It’s been a little over 6 years since I was a student but thinking back to my days at McGill, my time in law school significantly shaped my outlook on life and who I am today. The last article I wrote for the 4Students Magazine (part of the Canadian Lawyer) was almost three years ago, yet even till today I still get emails from students asking me about what it’s like to be a lawyer or how I landed a job in New York.
It never occurred to me that the articles I wrote would get so much traffic. Perhaps they come up in Google searches. Perhaps they resonate with the students. I can’t quite tell what it is but since my first article for the Canadian Lawyer over 6 years ago, I have been getting a steady stream of emails from all sorts of students, Canadian or not. Sitting here and being forced to think about the direction of where I am going, it has dawned on me that a lot of law students do feel like they need guidance and can’t necessarily find it from their schools or their peers. And, law students get very much drowned out by the louder cries of lawyers. I think it is easy to forget your time as a student once you’ve become a lawyer. But if we want to see any change in the profession, we must and should pay attention to what the law students have to say. Law students are the ones who haven’t been jaded by years of practice and who still have stars in their eyes. I feel like the profession really isn’t giving them much support or valuing them at all. At least I know at big firms (and I can’t speak for other firms), law students are at the bottom of the totem pole and have to suffer all sorts of indignities.
I suppose my bigger mission in drawing my comics and writing my book has always been to soften the blow of being a real life lawyer for those who find the profession to be relentless in every-way. I do so deeply believe in the value of lawyers and the importance of our profession for a healthy and functioning society, but I so deeply detest all of the baggage that comes with it – a lot of it self imposed. I believe that we can change the way we talk about the law. To not be the butt of jokes. We can take back the respect that comes with the responsibility of our profession. We can make fun and we can laugh at ourselves. We can have other talents and hobbies that compliment our working lives. We can be good and optimistic and caring towards the next generation of young lawyers. Most of all we can be at the forefront of change for the better.
So. I will continue to poke fun and make light and encourage talking about the law, about the practice and about the profession. Especially if students are my main audience.