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|So, What do You do for a Living?,
Michigan Bar Journal, March, 2006
|FIRAC: An ELEMENTary approach
to legal reasoning
TO BE OR NOT TO BE [A LAWYER], THAT IS THE QUESTION
Hamlet wasn't trying to decide whether to become a lawyer. But he could have been. His soliloquy posed the question of whether it was nobler to passively endure the ills of the world or actively fight against them. It's a question we all struggle with at one time or another and, for some of us, the answer influences our career choice. Do you want to fight injustice and change the world for the better? Becoming a lawyer will improve your ability to do so.
There are, of course, many other reasons people decide to be, or not to be, lawyers. However, all too often, they later discover their perception of "being a lawyer" is significantly different than the reality. This is my attempt to provide a glimpse of the reality by highlighting what I consider to be the ten best and the worst reasons for becoming a lawyer.
TOP 10 REASONS NOT TO BE A LAWYER
10. You have to wear appropriate attire in court.
These top ten lists are obviously subjective. Some people enjoy getting dressed up. Not me. I'm a T shirt and jeans person.
The general requirement for courtroom appearances is conservative business dress. Specifics are left to the reasonable discretion of the judge. Male attorneys have been held in contempt for not wearing a coat and tie, for wearing a coat and a necklace with a gold medallion, a bandanna, or a clerical collar around the neck instead of a fabric tie, and for wearing a turban. Female attorneys have been found in contempt for wearing a dress with a hemline approximately five inches above the knee, a pantsuit, a sweater, and a "freakish" hat.
Although most of these contempt convictions were overturned on appeal, there is little to suggest courts are about to join the current trend toward casual attire. But it's all relative. Compared to a black robe and powdered wig, I suppose a coat and tie is casual.
9. You must be admitted to a Bar.
I'm not talking about the kind of bar college students are most familiar with. You cannot practice law or even call yourself a lawyer until you have been admitted to a state Bar. Among other things, you must graduate from a reputable law school, establish good moral character, and pass a competency test, known as a bar exam.
The bar exam is not a national test. Every state's law is somewhat different so each state has its own exam. Therefore, you cannot get a license to practice law in Michigan until you have passed the Michigan bar exam and getting a license to practice law in California requires passing the California bar exam.
I've taken and passed the bar exams for two states. The first was given over a period of two days in a university dormitory cafeteria. It was during the middle of a heat wave and the cafeteria was not air conditioned. At one point, the temperature exceeded 100 degrees. Several people fainted. I figured that was just part of the test -- if they couldn't take the heat they shouldn't be a lawyer.
The second bar exam I took went on for four days, six hours a day. The first day was devoted to the "multi-state" bar exam, a six-hour long multiple choice test. The next three days were spent writing case analyses. When it was finally over, a group of us briefly discussed going out for a celebratory drink. But 24 grueling hours of test-taking had left us exhausted. Besides, "bar" was not evoking a positive reaction just then.
8. You can be sued for malpractice.
We all make mistakes. But if you make a mistake that harms a client, you will have to accept responsibility for what you did or didn't do. Of course, that's only fair. Lawyers file lawsuits against businesses, doctors, and others when they make mistakes. Clients should be able to sue their lawyers when they make mistakes.
Fear can be a great motivator. The threat of liability hanging over your head provides an incentive to do your job right. It's also an incentive to purchase malpractice insurance -- or to figure out a way to shift the blame for your mistakes to someone else.
Conduct which constitutes malpractice may also violate the Rules of Professional Conduct. The bad news is that a serious ethical violation can result in the temporary suspension or even permanent loss of an attorney's license to practice law. The good news is you don't need a law license to be elected to political office or run a business.
7. People will ask you for free advice.
The only thing lawyers have to sell is their time and expertise. That means every time you give free advice you are, in effect, reducing the amount of your paycheck. Doctors frequently find themselves in the same situation.
There is a story about a doctor and lawyer at a party. They were engaged in conversation when a guest approached and asked the doctor for some free medical advice. Not wanting to appear impolite, the doctor answered the question. After the guest had left, the doctor resumed his conversation with the lawyer. "I noticed no one has come up and asked you for free advice. How do you keep people from doing that?"
"Every time someone asks me for advice I send them a bill," the lawyer replied.
The doctor thought that was an excellent idea and, the next day, sent the guest a bill for $75. Two days later, the doctor received a bill from the lawyer for $150.
