I was supposed to be a lawyer. But I’m not.
That’s one of the many stories about my life that I tell people when they ask me, “What’s your story?” There are others… sometimes I say I’m a photographer (works well when holding a camera at a function and taking pictures of people I don’t know – and heck, sometimes I actually AM the photographer, so go figure). Or a producer. Or a writer/producer/photographer/researcher (that’s what my card says). (Really.)
Once, I actually just said, “I’m a writer.” It was a powerful moment.
Tonight, I’m writing again. I’ve decided to use this space to help me with a small exercise. I hope, if anyone’s reading this (and I suspect someone besides me is) (Mom?), that you’ll indulge me, for it may be the first of many such exercises that expose me more fully to the world.
Here’s the idea – I’m going to start writing about things I LOVE. Things I love doing, things I love thinking about, just things I love about anything.
And I’m asking you, dear reader, to participate in this by offering your ideas for ways to employ these things I love in a way that will carry money lathered in integrity into my life. I long to be a philanthropist… I just need the dough to give away, youknowwhaddeyemean? (Read The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist if you want to know more about that of which I speak.)
Okay, enough build up already… on with the show.
This is one thing I love:
Today, I spent several blissful hours comparing and contrasting the language in two legal contracts (written by the same party) and writing a synopsis of the relevant differences. I LOVED doing this.
It must be one of the tasks I did (and enjoyed, I guess, though I don’t quite remember) as part of my first full-time job after graduation from college (or, ahem, university). I was a legal assistant for a mid-size Century City law firm that litigated Medicare cases representing large (not to mention privately-owned and extraordinarily well-heeled) health care providers in U.S. District Courts. I didn’t have the official certification, but I did exactly the same things the paralegals did, and sure, got paid less than they did, but who cared, it was a real job! It felt pretty big-time for a newly independent woman child. (I graduated a week before my 21st birthday …a prodigy, what can I say. Okay, not really, but I did skip the second semester of kindergarten. We’ll save that story for another time.)
(But first, here’s me, looking pretty stoked having just skipped the second half of kindergarten AND the first half of first grade.)
(If you like that one, check out this guy.)My brother, the fancy lawyer. Love you, bro. 🙂
Back to now.
I was gifted tonight with some powerful reminders about who I am and what I have to offer the world. One was that it’s incredibly important to set intentions for the coming year. I have set intentions for many things in my life, but I’ve been having some trouble lately coming up with a big picture for what’s next. And so, I will start small. What do I want out of this coming year? Picture it, I was reminded, and then make it happen.
This year, I want to work. I want to work well, enjoyably, productively, and profitably. I want to work on projects I love. The way that I love comparing these legal documents, for example. I get the weirdest thrill finding the differences between these ridiculously long forms that some schlub had to look through to find parts to re-write as part of their JOB, working as a lawyer for a government entity. Written a year apart, both contracts were created by said government for the SAME contractor offering the SAME services as the year before, but someone apparently was told to go through it and change it, which is why I am now going through it and explaining to my “client” what the changes are and pointing out to them the actions they need to consider taking in response. Got that? Strangely, I do. It’s incredibly simple “para” legal stuff – something that a legal assistant could do, for example. And, as it turns out, not only am I good at that kind of stuff, I actually enjoy it now and then.
For what it’s worth, Contracts might also have been the only class I took in law school that sort of made sense to me. (Granted, I only took four classes while I was there.) And come to think of it, I kicked butt in my Legal Analysis class, that much I can admit proudly. (I actually had to look up the word “stellar” when I got back my first assignment.)
Now for the “rules” — for starters, unless you’re really stuck, please don’t suggest that I become a legal assistant. That’s too easy. Though I’m absolutely open to full-time options, so go ahead, suggest it if you must.
What I’m really seeking – heck, what I’m kindly asking for – are suggestions of ways that I can employ the skills I used today to analyze these two documents – which seems simple to me, but maybe isn’t so simple to some other people (or so I’ve been told). Who would hire me to do this on an ongoing basis? Keep in mind, I’m no one trick pony. I prefer to think of myself more like Felix the Cat, the owner of an amazing bag of similarly useful yet varied tricks.
But, you ask (having caught on to the joy of this game), which of those tricks do I really LOVE? Stay tuned for future (shorter) blurbs about those.
The captain has turned off the seat belt sign. Please feel free to roam the Comments section below, and thank you for flying with me this evening.
4 thoughts on “Leagle Eyes”
Wild thought #1: Offer your services to journalists working on stories that require sifting through and making sense of legal documents but whose eyes glaze over at the thought of those bland, dry documents. If you can read financial statements, I’d say you’d be even more valuable. Does that make sense?
Interesting idea… thanks!
Oh Hilary, I just loved reading this! And no, you are not a one-tricked pony. I will have to give your gifts some pondering.