Find Satisfaction in the Law: Columns: There Isn't Just One Answer

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A Lawyer...and a Person
There Isn't Just One Answer

By Terri Lynn Eberle

I would like to share a poem I wrote when I was in law school. This poem occurred at one of the traditional 1L low points - I was in the midst of first semester finals. I hated Civil Procedure and to this day I twitch when I think about studying for that exam. It was the complete antithesis of the political science and history exams I had taken in college. When I studied for and took those college essay tests, what I had learned over a number of years and my interpretation of world events actually mattered. When I studied for Civ Pro, I became irrelevant.

At the time I wrote the poem, I was still externally playing the 1L game of pretending that I was "keeping up" with everyone. Shortly thereafter, I gave the poem to a 2L friend to publish in his law student newsletter. I knew I was taking a risk with my peers by ridiculing the things that they held so dear. I am sure some people wondered why I did not just drop out and leave them to drudge on without me. However, I did get a lot of positive feedback from certain classmates.

This poem happened at the time when Bill Clinton had recently been elected. A hopeful mood existed in DC, a mood that did not seem to permeate the walls of my law school. Though some of the ideas are specific to that time and place, I think that the general theme of the poem is important for all lawyers who want to live by their own rules.

By the way, I never passed the bar because I never took one. And I never did get any B's that semester, but I did later on in law school :-)

There Isn't Just One Answer

Twentysomething
Twentyish
Twenty-three and a half

"Right here
Right now"

Washington
1992

Democrats will be
In control
Wow I was
About eleven years old
The last time that
Happened
New
Hope

Maybe May
1995

J.D. ESQ
Pass the bar
Get a job

Have a life
Be somebody
Make a difference
Save the world?

"Don't
Stop
Thinking
About
Tomorrow"

Why B narrow-minded?
Why B down?
Why B selfish?
Why B normal?
B B B B
(Hope my grades
Look like that)

My emotions don't get
Checked at the door
Of Lerner Hall
And I won't forget who I am
I'm a 23-year-old
Italian Catholic White
Middle class
Woman
From New York City
By way of Albany
And a Democrat
Everyone has something to tell
Just listen
The answers are not
All in the casebook

Learning
NOT about world peace
NOT about saving the environment
NOT about stopping crime
Women minorities &
People without money
Have been screwed by
The System
1992 is better than 1952 (?)

But I'm not
Helping any - my time
Will come but when?

Solicitations for donations
The homeless &
Volunteers on the street &
Every charity in the
Greater Washington area
They all have my address
Want to give my
Time & understanding
Not 50 cents

A liberal idealist
Or the ultimate tool?
Law school - 1L
I came here to
Save the world
Instead I'm cramming
Joinder rules into my head

Nothing will make me
Like Civil Procedure

There isn't just one answer

Life's not like that &

I'm glad it's not

(T.L.E. 12/92)





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