Of course, there are people who need legal help but cannot afford a lawyer. I encourage you to donate your services to them. But when you are dealing with people who can afford it, bill them. My experience has been they feel free to ignore free advice. I suspect it has something to do with the attitude that "you get what you pay for."
6. You will learn others' secrets.
An attorney needs to know the facts to do his or her job properly. To encourage clients to tell their attorneys the truth, the confidentiality of attorney-client communications is protected by law. That means you will have to keep what your clients tell you to yourself. They may reveal information you could use to your advantage -- but you can't use it. They may reveal personal information which can be disturbing and depressing -- but you can't share it. Knowing others' secrets can be a heavy burden and you will find you sometimes have to carry it alone.
And always remember that confidential is not the same as truthful. Despite the privilege of confidentiality, clients may be too ashamed or afraid to tell the truth, they may figure they can get away with lying, or they may have convinced themselves their story is true when in fact it is not. What they don't seem to realize is that by withholding the truth they are only making it harder for their attorney to represent them. As terrible as it may sound, an attorney should never assume a client has been completely truthful. In the practice of law, what you don't know can hurt you.
5. So you can win arguments with your significant other and friends.
Several years ago a male student thanked me for what he had learned in my course. "For the first time," he said "I'm winning arguments with my girlfriend." Coincidentally, a few months later, a female student asked me for advice about how to get her boyfriend to stop arguing like a lawyer. I told her about the time I thought I was having a conversation with my wife and she suddenly retorted "Stop cross examining me!"
Lawyers use an adversarial style of communication. It can be an extremely effective form of communication in the courtroom and when interacting with people who are comfortable with that style, such as other lawyers. But it is not always the best style to use in personal relationships. As a lawyer, if you win, your client wins. In a personal relationship, if you win, your relationship may lose.
4. Because you want fame, fortune, and power.
I wish I could comment on this from personal experience, but I can't -- and that should tell your something. If you want fame, you will have a better chance if you pursue a career as an actor, athlete, musician, politician, or even a businessperson. There are lawyers who have achieved celebrity status, but generally not as lawyers.
And I've never really understood why people think lawyers have power. I don't make the laws, politicians, judges, and government agencies do. In court, I don't find the defendant guilty or innocent, the judge or jury does. When I am representing a client, I don't make the decisions, my client does. The only power I have is comes from my ability to reason and persuade. If people won't listen to me, I have no power over them at all.
Although becoming a lawyer is unlikely to result in fame and power, it could very well be the path to fortune. Some lawyers make tremendous amounts of money. My only caution is that money should not be your sole reason for becoming a lawyer. I know it's trite, but there are things that are more important than money; things which all the money in the world can't buy.
A high school student who had wanted to be a lawyer for as long as he could remember once sought my advice on how achieve his goal. I asked him why he wanted to be a lawyer. "So I can make a lot of money," he replied. I tried to convince him that was not a good reason but he wouldn't listen. He graduated from college, attended one of the top ranked law schools in the country, and landed a job with a large, well-known law firm making big bucks. Two years later he was so dissatisfied he quit and became a public defender. He took a huge pay cut. There were some weeks he didn't get paid at all. But he was happier than he had ever been. Sometimes less is more.
3. You will work long hours.
Sixty hours or more a week at the office is not unusual. If you don't get everything done, no problem. You will be encouraged to take unfinished work home with you. One attorney I knew always took work with him on vacation. His wife and children would go out and play while he would remain in their hotel room working.
"Sweatshop," "brutal," and "grueling" are words commonly used to describe the working conditions of new associates in law firms. According to a 1998 study of large law firms conducted by the National Association of Law Placement, 33 percent of new associates leave within two years and 43 percent depart by their third year. The percentages are higher for women and minorities.
There is an old saying that by the time a trial attorney turns 50 he or she has been married three times and is an alcoholic. This is an exaggeration, but it contains a kernel of truth. The desire for a better quality of life is one of the main reasons lawyers leave private practice. They are seeking a better balance between their professional and personal lives, including more time for themselves and to spend with family and friends.
2. You will be blamed for all the problems in the world.
Ask anyone. The odds are they will tell you the world would be a much better place without lawyers. It's never the jury's fault or the judge's fault or the law's fault or the individual's fault or society's fault. It's always the fault of those damn lawyers.
