Law in Contemporary Society

Future Conflict

-- By DianaAvila - 22 Feb 2024


One of the first questions you’re asked when you’re young is “what do you want to be when you grow up?” And at that age, the sky's the limit. A lot of kids say things like astronauts, athletes, and even the president. And in all honesty, it all seems so “cool” and interesting too. There was never a game plan though. We just had dreams. But my dream job did not came as fast as others. It actually took a few years into elementary school.

Once the decision came, it was to be an attorney. I wouldn’t even be able to point out why or what made the decision for me. I’m pretty sure it was just something I ran with and set my mind on. But truly what did I know at that age? When I got around to sharing this, I always received the passive aggressive comments of “you have the attitude for it” or the typical “well you are good at arguing.” I was only about 8 and seeing that now, telling a kid that was mean.

Trauma Dictating

At first, wanting to be a lawyer was just a decision made by my younger self who just wanted to choose something. Then reality hit. As I started to grow, I began to understand the role of the criminal system in communities like mine. We were always being surveilled by the sheriffs and their K-9s. They conducted searches, arrested on campus, and just harassed us. Younger me knew at that moment. Being a criminal defense attorney was a way that I knew could help protect communities like mine whether it was through ardent defense or simply making the legal system accessible to those who did not understand it. Because I knew how hard it was to understand it or even to seek help. There are a million barriers between you and your justice. Yet I know this experience probably isn’t unique to me. I often think about how many of us have chosen our career paths from past experiences, traumas, etc. Many of the people who I have met that are pursuing “higher education,” have their reasons for pursuing their career. Somehow, our career paths have been “chosen” for us. We have allowed for personal experiences or community based issues to sway our decisions for the rest of our lives. And we somehow carry that weight.

Understanding the Motions

The issue with allowing my lived experiences to sway me was the very “hard blow” I took once I actually came to law school. This was the first time I actually understood the infinite possibilities that come with a law degree. That maybe for the first time I didn’t have to keep reliving my traumas to pursue a career. So now the question is what kind of attorney do I actually want to be? Every day since I have set foot on this campus I have learned something new whether it be in immigration advocacy or in white collar crime. It is literally limitless. But nobody prepared me for the identity crisis I would be going through at 25.

And when I say that, I don’t mean I regret coming or that I do not want to continue, but more so thinking about the future of my community, my own future, and all the “collateral damage” that may come with the career choices I make. In Law and Contemporary Society,, we are always grappling with what kind of attorney we want to be and whether following some kind of “standard” is even beneficial to us. But yet what does that standard even look like for me? Very few people like me make it to places like these and it’s almost like we’ve fought for our lives to do so. And that’s another complication in my process.

I find myself thinking and a sense of guilt always gets triggered. Will future me be upset that I followed a path that allowed me to live a life I would like to live? Or does the guilt of “letting home down” never go away? Ideally, I know I would want to be in a place of financial security because I know what insecurity is. Which means having to balance accessibility to clients and financial circumstances to avoid walking out of this place with debt and without a solution that would vastly impact that. Choosing a path that was not my planned one gives me the opportunity to take care of those I love in a different way. I would be able to provide and support. This seems like a great life, but it almost feels selfish.

On the other hand, it almost feels like a moral obligation. All those experiences that I went through just to put them on the back burner? Although I know that by myself I will not be able to dismantle over policing and the criminalization of people of color, I have always had faith in putting my small contribution into the bowl. It’s an obligation to my community to assure that they receive the ardent advocacy they receive after being failed time after time. Because I truly believe that the best advocates are those who actually understand us. As my time progresses in law school, it feels like I need to make a decision fast. Because truthfully two years fly. But realistically, can a decision like this really be made on a whim? Do I let myself finally choose something new that I am intrigued by and ignore the selfish feeling or do I choose what I already had planned and risk insecurity? One thing is for certain, I’m at a place where my identity as a future attorney is constantly molding and changing. All I could hope for is that somehow, some way I still become an attorney with integrity that finds a way to impact her community. Whether it be here or there, I just want to fulfill that need to help, but also to finally choose myself for once.

You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable. To restrict access to your paper simply delete the "#" character on the next two lines:

Note: TWiki has strict formatting rules for preference declarations. Make sure you preserve the three spaces, asterisk, and extra space at the beginning of these lines. If you wish to give access to any other users simply add them to the comma separated ALLOWTOPICVIEW list.


Webs Webs

r5 - 06 May 2024 - 17:31:40 - DianaAvila
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platform.
All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
All material marked as authored by Eben Moglen is available under the license terms CC-BY-SA version 4.
Syndicate this site RSSATOM