Full Time Practice

Monday, March 18, 2013

No Limitations

(Written by Nan Barker,  WIL Committee chair, who is responsible for the blog focus group "using your law degree in your community and family".)

A few weeks ago I was asked to participate on a panel for a church Young Women's group. The purpose of the panel was to broaden the young women's ideas about possible education paths they might follow.

The panelists were all women: in addition to me, an attorney, there was a medical doctor (an anesthesiologist), someone with a masters degree in microbiology, someone with an undergraduate degree in business and, an esthetician (someone skilled in giving beauty treatments).   We were each asked to take 3-4 minutes to describe the educational path we followed for our particular career and give a few thoughts about our area of expertise.

It was a wonderful, informative panel.  I think the young women enjoyed it.

One comment by the woman with the undergraduate degree in business caught my attention.  She stated that with an undergraduate business degree you were unlimited in what you could do--you could be anything you wanted to be--unlike the limitation a law or medical degree would impose.

I wanted to stand up, and, in an animated fashion, disagree with her view of limitations and opportunities.  I didn't.  I REALLY thought about it though.  However, my 4 minutes were up and after she took 20 minutes, there wasn't much time left for Q & A or "rebuttal".

I don't have any experience with medical degrees, but I do know that a law degree does not limit opportunities, but instead opens doors for them.

I thought about so many of you who are not practicing law, but are using the skills you learned in law school in other fields, in your communities and in your homes.

A couple of  years ago I was talking to the ASU student JRCLS chapter.  I asked them the following question: what skills are you learning in law school that will help you in all aspects of your lives, whether you practice law or not?  We came up with a list of 24 skills, some of which were being able to think logically, effectively represent yourself, respond to questions, read critically, organize, study, persuade, listen, etc.

A law degree does not limit a person's opportunities.  It creates them.

Oh...I thought of one more skill we learn in law school:   how to follow time limits!

(One of the goals of this blog is to address seven different focus groups:  full time practice; part time practice; on hiatus; practicing with children at home; students; using your law degree in your community and family; and, singles.  If you have any suggestions about topics you would like to see addressed in these areas, please let us know through the Comment section below.)

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