Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall during someone else's therapy session? In this podcast, Susanne Gabriele and Andreas Kalogiannides admit to some personal and professional realizations and, despite being warned by their Inner Critics not to, they've decided to share them with you.
I am a young lawyer but the past year of managing my own law practice has confirmed what everyone already knows: justice is not only blind but it is also deaf and mute. I remember growing up with my mother telling me that if artful thieves exist and can target me, I must also be artful in protecting myself. I now somehow entangled this notion as a metaphor in the calculation of what it takes to achieve justice as a lawyer.
I have this thing that I do sometimes where I become frustrated, impatient and even slightly aggressive in situations where I'm working with people to manage complex problems and navigate complex, protracted, big-picture strategies. These fluid, ethereal situations are never easy to navigate. Basically, I want to yell out: "Why can't we all just move forward with this idea which we all think is great and that we all seem to want, even though the path forward doesn't necessarily please 100% of everyone at the table, and we all understand that nothing can ever please everyone all of the time in every way...so, c'mon now - 76% consensus is still a B+! So let's do this already!!"
Are lawyers suffering from an identity crisis? Is it an occupational hazard that our training has made us good at our jobs, but bad at life? In many instances, we are legally and ethically compelled to subvert our personal interests and identities in favour of our professional interests and obligations. As lawyers we are typically pessimistic, risk-averse, adversarial, argumentative, confrontational, overly opinionated, critical, over-achieving, “type-A” and blame-avoidant on our clients’ behalf. Admit nothing. Say nothing. Give nothing. Defend, defend, defend. Attack, parry, thrust. Are our personal identities slightly subverted to these interests or have they been completely eradicated?
I read an interesting article recently in the Globe and Mail. High profile, professional women were interviewed to provide insight into the ongoing struggle for gender parity. Adrienne Clarkson was one of the interviewees, and her advice to younger women was never to believe in other people’s expectations of you; only believe in your expectations of yourself.
I experience fear sometimes.
Sometimes I experience fear because I don’t know how opposing counsel is going to react to my blackline in a tense contract negotiation. Sometimes times I experience fear because my girl is late returning home on a stormy winter’s night. Sometimes I experience fear because of FOMO for social events (well, I used to - I have conquered this one). Other times, I experience fear because I don’t know how my randomly-selected LSUC practice management review is going to go.
It's a mixed bag, really.
The Ghomeshi trial is all the rage right now in the criminal world, and rightly so. The case goes to the very heart of many issues that are commonly debated when discussing sexual assault. However, the issue mainly picked up by the media in this case is, “can we prove that consent was present at the time of the alleged assault given the complainant’s behavior following the incident?” More specifically, if the complainant “goes back” to the alleged perpetrator, is his/her credibility damaged to the point where they cannot be believed about the incident in question? Whether this is the case or not, it got me thinking about my own behaviour when I was met with workplace harassment and discrimination as a female lawyer.
I read an article on Vox.com recently, entitled “7 Reasons you shouldn’t go to law school (unless you really, really want to be a lawyer)” by Amanda Taub. You should most definitely take a read; it’s excellent and completely on-point in describing many of our experiences in making the decision to attend law school and become a lawyer.
Why would someone who grew up with an intense fear of being confronted choose to become a lawyer? The obvious answer is that I had something to prove, but that presupposes that I was conscious of this fear and that I took active steps to engage with it. If I was conscious of the fear, it was only so that I could ‘manage’ it. When it came to that fear, the only thing I actively engaged in was finding something big enough to mask it.