This attitude has been around for a long time. In William Shakespeare's play Henry VI, a character by the name of Cade makes a pitch to overthrow the government and describes how much better everyone's life would be if he were King. Dick the Butcher, one of Cade's supporters, throws out this suggestion: "First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."
Whether Dick's statement was intended to deride or compliment lawyers is a matter of continuing debate. However, both sides seem to agree on one thing -- lawyers are often obstacles. An obstacle is a problem when it is preventing you from getting something you want. But it is a solution when it is protecting you from others' attempts to take what they want.
1. You will hear lots of lawyer jokes.
I have always found it interesting that people who think it is inappropriate to tell jokes about racial and ethnic groups, blondes, and gays and lesbians have absolutely no problem with lawyer jokes.
What's wrong with lawyer jokes? Lawyers don't think they're funny and other people don't think they're jokes.
How many lawyer jokes are there? Just two. The rest are true.
Believe it or not, I read the other day that terrorists had invaded the Los Angeles hotel at which the annual American Bar Association meeting was being held and took everyone inside hostage. The police sent in a negotiator to talk to the terrorists. "We want ten million dollars, a police escort to the airport and an airplane to take us to a destination we will reveal only to the pilot," he was told. "The clock starts running now. Until you meet our demands, we will release one lawyer every hour."
By the way, do you know the difference between terrorists and lawyers? Terrorists have sympathizers.
People are always complaining there are too many lawyers in the United States. But most of the ideas I have heard for reducing their numbers won't work. For example, one person suggested: "Feed ‘em to the sharks." That won't work. Sharks won't attack lawyers. It's a matter of professional courtesy.
Besides, I think it's a lot of fuss about nothing. There is no way we will ever have too many lawyers. Nature has seen to it that every lawyer is genetically programmed with a natural form of birth control -- his or her personality.
TOP 10 REASONS TO BE A LAWYER
10. For the money.
I only said money isn't everything; I didn't say it was nothing. As a lawyer, you will probably always be able to earn enough to survive and, perhaps, a lot more.
How much can you earn? It depends, in part, upon the type of job you take. In general, attorneys who work for law firms and businesses earn significantly more than public service and government attorneys. According to a 1999 survey conducted by The National Law Journal, entry-level salaries for attorneys working for Legal Aid organizations ranged from $22,000 to $30,000 per year. At the other extreme, large law firms were starting new associates at $60,000 to $107,000 per year.
Dramatic increases in starting salaries have occurred within the past year. Law school enrollment has been flat, which has reduced the supply of new lawyers, while the booming economy has increased demand. The result is that some firms are now offering salaries and bonuses totaling up to $170,000 to attract top law school graduates. Keep in mind, however, that to get this pay you will have to pay the price -- long hours plus any associated emotional costs.
9. You will improve your communication skills.
As we enter the so-called information age, the ability to communicate is becoming a survival skill. The better you can read, write, speak, and listen, the greater your competitive advantage. Nowhere is this more true than in the legal profession.
As an attorney, the bulk of your professional life will be devoted to communicating with others, including clients, other attorneys, judges, jurors, and witnesses. You will write more than a best selling author, ask more questions than an inquisitive six-year old, listen more than a psychiatrist, talk more than a politician, argue more than a philosopher, and read more than an editor.
In the process, you will discover the truisms of effective communication: "Words count." "Easy reading is damn hard writing." "He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever." "Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens." "Never assume that what you said is what was heard." "Use soft words and hard arguments." "Reading without reflecting is like swallowing without chewing." With each revelation, your ability to comprehend others and express your thoughts will improve.
The value of the communication skills you develop will extend well beyond your professional life as a lawyer. Many lawyers end up in non-law jobs. If you go looking, you will possess one of the most important skills employers look for. And the better you can communicate with your family, friends, and all the other people you interact with on a daily basis, the better your personal life will be.
8. You will find passion.
I have seen too many people going through life feeling that something is missing. Often, what is missing is passion. The people who are happiest and accomplish the most are those who have a passion for what they are doing.
It is almost impossible to become a lawyer and not acquire a passion for justice. More than any other profession, you will be exposed to people who have suffered injustices. You will get to know many of them personally. You will feel what they feel. And you will come to understand it is not a game. They are real people and what you do will affect their lives, sometimes in dramatic ways. Their cause will become your cause and you will become a passionate representative of their rights.
