March 7, 2006
Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be lawyers....
Yesterday, as I was walking into school I bumped into a former student of mine. She was “six minutes late for a depo” she said. She was dressed in a suit, hosiery and nice shoes. She had a briefcase and a big handful of other documents. My first thought was, wow doesn’t she look all grown up and lawyerly. I had to really hold myself back from pinching her cheeks and telling her how much she had grown.
Sometimes I think I lose sight of the fact that a vast majority of the students I work with will graduate, pass the bar and start being lawyers. In ASP we tend to work on the small picture: the next set of exams or legal writing assignments. Sometimes we even help to micro-manage the outlining process. But our success with a student inevitably takes that student out of our lives because they no longer need us.
This is very much like parenting, isn’t it? Nurturing followed by letting go is a pattern I am sure I will have to follow with my children (but not yet, because I am absolutely, certainly not ready to let go and I won’t be for a while….). I often tell students to remember their big picture: the goals that led them to law school, where they fit in the universe of their friends and family outside this building, etc. But I seem to have lost sight of mine.
I think somewhere along the way I forgot that my role in a student’s trip through this building was to help and then disappear. The reminder that the students I work with go on to be real, grown-up lawyers was refreshing. And I swear that former student looked taller too. (ezs).
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