That License

by Laura

It’s almost over. By the end of Thursday oxygen shall return to six (6) cities around the State of Texas. Speaking from experience, there will also be a large spike in alcohol consumption at least for the weekend. A little less than 4,000 people are about to take a breath for the first time this week (or the summer really). No idea what I’m rambling about? Ask anyone who has ever taken the Texas Bar Exam. They will have a memory, a story, or an experience. I have one: it was awful; I passed.

It starts the Tuesday before the last Thursday in the month of July (how is that for lawyer speak?) Its three (3) days of agony, stress, being quiet, not having a cell phone, or human contact other than the other souls living and dying the room with you.

In a little over three (3) months, the results will be available. You either pass or fail. When you pass, you get sworn in and take the oath and then you’re free to practice law. No required internship. No required mentor. No training wheels. You’ve got a law license.

There are so many reasons people become attorneys and so so many ways to use your license to make yourself or your world a better place. There are so so many people who think this license is gold ticket to get out of things, treat people as if they are beneath you, add letters after their name, use it as a weapon for evil instead of good.

I’m not trying to discredit my own profession. I worked hard for my degree, that license, and to maintain it for the last 10+ years. What I’m trying to point out is that it is not a express lane to be a better person. If you’re standing on that law license to reach a higher shelf then you should know, it’s only as thick as the other card stock available at the store. If you want to be better person, don’t stand on it to look down at the world– use it to elevate a cause, an idea, a belief.

So what brought on this reverie? A ‘supervisor’. A manager I went to school with, graduated with, took the bar the same year way. She has been much more aggressive in her career than me and that is okay – we are on different paths to happiness. Her path involves self-service and manipulative machinations to get herself promoted. Me? I just like idea of the practice of law. Following the rules to determine an outcome; looking at fact pattern to see if I’m able to reasonable ascertain what should happen.

Her current verbalized nonsense is that a law license is a magical grant of the ability to speak to people in a way the ‘common man’ can understand. HA HA HA. If you’ve never read a legal opinion, don’t unless you have too. If you have, did you get every word the first time? Did you follow along and just get it because it was written by an attorney? I know attorneys who feel more comfortable with flips flops than tennis shoes because tying laces is hard. I also know paralegals who could wipe the floor with ½ the licensed attorneys in their local bar associations.

So if you’ve just finished up your bar exam and are sober enough to comprehend anything, when November 4th comes around and your name is on the good list, or if you’re just searching for something to do with your fancy piece of cardstock, please do not roll it up swat others on the nose with it. Have it framed, display it proudly, and use it to make a difference for the good.

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