Passion is a source of strength and energy and creativity. Harnessed and channeled properly, it will bring out the best in you and inspire others.
7. It will increase your self-confidence.
There is a psychological experiment that has been repeated many times with the same result. An unsuspecting subject is placed with a group of people who appear to be strangers but in fact are part of the experiment. A simple question is asked, such as "What is 2 +2?" Each person is then asked to give the answer, leaving the subject until last. If every person before the subject gives the wrong answer, the subject will usually agree with the group and give the wrong answer as well.
As a lawyer, you are likely to find yourself in a similar situation. Your client will be asking you for an answer. You may be surrounded by other attorneys and even judges who are saying the answer is different than what you think. What answer will you give?
There is a common misconception among non-lawyers that there is a clear-cut answer to every legal question. Nothing could be farther from the truth. That's why we have lawsuits -- because lawyers can disagree about the answer to a question. That's why we have appellate courts -- because even judges can disagree.
It is a given, not just in law but in life, that people will disagree with you. Some people will do anything to avoid controversy. Lawyers cannot. That means part of being a lawyer is learning to trust your own judgment. You are going to have to make up your own mind based upon your research and your interpretation of the law and the facts. When others disagree with your answer, you will have to stand up for what you believe and provide evidence and reasons to back it up. Each time you are able to convince others your answer is correct, your self-confidence will get a little boost.
Interestingly, your self-confidence will increase even when you lose an argument. When that happens, you will find yourself questioning your position. You will go back and check your thinking, looking for things you may have missed and defects in your logic. If you don't find anything, you will remain convinced you were correct. You may even try to prove it by filing a lawsuit, appealing a court's decision, or publishing an article.
If you discover a mistake, your initial reaction will probably be "Darn" (or some other four letter word), followed by thoughts of the consequences. But once you are done kicking yourself, you will concentrate on identifying the lessons you have learned. You will promise yourself never to make the same mistake again, confident that next time you will do better.
As you gain confidence in your own judgment, you will develop the strength to say and do what you think is right even in the face of adversity, peer pressure, and potential embarrassment. You may actually come to enjoy disagreement because it is a way to test your beliefs. But don't get arrogant. You could be wrong. But that is one of the benefits of self-confidence -- it gives you the strength to admit when you are wrong and learn from your mistakes.
6. You will learn to focus on issues.
Law is all about questions. One of my biggest frustrations as a teacher is that so many of my students just want to know the "right" answer. The trouble is, the answer depends upon the question. Ask the wrong question and, no matter how good your answer, it will be wrong.
Here is an example. There is a Michigan statute commonly known as the Security Deposit Act. One section of that act states that the maximum security deposit a landlord can charge for a rental unit is one-and-one-half times the monthly rent. Assume you are starting a business and rent a store for $1000 per month. Your landlord charges a security deposit of $2000. Has the Security Deposit Act been violated?
If your answer is "Yes," I suspect the question you asked was "Is the security deposit more than one and one-half times the monthly rent?" Since the $2000 security deposit is twice the $1,000 monthly rent, you concluded the Security Deposit Act was violated.
Perfectly logical -- but wrong. It's the wrong answer because the question was wrong. The right question is "Is the store you are renting a `rental unit'?" "Rental unit" is defined in the Security Deposit Act as a place used for residential purposes. Since you are renting the store for business purposes, it is not a "rental unit." That means the statutory limit on the amount of the security deposit does not apply to your situation. Thus, the security deposit charged by your landlord does not violate the Security Deposit Act.
Besides helping you identify the right question, learning to focus on issues will help in another way. Imagine two attorneys have waged a strenuous, often highly emotional battle during the course of a trial. After the judgment is rendered, they shake hands and congratulate each other on a job well done. People have often asked me how they can do that. The answer is simple: it was not a personal fight; it was a fight about issues.
The next time you observe an argument, pay attention to what the participants are saying and how they are reacting. You will notice some people attack their opponent personally. They say things that are intended to hurt or blame. If their opponent strikes back in the same way, the argument quickly devolves into a "p***ing" match. When the argument ends, nothing has been resolved and bad feelings remain. Those bad feelings may prompt the participants to seek revenge in subtle and not so subtle ways.
On the other hand, if at least one participant sticks to the issues, the argument plays out very differently. Personal attacks go unanswered and the argument keeps returning to the issues. Emotions calm down and the argument evolves into a rational discussion. This increases the likelihood the problem will be solved. But even if it isn't, each participant will leave with a better understanding of the other's position. They still may not agree with each other, but are usually able to "agree to disagree," let it go, and move on.
