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I went to law school for two reasons, both dumb ones. First, I lost my job and thought I could find a good job as a lawyer and make more money. Second, I thought law would be fun because it included or intersected with what I was already interested in: politics, history, crime, and reading and watching movies about those subjects.
I was fortunate enough to get a law job. But law school ruined my interest in those subjects. Which is not in any way comparable to being unemployed and drowning in law school debt. But it sucks anyway.
By the time I took the bar exam, I never wanted to read anything again. From the cases I had to read in Property Law as a 1L to the half-page MBE questions and their answers, reading had been transformed from one of the great joys in my life into an instrument of torture. I seriously said to people after the bar exam, “I am never reading anything again unless I’m getting paid for it.”
That was a slight exaggeration, but it’s been 5 years since the bar exam, and I still shy away from books, preferring to read magazines, newspapers, and blogs. Maybe it’s because they are not large, brown, heavy, hardcover, and deady dull. Comic books about law seem to be an exception to my aversion to books.
Writing was also relegated to the “I only do it because I get paid” category. For a while I didn’t even bother to reply to email I’d get from friends, and since I don’t like talking on the phone (and video-chatting strikes me as kind of stupid) I retreated into a kind of splendid isolation.
There must have been a spark of affection for writing left, because eventually I asked Sam if I could write monthly here, and he foolishly said yes. Then he even more foolishly offered me a weekly spot. My recovery on the writing side of things has been moving slowly but surely.
Ruined: Movies and TV about law
This one’s not coming back. Courtroom dramas are so godawful in their utter disdain for (among many things) the rules of evidence that I can’t even be in the same room when one is on. When I hear, “Objection!” immediately followed by “Overruled!” I have to restrain myself from kicking in the TV screen. Thankfully, the Law and Order empire appears to finally have begun to fall apart. (I also can’t watch war movies since I served three years in the Army.) So it’s mostly football, baseball, and kids’ movies for me.
As a kid I was fascinated by politics. I remember being an avid TIME magazine reader when I was 12. If studying history as an undergrad made politicians seem cynical, a law degree just makes then completely insufferable. While I think lawyers can be helpful in educating laypersons about politics, I cannot watch political speeches or debates. I watched about 5 minutes of the vice presidential debate last fall before I ran screaming from the room. It’s one thing to represent a client that you don’t particularly admire, but no one expects lawyers to only represent saints. Politicians, on the other hand, have to try to convince people that they really believe the BS they are spouting. Now, that would really suck.