My first semester as a 2L at Widener Law was a constant reminder that law school will end and, one day, I will be a practicing attorney. Every time a 1L asked me for advice, I felt one step closer to graduation. Every time I signed up for a competition that I was now eligible to participate in, my gut reminded me that, soon enough, I would be taking the bar. It’s surreal! The most important question I asked myself this semester was this: Jennifer, what type of attorney do you want to be and how do you make that happen?
As my classmates (sorry, “colleagues”) mature into seasoned law students, I am inadvertently beginning to imagine what they will be like as attorneys. That’s when I begin to wonder what type of reputation I am building for myself at Widener Law. Am I prepared for class? When I develop an opinion, am I mechanically applying the law without regard to public policy or ethical concerns? Am I always late? Will the activities I am partaking in really help my low-income clients in the future?
This moment, right now, will be the first (of many) defining moments. Not my first job. Not my first case. Not my first brief. Law school. For that reason, I have boldly calculated my movements in law school, to mold myself into the lawyer I want to be. For instance, I am interested in constitutional law and civil rights. Attorneys in this field appeal, appeal, appeal! I’m confident that Moot Court Honor Society will train me to be an excellent appellate attorney. Also, I was “once” told that I could be aggressive in adversarial settings. Alternative Dispute Resolution has taught me that, in most settings, you can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar. Last but not least, my faith was a catalyst for my pursuit of a career in public interest law. Christian Legal Society has surely been supportive of this.
In the words of Charles Lamb, “Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.” Believe it or not, lawyers aren’t born lawyers! Our first words aren’t “reasonably prudent person.” We all start somewhere and have an opportunity to mold ourselves into the lawyers we want to be. By graduation, all of us will have experienced law school, but will have taken away different lessons. What will you choose to take away?
Jennifer R. Perez