Focusing on the issues will improve your ability to deal effectively and constructively with all types of people in all kinds of situations. When all is said and done, the answer may not be what you wanted, but it will probably be one you can accept.
5. It will change the way you see the world.
While studying and practicing law, you will be exposed to the personal stories of a great many people. You will see people at their best and worst. You will see innocent people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. You will see smart people who have done dumb things. You will see people who sincerely believe the law is wrong and violating it was the right thing to do. You will see amoral and ruthless people who have no qualms about taking advantage of or harming others. And eventually you will come to understand that the world is not black and white but full of various shades of gray, that right and wrong is not always clear cut and things are often more complicated than they first appear, and that people always have reasons for what they do, reasons that make perfect sense to them.
There is an old saying among trial lawyers: "There is no absolute truth, just different versions of reality." Different people see the world differently. As a lawyer, you will come to see the world through many different peoples' eyes. To represent your client effectively, you will have to understand his or her point of view. But, in addition, you will also have to understand your opponent's point of view, the witnesses' points of view, the judge's point of view, and the jurors' points of view.
Looking at the world from so many different perspectives will invariably affect your view. You will pick up on little things, see how they form patterns, and notice how those patterns come together and form a big picture. You will become more open-minded and learn not to assume you are right, to question, and look beneath the surface. You will learn empathy and become more tolerant and better able to accept people for who they are. You will learn your problems are not so bad compared to others'. In short, you will see things others often overlook. And what you see will shape your philosophy of life.
4. You will make better choices and decisions.
The quality of a decision is a function of two things: the information you have and your ability to analyze it.
When I started law school, I anticipated I would be learning law. I discovered it was not so simple. Laws cover every facet of our lives. As a result, the study of law introduces you to and requires learning something about a wide variety of non-law subjects -- from business to the hard and soft sciences to the liberal arts. I graduated from law school knowing a lot about law and a little about a lot of other things.
The advancement of human knowledge has necessitated increased occupational specialization. One of the consequences is that breadth of knowledge has been sacrificed for depth; acquiring expertise in one field comes at the expense of ignorance in others. While the field of law is not exempt from the trend toward specialization, its inherent interdisciplinary nature counteracts the loss of breadth that typically accompanies the pursuit of depth. The result is that lawyers often possess a more diverse and comprehensive information base than their contemporaries.
The study of law also sharpens critical thinking, reasoning, and analytical skills. You will become more objective and logical and better able to recognize the myriad factors that can affect an outcome and understand their interrelationships. This will improve your ability to predict the consequences of alternative choices.
Life is full of choices. We make them every day. Now don't get me wrong. I have made my share of bad decisions and will no doubt make more in the future. But I also have no doubt my study of law significantly shifted the balance in my favor.
3. You will learn your rights and responsibilities.
Life is not fair. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes crime pays and hard work does not. Sometimes it has everything to do with power and nothing to do with reason. Sometimes what you look like and who you know is more important than who you are and what you can do.
I graduated from college with an undergraduate degree in Business Administration. Despite excellent grades, work experience, and strong recommendations, I couldn't find a job. I got interview after interview because of my credentials, and rejection after rejection because of my beard. Frustrated to the point of obstinacy I went to law school to learn my rights. Once there, I discovered the law prohibited employers from discriminating on the basis of sex, race, religion, and certain other protected characteristics -- but it was not illegal to discriminate solely on the basis of facial hair. Ironically, after graduating from law school I was recruited by a firm sight unseen on the basis of my record, but not offered a position because of my beard.
I have since learned that's life. Becoming a lawyer did not and cannot make it fair. Laws do not address every inequity and injustice. People get away with violating laws. And sometimes, s*** happens. But it gave me the knowledge and skills to make life fairer. There have been a multitude of little things, like utilizing the Michigan "scanner law" to collect $2 in damages from a grocery store because the price marked on a box of wheat crackers was $.20 less than the price I was charged. There have been a few big things, such as successfully derailing a frivolous personal injury lawsuit. And there have been a lot of things in between.
