Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Practice (of Law) Makes (Im)perfect

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Total Black: $429.45
Total Red: $230,417.50

A few days ago one of the artists with the Recession Art Sale forwarded me an email she had received from someone interested in buying art.  It had all the classic spam qualities: miscapitalized words, an undeliverable “reply to” address, and so on, but I thought, “who knows?” and figured I’d give it a try.  Well, I almost got defrauded out of nearly two thousand dollars.  Not sure how the scheme would have worked because the spammer wanted to send us a certified check in return for the work.  I suppose there would have been some scammer’s way to make money.  I started feeling a bit more unsure about the transaction as we went back and forth.  I was given an address in Connecticut that didn’t exactly exist.  Plus the address given in the email included “USA” in it.  Americans don’t put USA after their addresses.  So I did a bit of google searching and, thanks to the Art News Blog, I dodged that freight train.

A comical moment occurred from my encounter with the spammer though, and it helped me see how left-brained I’ve become.  In his initial email, the spammer wrote, “Please send me some images of painting, i need to get two Landscape.”  You can see how even the language and spelling raised an eyebrow.  But I decided to pursue it.  When I selected the images to send him, I made sure to get him “landscape” images.  Except in my mind, “landscape” referred to the direction of the painting, i.e., horizontal and not vertical, just how a word document can be changed to “landscape” and it becomes a longer rather than taller document.  It was only by chance that the images I selected actually were of landscapes.  When I later realized my mistake it brought a big smile to my face.  I’ve become so “lawyerly” these past few years and this example summed it up.

We’re nearing the end of the Recession Art Sale.  Friday will be our last day.  It’s been an interesting experience and it’s completely recharged my art-appreciation batteries.  When I lived and studied in Europe, any chance I had I’d visit museums to take in the paintings.  I bought so many art print postcards that now my friends receive them as random messages from me just saying hello.  Upon returning to the States to begin law school, however, much of my interest in anything but law died.  Despite living in Washington D.C., with some of the best museums, most of which are free, I only visited two in four years.  And despite working for a law firm whose ID card would get me in to the Museum of Modern Art for free, I never went.  Despite working in Europe, it took a visit from my sister and mother to get me to tour the sites.

I got into quite a tete-a-tete today on a legal gossip blog: Above the Law.  We were debating the expectations of young lawyers upon beginning work with large corporate law firms.  I thought that law firms have backpedaled over the years, especially regarding mentoring and the taking under of wings.  Others claimed it never happened and that all large law firm associates have irrational expectations.  Associates from large law firms are the whipping post for other lawyers.  Some of it deserved; most not.  Oftentimes its mere sour grapes.  Nonetheless, today’s banter got me thinking about the study and then the practice of law and how much it seems to sap people’s souls.

I enjoy the law.  I stayed in school an additional year to earn a Masters degree in Philosophy and I wrote my thesis on law.  I also love the practice of law and can generally find ways to get interested in even its most boring aspects.  But I don’t understand how it seems to either consume or repel those involved with it.  There’s very little gray room.  And if you do enjoy it, you have little time, energy, or interest for other activities.  I don’t think a read a work of fiction throughout my four years in graduate school.  Yet I majored in comparative literature in college.  If it weren’t for subway commutes these past three years, I don’t think I would have read much during my time in New York either.

It’s just odd.  And something I hope this project will help me address.  Perhaps lawyers are a bit too one-dimensional.  Being around multi-dimensional art has helped me approach the practice of law from a new angle.

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