I wonder if I would still have turned my back completely on the legal profession if I had stuck to my guns and chosen the less glamorous criminal practice instead of letting the prestige of being hired by a top 4 law firm sweep me off my feet. My life seems to consist of distinct moments to which I can point and say, That decision is responsible for my present situation (or predicament, depending on my mood). First it was choosing to go to law school despite having only one real passion in my life; and then it was choosing to do commercial litigation despite wanting to do criminal law. With regard to the latter, I had a second chance to right my wrong; I was not retained by my pupillage firm, and I could have (at least in theory) gone anywhere else and done what I said I wanted to do. Instead, I joined another Big 4. That decision, in hindsight, sealed my fate as a practising lawyer. Namely: I am out of there and I don't want to ever go back.
The thing that I constantly find myself telling others when I talk about my experience as a practising lawyer is that I did not enjoy most of the work. I enjoyed the firm; I had great colleagues and a very hands-off boss who left me to my own devices and pretty much trusted my work (this was great for me because I hated people breathing down my neck); and I even had two or three files that I genuinely enjoyed. The problem, however, was that most of the time, I wasn't enjoying myself. I didn't enjoy the long hours, and not enjoying the work made the long hours even more unbearable than they intrinsically were. I didn't enjoy the commercial aspects of the work. I didn't care about people's money. I hated having to suck up to clients and to take their bullshit (I had an especially full of shit client whom I absolutely detested, and every time I had to write to him, I felt grossed out whenever I typed 'please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions'). I didn't even like drafting affidavits, and needless to say, I did not enjoy - at all - pouring through copious documents, usually invoices and boring things like that, and trying to make sense of them. It was one of the worst years of my life.
In a way, it is sad that I didn't pursue what I wanted at the time. If I had gone the criminal route, I would have lasted a couple of years or even more. Being in commercial litigation, though, more or less killed whatever hope I had as a 21-year-old that I would find the profession that I was about to enter gratifying, fulfilling, meaningful. Of course, the lack of intellectual stimulation of the job would eventually catch up on me and I would've left anyway; but at least I would have been true to myself instead of being a hypocrite.
To be fair, though, it wasn't like I joined the AGC and became a prosecutor, so at least I didn't completely sell my soul to the devil.
In other news, I have heard absolutely nothing from the three schools that I applied to and I am once again convinced that Cambridge has tossed my application into the bin. Now that I have talked to a few more people about my proposal, I really wish that I had written it differently. It is much clearer in my head now what I want to do as opposed to when I wrote the proposal. I think I will re-apply if I don't get in this time...I still can't let go of the dream. At least the proposal will be more coherent and cohesive.
On the work front, things have been enjoyable and rather slow. My current project hasn’t taken up too much of my time, which of course, I’m not complaining about. I spent Thursday afternoon typing out the Ambassador’s statement to a conference in New York commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Fish Stocks Agreement and we chatted a bit about other things, including Lincoln’s Inn in London (the LSE is just next to it). He is really nice and he has a very deadpan sense of humour that fully utilises the power of the surprise one-liner. At the end, I taught him how to edit a document on MS Word (you know, how to delete and insert words, etc) and how to insert footnotes. I had a good time.
On Friday, I went to KK Hospital to do an ultrasound of the two lumps in my right breast. I waited over a freaking hour for it. I couldn’t think of a bigger waste of time.
I had dinner with Lavan on Friday night. I thought it was about time that I caught up with some friends from law school with whom I got along quite well back then. I was happy to see that he’s doing well!
Lastly, I really need to go to the beach. Wouter, please come now. D: