Bananas go to law school, too!


Wherein I discover I want to work for a law firm, not do PI work.

The title is half-kidding. Maybe not.

So, yesterday I spent the day/evening at the Queens courthouse with a program through the Courtroom Advocate Program -- specifically the Domestic Violence program. Without getting into too much detail (because even though they never specifically said "Don't post about this in your blog, moron" I assume it was implied), but it was disappointing and disillusioning. Essentially, me and my petitioner were there for 10 hours and walked out empty handed. We were trying to file for an order of protection against her ex-boyfriend. My supervisor was like "I never saw anything like that" in response the judges sarcastic and judgemental response to the complaint. Gosh, I wish I could be a little more detailed so y'all could understand my frustration but suffice to say I was FRUSTRATED.

In any event, after sitting and talking to this woman for 9 hours, I totally bonded with her and really WANTED to make everything better. Emotionally attached, definitely --- and then to, essentially, fail at the one thing I COULD actually do to help her kinda sucks.

So then I was thinking. Right now, I have no ability to emotionally distance myself from people I meet, especially people who need help. And, if I did public interest law, I would be working with people on a daily basis who need my help. And if I ever couldn't help them, I know I would go home and be upset and not be able to get it out of my head. I keep googling my petitioner's name and being like PLEASE GOD DO NOT SHOW UP IN THE NEWS. And if I have 50 people I worked for, then it would be the same.

Then people are like "whatever, you'll get over it and learn how to distance yourself." Which begs the question --- is that necessarily a good thing. I'm a mega-emotional person and, if for some 40+ hours a week I had to be entirely unemotional just to get through the day without crying, would that really make me a better person? Is it actually an Improvement To Self to be more of an empty shell of a person in order to do good work.

Well, when I put it that way, yes. Because that's selfless. But it also implies that if I DON'T do PI work there wouldn't be 50 people behind me hammering for my job. It's entirely self-congratulatory to think that I'm the only person who would want to do PI work; precisely the opposite -- a LOT of people are vying for the same underpaid, overworked positions. And I'm not going to pretend that I have these fabulous skills that would make me change the world. I'm great at making pasta sauce, but PI work isn't anything I'm naturally talented at.

And, say, I work for a law firm and do pro bono on the side. Even if it's one case. I know I WOULD get emotionally involved and, if anything, that would make me a better advocate in that case. Becuase I would have the emotional energy to get involved in a limited number of cases. And then I would still get the opportunity to use my newfound legal skills for Good and not entirely Evil without having to get all emotionally detached from my work. And I know I would be good at the repetitive, mindless tasks that come with being a young associate at a law firm -- I spent many a childhood hour copying the dictionary out by hand, for fun. So, really, Boring Law is right up my alley.

And, of course, I feel like a sell out. A horrible sell out who's too afraid of Being Sad to actually "change the world." Bah! Why didn't I just stay being a waitress? Or go to grad school for history. Both those things, wouldn't have such a Moral Quandry.