolutely the proper thing to do. You weren’t buying it. I don’t remember exactly what your words were in response (I’m working on that), but the essence of it was that when you are so compelled to do a thing, the history of oppression, lack of wealth, or supposed duty to community will dim in comparison to that thing, that thing you must do. At that point I only understood about fifteen percent of what was happening in any given lecture, but I got that. I got it because I’ve spent years afraid that if I didn’t have the resume that matched my “full potential” I would be a disappointment to my parents. At major junctures of my life I would consider doing something that didn’t conform to the Children-of-Nigerians Handbook. But ultimately I would always take the expected path because there was nothing powerful enough to justify the discomfort.

Baby Steps That moment of understanding didn’t change everything, but it was a start. The clouds of apathy and skepticism that hung over my head when I entered JG 107 began to dissipate. Eventually, I found myself looking forward to the show, some weeks even working up the courage to be a featured cast member. I realize the show was necessary to stand a chance against the two decades prejudices, bad pedagogy, and general apathy that I dragged with me into the audience every week. Slowly your monologues moved from opaque to translucent. * Complete Brain Takeover* Carl Wylie got me. He has set up camp in the back of my mind, and I welcome his company in a way a former me never would have. Lessons learned in this course have officially taken over my brain. Eben, I’ve even started an alternative set of anti-arithmetic outlines. I even tried used consilience in a conversation. Mind you that single word pretty much killed the conversation. I didn’t read them well enough, not the right time, place, or audience. The point is that it happened. “The thing that is Freud” and “the thing that is Marx” are phrases that are now so firmly implanted in my head and now so much more influential in the way I think that I had the audacity to speak my version of those phrases aloud. I really should have known better (It has taken me full three months to really warm up to the idea). This “lighter” class forced me to reexamine myself, my peers and as you may say, demands some “heavy lifting.” * My Next Step* So what I do now? Just unncomfortable enough in my own skin and both willing and capable of changing—of influencing change. I have decided to read. Properly. I think it is a sensible and reasonable thing to do. I still don’t know what my own practice will look like. I have no idea who my network will require. I don’t know what issue will command my creativity and compel me to jeopardize making my parents proud. And I won’t so long as I can’t even recognize myself. Correction: my selves. Carl Wylie showed me that. I don’t know what the results will yield, but I think a second look at who my heroes are or should be will help me create a path for how to start my own practice. Because that is what I want. I truly do.

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TWikiGuestSecondEssay 1 - 02 Jun 2015 - Main.SuzanAbebe
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-- SuzanAbebe - 02 Jun 2015

 
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THE FEAR OF FAILURE, UNDERNEATH IT ALL.

The 90’s.

Unconventional is the term I use to describe my parent’s decision to leave Ethiopia to come to the U.S. in 1993. At the time, I was three, my brother five, and my sister seven. Our home was also filled with our uncles who were all in their twenties. My dad was the oldest of ten boys, so at various points he had his brothers live with us to attend school in the capital city instead of them foregoing education in the villages where they grew up. My dad decided that he needed better than he had for his owns kids, so he and my mom left and we stayed behind. It would be two-and-a-half years later that my brother, sister and I finally reunited with my parents in Washington D.C. I often thought my dad was an impulsive person, and was angry with him for the deep-rooted feelings of abandonment my siblings and I felt from being separated from him and my mom. But over the years I have learned that he is calculated, fearless, and proceeds forcefully to get what he needs for his family. He is the high risk, high reward type of individual that I wish that I could instinctively be.

The Nation’s Capital.

My mom had a distant relative in Maryland they were supposed to stay with until they found an apartment of their own. Though my father’s pride had them out of there less than a week after their arrival. They slept in various train stations in the D.C. area until my dad earned enough money from his fast-food chain gig where he quickly became manager, to get an apartment. My mom eventually found a nanny position for a wealthy Jewish family. I don’t know all of the details regarding my parent’s struggles during those years, but I know life was unimaginably difficult for them. My siblings and I arrived to a tiny studio apartment, but over the years our living quarters steadily got larger. Despite not being educated “professionals” – an opportunity they instead saved for their kids – my parents became homeowners, small business owners, and money saving machines.

My Practice?

I got a nice dose of humble pie by my dad when I went home for winter break. I could not wait to tell him that being a Columbia law student means my first gig out of law school could be $160,000 a year plus a bonus in big law! I was waiting for those kinds of smiles a father gives when he is proud of his child. I’m not sure why I even thought that, anyone who knows my dad knows he doesn’t smile unless forced. My friends have always been petrified of him that they prepped themselves to come over my house. Although I know he loves me because of his actions, especially in the moments where he is scared to lose me. For example, one time I got really sick in college, and the University thought I had the swine flu. My dad dropped everything and cut a commute of 2 hours in half to pick me up. His face that day captured his love for me no words could define. Anyways, my dad looked at me with one of his looks that make me feel silly. He said, “What is this work to make a stranger rich that is making you feel proud. You are going to open up your own practice, focus on subjects that will make you in demand.” I knew I had aspirations of opening my own practice, but that always seemed like a long-term goal. I wondered why it was so obvious to him that it could happen immediately. After our conversation, I initially wrote off my dad’s comments as typical of an immigrant mindset about owning a business as the ultimate goal. I was still so caught up that big law didn’t avail itself to just anyone.

Back to Fear.

After winter break, I began this course, where for the first time the same notions my father preaches, are reiterated by a law professor. Sad to say but it gave the idea more legitimacy for me. Earlier in the semester, you taught us about the nuts over bolts method of running a practice, and told us that your monthly goal was ensuring that your nuts stayed lower than your bolts. That same class you looked out at our class, looked at most of us in our eyes, and said that you can feel how scared we all were.

The more I analyze why it is I am so apprehensive about beginning my own practice straight out of law school, the more I realize it is largely because of that fear you picked up on. It doesn’t feel like my experience is the all or nothing kind my parents faced to make life better for us. For me, it feels like I can enter the pawn shop, get my 160k and have my community say, “hey that Abebe kid has really made something of herself” even if I am miserable OR take the road of uncertainty to being my own boss but potentially create something good. I am scared about starting my own practice, because I am scared about failure. More specifically, I am scared about hiring people who will depend on me for their livelihood. I am scared about not knowing enough and advising clients on matters that could make or break them. I am scared that I am losing my Amharic speaking capabilities and predict that a good portion of my clientele will probably be Ethiopian who will need that. I’m still not at the point where I have decided just exactly what I will do, but I think confronting this apprehensions is a start. I’m also tailoring the rest of my time in law school to gain the most amount of practical experience that I can get.


Revision 5r5 - 15 Jun 2017 - 20:01:15 - DavidManadom
Revision 4r4 - 16 May 2017 - 00:26:20 - JustinMaffett
Revision 3r3 - 15 Apr 2016 - 23:14:40 - WendyCai
Revision 2r2 - 01 Apr 2016 - 17:02:33 - EmiL
Revision 1r1 - 02 Jun 2015 - 05:16:40 - SuzanAbebe
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