When I arrived to the law school in the fall of 1985, my mind was a jumble.
One of the high points at the law school for me was the day that a certain law school professor stretched out each of his arms as if he were on a cross with the index fingers pointing out and said, “An attorney must have the ability to hold two separate and equally valid points in his head at the same time.” I thought to myself that he was well familiar with the jumble.
The first reason that I love the law is that it provides a framework to weigh and evaluate information. There is no question that science or architecture or construction or any discipline teaches you an art and a structure. But I am forever grateful for the tools I developed in law school.
The second reason that I love the law is that the lawyer solves puzzles containing layers of issues. It takes me back to my senior year in high school where the English teacher would read for his class at a certain moment in the year the short story, “The Onion” that beautifully described the layers of the onion.
I greatly enjoy following through on the research trail of a question to conclusion. By taking advantage of the tools at my disposal, I can thoroughly prepare and present a case.
As a student of history, I have always enjoyed researching an issue. In history, it is important to keep an eye out for the bias of the author and the date of the writing. But as an attorney, I am able to delve into intellectual questions that have practical applications.
The third reason that I love the law is because of its majesty and grandeur. It is interesting to me how even the greatest minds can put themselves before the law. Even Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., the celebrated jurist, wrote a much-derided opinion affirming the right to sterilize certain people. The greatest attorneys are the most humble.
The fourth reason I love the law is that the court room is a place of justice and safety. The attorneys and the judge behave in a manner respectful of their office so that especially in the federal court you feel as though you are in a church. It is possible to greatly disagree on a point but to nevertheless be civil.
The fifth reason I love the law is that it is so imperfect. Many people believe that the immigration and criminal justice systems are broken. Nevertheless, the American system of justice is the best in the world. I love how the law provides a mechanism for growth and development.
The sixth reason I love the law is that I feel that I am a servant to the people. Once at a conference a government attorney explained to me that I should seek a position in government. She was married to a judge and her former employer in state government now had a federal government position. She explained to me that my clients had no disposable income to pay me. I feel that every day I am able to seek justice to those people who most need help.
The seventh and final reason that I love the law is because you see the clash between good and evil; between true and false. The attorney may offer a well-presented case to the tribunal but there is no way to know the outcome of the case. I greatly enjoy that uncertainty and the satisfaction that comes from having done your best.