Strangely, I remember the exact moment in which I wanted to become an attorney. I was a sophomore in high school and enrolled in a career explorations class in the spring semester. I had always enjoyed talking to people and being a “problem solver” but at that time had not thought about making it a profession. I was lucky enough to obtain an internship with a local attorney, who was a solo practitioner. While my job mainly involved getting paper cuts and cleaning up the office, it was certainly better than my side jobs of cutting grass and picking up trash at a local raceway.
When I wasn’t copying or shuffling paper, I had the opportunity to sit in on several client conferences and one-on-one conversations with the attorney to discuss his strategy. I was fascinated at the thought of clients bringing their biggest and most personal problems to the attorney and handing those problems over to the attorney for resolution.
Throughout, my internship, I saw a more unpleasant side of the law and learned more about how to not practice law than it did to provide me the necessary tools to succeed. I became frustrated with the attorney’s demeanor towards the clients and the lack of care the attorney showed in the clients’ problems. From that realization on, I knew I wanted to be an attorney, but I also knew I wanted to be different.
I lie awake at night, I pace my house, I sit on my front porch at 2:00 a.m. and think about my clients’ cases. I am passionate about what I do and that’s because I allow myself to feel my clients’ problems. I believe that not only should your attorney advise and counsel you, but should also mentally and emotionally help you carry the load of your problems towards a resolution. If I can’t feel your pain and suffering, how then can I turn around and genuinely advocate on your behalf?
I am forever grateful for the experience I obtained from my first internship as it not only made me want to practice law, but also made me want to practice law differently.