Of course, even now, after more than two decades as an attorney, I do not know all of my legal rights. But I am aware of many more than most people. I also have a greater awareness of the flip side of the coin -- my legal responsibilities arising out of others' rights. I have made good use of that knowledge, not just professionally but personally, to protect myself and my loved ones in the course of daily living. I am better able to anticipate and avoid problems before they can occur. And, when I can't, I am in a better position to take remedial action because I am a lawyer.
As financially and emotionally rewarding as my "victories" have been, there is one additional benefit that is arguably worth even more. Being a lawyer has given me the perspective needed to accept the inherent and inevitable unfairness of life. There is a time to fight and a time to walk away and I have learned how and when to do both. Now, instead of dwelling on the past and bemoaning what should have been, I am able to concentrate on the future and what can be.
2. You will have options others do not.
Approximately one of every 250 people in the United States is a lawyer. Some argue this statistic shows there are too many lawyers. But there is another way of looking at it. Only lawyers can practice law. By becoming a lawyer, you will have the option of doing something 249 people cannot.
Being a member of the legal profession will open up even more options. If you want to practice, you can do so as a sole practitioner, as a member of a law firm, or as a business or government employee. If you want to specialize, your choices are virtually unlimited -- from admiralty law to zoning law. Or perhaps you aspire to be a judge. Or a law professor. Or a reporter of legal news. Or to work for an organization that serves the legal profession.
Although most lawyers work for someone else, the option to hang out your own shingle is a safety net many people do not have. After several years of working for a law firm, one of my friends wanted to escape the pressure and stress. He quit his job, moved to the country, and started a one person practice out of his home. He limited his practice to appellate work, used a public law library, and typed his own documents on his computer. This simplified his life and reduced his costs considerably. No secretary to pay. No office or law library to maintain. He could work when he wanted and spend time with his family when he wanted.
Another advantage of being a lawyer is that you can opt not to be one. It is not necessary to be a lawyer to reap the benefits of legal training. Every profession and organization operates within a legal environment. Coupling a legal background with expertise in another field has a synergistic effect. Your knowledge of the law and legal system will give you an edge over competitors and enable you to perform a non-law job more effectively.
For example, in addition to being a lawyer, I am also a licensed builder. The licensing exam had two parts -- a practical part and a law part. Obviously, being a lawyer helped me with the law part. But the benefit goes well beyond that. There are many other ways law interacts with building -- contracts, service liability, employment law, property law, safety regulations, insurance, and the list goes on.
And if there comes a day when you want nothing more to do with law? The underlying knowledge, background, perspective, and skills you acquired on the way to becoming a lawyer will enhance your performance in almost any area you choose. Among other things, lawyers have become best selling authors, television hosts and commentators, talent agents, and presidents of businesses.
Your future success will depend upon your ability to adapt. We live in a rapidly changing world. Individuals change over time. Most people change careers -- not jobs, but careers -- at least three to four times during their life. I can't think of too many other professions which prepare you for these transitions better than law.
1. You can make a difference.
We are a nation of laws. They affect everyone at the national, state, and local levels. As a result, law is one of the few professions where a single person may get a chance to do something that impacts every person in the United States. I suspect every lawyer has dreamed, at one time or another, of arguing a landmark case before the U.S. Supreme Court and being the catalyst for a dramatic precedent with nationwide ramifications. While few lawyers ever get that chance, similar opportunities arise relatively frequently at the state and local level.
But it is about more than high-profile and precedent setting cases. As a lawyer, you will be presented with daily opportunities to help those in need. Good people sometimes find themselves in difficult, even desperate, circumstances. Everyone makes mistakes and many deserve a second chance. The weak and disadvantaged need protection from the rich and powerful. Deserving individuals become victims of incompetence and ignorance or fall through bureaucratic cracks.
Your intervention and assistance can be the key to leveling the playing field, successfully navigating the procedural terrain and, ultimately, securing their substantive rights. What you do -- or don't do -- will change peoples' futures. Occasionally, their very survival may hinge upon it.
Of all the things I have done in my life, using my legal expertise to help others is among the most satisfying. Helping one person may seem like a small accomplishment. But all those ones can add up to a big difference.
To be or not to be a lawyer? That is the question I asked and answered many years ago. Today, the question I ask is: "Do I ever regret going to law school and becoming a lawyer?" The answer is a definite NO. When you get to be my age, there are times you find yourself looking back, wondering what you could or should have done differently. If I had the chance to do it over again, there are some things I would change. But going to law school and becoming a lawyer is not one of them.