Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Fought the Law and the Law Won

Since I've been using this as a platform for which to spout my job-searching woes, I will henceforth continue on in the mad deluge of job searching and soul searching and where I've ultimately ended up.

After applying for quite a few jobs and not getting any responses, I decided to rethink my plans for the fall. What if, instead of looking for a temporary job or position that would provide income while I wrote but wasn't something I was real excited about I considered something a bit more permanent? I'd noticed that there were a lot of openings for paralegals or legal assistants while trying to find administrative assistant positions and did some looking into that. Certainly I'd heard of paralegals but didn't really know much about what they do.
Research and writing. They do lots of research and writing for lawyers in their firms, as well as sometimes doing interviews with clients, filing documents in the court system, and creating documents. Basically, this job combines all of the things I'm good at, pays well, is in a field I'm interested in, and is in a growing area, rather than a decreasing one. Also, it would allow me to dig into my passion for helping people and in social causes, as well as still allowing me to do fictional writing on the side and use my bachelor's experiences in new ways. Is possible that I might have actually found something to do with my life? Yes, yes it is.

Of course, I have absolutely zero legal background which, for paralegals, is okay. I don't take the LSAT and don't go to law school. Instead, there are associates degree or bachelor degree programs for paralegal work which can take anywhere from nine months to a few years to complete. Considering I've got transfer credit from my B.A. degree at the U, it should take me less time. And so, I've enrolled at Globe University, a sort of business school that has many campuses around the state of Minnesota. The campus I'm at is downtown, right in the heart of city, and is just a quick bus ride away. I register for classes this Thursday and start classes on October 7th. The fact that I'm actually excited to take classes about legal vocabulary and torts is perhaps a little concerning, but I'm thrilled.
It's a bit funny, really, because I've been interested in law for quite a few years but just avoided the whole thing. I made the mock trial team my freshman year of high school (something I was told was very hard to do) but then dropped out because I was totally intimidated, not ready to make that sort of time commitment, and not yet in a place in my life where I was willing to challenge myself in such a way, alas. During econ class my senior year of high school, I owned the closing argument of a debate on the Iraq War and my team won, much to my glee. I realized I loved logic and philosophy my freshman year at college (even if my Socrates class was one of the most painful classes I have ever taken),  had another interesting debate my sophomore year of college, and ultimately realized that I'm pretty damn good at studying rhetoric and language and conducting research partway through my senior year. Why these weren't signs that maybe I should considering something like law, especially when I care a lot about social concerns and have a big justice streak seems like a "well, duh" moment, but I think it's because while in school, I never thought I was able to do such work. Learning legal jargon and working in that sort of setting seemed utterly impossible. Now, after graduation, having the experiences I've been fortunate enough to have at the Guthrie, and realizing what I can really see myself doing work-wise, it's become obvious where it wasn't before. Though my father always encouraged me to consider law school, that sort of study doesn't really interest me. I like law, but I'd much rather be researching and writing than presenting it. (I've now got this running idea in my head that the courtroom is like a theater, where paralegals have written up or gathered certain materials like a scriptwriter or a dramaturg and lawyers are the actors performing the evidence for the audience/court. This may be because I've been spending time working on the CLE classes the Guthrie has.) Now that I know this particular field exists, I'm realizing how really interested in it I am. It's been the perfect storm of things coming together - my personal interests, my undergraduate work, my friend's interests and having a friend who is a lawyer, working on the CLEs at the Guthrie... it's all come together rather marvelously.

So that's how I've ended up going to college for the second time and I couldn't be happier about it. That might mean eventually more law-related blog posts on here, but we shall see. It's an exciting new adventure and I'm very eager to begin it. :D

FYI: there is a feminist Ryan Gosling meme for everything.

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