Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ejusdem Generis

I know a lot of lawyers. I've always known a lot of lawyers. And when I was trying to figure out what to do with my life, a lot of lawyers said to me, "Meredith, you'd make a great lawyer." So I thought about it. In college I took a constitutional law class, for undergrads but taught by a law school professor with the law school casebook. It was a fascinating class and the hardest-earned A-minus I ever got. At the end of it I knew for certain that I did not want to be a lawyer.

I decided that I did not want to live my life entombed in paper, surrounded by piles of files and giant heavy law books. I didn't want to spend my working hours painstakingly picking through page after page of dull legalese and dense contractese and other uninteresting -eses (all in tiny print, of course) to find the one phrase, or sometimes the one word, that the whole case was hanging on. I didn't want to put the results of my research into bland but thorough letters to send to other lawyers or bureaucrats in an attempt to get them to do things. None of that sounds like fun.

Guess what I did all afternoon. I sat at my desk, surrounded by piles of files and the consular officer's bible - Bender's Immigration and Nationality Act Pamphlet. It's 1900 pages long. I spent my working hours painstakingly picking through page after page of dull legalese like:
"A spouse or child (as defined in section 101(b)(1)(A), (B), (C), (D), or (E)) of an eligible alien who is granted asylum under this subsection may, if not otherwise eligible for asylum under this section, be granted the same status as the alien if accompanying, or following to join, such alien."
to find the one phrase the whole case was hanging on so I could put the results of my research into a bland but thorough letter to send to bureaucrats in an attempt to get them to do things.

Looks like I haven't escaped the lawyerly life after all. But at least I managed to avoid going $150,000 into debt for the privilege.

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