I am a recovering attorney.
I decided to become a lawyer as a child. My choice was shaped by books I read and the people I saw on television. There were no lawyers in my family, and I had never met a lawyer in person. I did not know what practicing law really meant.
I had a strong belief in justice and fairness, as well as a very strong sense of responsibility. I knew that attorneys were powerful and could get things done. I loved reading, and was good with words. I was focused and persistent, and eager to make a difference.
After I finished law school, I became a criminal prosecutor. I learned how to present a case persuasively to a jury, and how to cross-examine witnesses. Eventually I did more legislative advocacy than trial advocacy. I learned how to make good arguments well, and I could get things done.
The steps in my practice led me to question what I was doing. Each change that I made drew me, eventually, to conclude that there must be something more. I was still focused and persistent, and eager to make a meaningful difference.
I realized that, no matter what I did as an attorney, no matter how well I practiced law, there were limits to what I could accomplish. The legal system reacted to events, it could not act preemptively. I was working to change a system, not influencing the choices of individual people.
Now my work focuses on helping people take the risks that will help them make a difference. My understanding of justice and fairness is deeper now.
I am recovering. I can still be persuasive, and still enjoy asking good questions.
What are you recovering from in your life?
What changes are you being drawn to make?
[Image by Michigan Municipal League (MML)]