LSAT Kung Fu Blog / Week 9: Squad Goals
Week 9: Squad Goals
I want to be Thurgood Marshall.
I mean, I know that the position is taken (Synecdoche! What I really want is to be, like Justice Marshall, A Towering Figure in American Jurisprudence in all caps).
Also, I do understand the inherent—and enormous—chutzpah entailed in making such an assertion. But if you want to change the world, you have to believe that you can do it, right? And it is certainly not the case that I believe I’m uniquely qualified to push American society toward a more just and equal footing. It is also true that I know that I cannot possibly do such work alone, nor solely on my own merits. I am making no claim here to being unique, and I know that in every bit of work that I do, I will be standing on the shoulders of giants. I also know that I’ll do it with the material help of the smart and capable community that I’ve joined at my law school.
Still, I came here on a mission, and even if I never see the mountaintop, I will also never lose sight of why I came nor of what I’m trying to do. So, for me, this translates into the following action points:
- Kick ass in law school. Honestly, this is only tangentially related to my goals. The fact is that the public interest firms with jobs available usually don’t have a ton of money on offer. This means that they are somewhat less competitive than the biglaw firms. I could probably get a job if I’m just in the top half of my class. Still, I don’t want to be in the middle of the pack. I want to be at the front. Also, I like the idea of showing everybody that just because you can get the highest-paying job on offer doesn’t mean you have to. The whole endeavor can be competitive—and there’s nothing wrong with competition!—and I don’t want every race to go to the ruthless.
- Get involved. I’ve joined two student groups—BLSA (the Black Law Students Association) and Law Women. I was interested in Environmental Law, in the Latinx student group, in the animal rights group, and many others, but it didn’t take me very long at all to realize that I could not do everything, especially not if I wanted to be the father to my kids (and the husband to my wife) that my family deserves. So I’ve signed up for some of the pro bono opportunities, but not every single one. The whole fam is even coming with me weekend-after-next to help undocumented immigrants get power-of-attorney paperwork (that’s so that, if they’re deported, there’s someone who can take care of their kids. What a world we’re living in).
- Meet people. Friday, I’ll meet with the man who ran the local Legal Aid clinic for years before he retired. In the weeks after, I’m lining up appointments with other people doing similar work to what I want to do. I’m not asking them for jobs (not right now, anyway). I’m just getting to know them. I’m buying them coffee and trying to see what I can learn by talking to them. My main goal is just to make sure that they leave the meeting liking me. It’s so important that the people you’ll be working around like you (and unless you live in a big city, the people you’ll be working around include pretty much everyone in the local bar (not that bar. The local version of the ABA! Although, maybe also the people in that bar, too :) The world’s a big place and full of wonders). It’s easier to get your work done that way. And it’s just nicer, too.
So, that’s my big-picture goal. If you want to share yours, I’m all ears.