I have been thinking a great deal about why I want to go into law. Since I was young it was my goal to pursue a career helping people overcome challenges in their lives. As I was coming to the end of my time in undergrad, I struggled to find a place in the global community where I could use my knowledge, experiences and skills to accomplish that goal. I applied for fellowships with homeless organizations, worldwide health and empowerment organizations, and looked for internship openings with CARE and the International Rescue Committee. I discovered, though, that in order to be competitive for almost all of the entry-level positions, a graduate degree was either required or highly recommended. I felt frustrated. I intended to leave school after undergrad and start a career, but it looked like I would have to keep studying if I wanted to work in the humanitarian sector.
I began looking for ways to continue my education. I majored in Multi-Ethnic Studies and have a minor in Gender Studies and I truly enjoyed expanding my knowledge in those fields. I considered studying specific areas of international humanitarian aid, but felt that would be limiting. With a broader graduate degree I could expand out from the narrower base of knowledge I focused on in undergrad.
After my dad made a comment about law school, I began to see lawyering in a new light. My dad is a patent lawyer now and did commercial and insurance defense litigation before taking the patent bar. These were really the only insights I had into being a lawyer aside from TV depictions. I began to think more deeply about pursuing a law degree myself; I realized that being a lawyer can mean many different things and that using a law degree does not necessarily mean I have to be a lawyer.
Legal knowledge and expertise can be used in many facets of society. We see in the media regularly some types of lawyers, but I was not aware that a law degree can be used in or out of practice. As I explored the benefits studying law could afford my desired career path, I realized having a foundation in law could help me in a career in the humanitarian sector. For example, a skill set in immigration law would be beneficial to a career at a refugee agency like the International Rescue Committee. I then approached law school as establishing an infrastructure I could base my career on, not intending to actually practice law.
However, since starting school, I realized I may be able to best pursue my dreams within the practice of law. Also, the idea of being in court and working with clients as an attorney appeals to me.
I have unearthed only a tiny sliver of the breadth of the law, but have seen many ways it can be used as a building block for enablement and empowerment in different facets of the career world. Whether or not I end up practicing law, my new knowledge about the law will serve my goals and I will strive to use that knowledge to make change.