Graduated. Bar Passed. Now What?

You know, one of the nice things about outliving the age of blogs is that maybe I can write for just me again. I know a few folks still pop by, but I think reader feeds have gone the way of the dinosaur, and it turns out Twitter really did mean what it said with it’s whole “micro-blogging” nonsense.

It’s June 2022 and we are two and half years into the Covid pandemic, and the virus does what they do when they are allowed to proliferate unchecked…they infect, mutate, and reinfect. We are all vaccinated and boosted, but we are nearing the outside window of expected efficacy without news of a new shot or new booster. The public health messaging has been an abysmal disaster, and the takeaway is that everyone is on their own. We are among the handful of folks who still distance and mask. I don’t know what else to do but to keep going.

The world feels pretty scary. Part of me thinks its always been this way, but we simply lacked the immediacy of instant news and streaming information that wasn’t vetted by professionals, and I large part of me believes even when we think we are smart, we really do need experts to help give context and structure. This free-for-all doesn’t seem to be working so great. There is a rising tide of bigotry and animus for folks who are different, and the open white nationalism is alarming to anyone who knows even a little bit of history. I’m not pointing out anything new here—simply acknowledging this is where we are and that it’s frustrating.

It’s a surreal time to be entering a profession steeped in history and precedent and that prides itself on stability and reliance and comity and literal rules. Because, hey folks…things are also not great on this front. Recent Court decisions are radically remaking American law in ways that are destabilizing and in some cases simply make no sense within the established legal theories. “Because that’s how I feel and its my personal belief” has never actually been a supportable legal framework. I’m vacillating on direction—I am still dedicated to policy, protection and advocacy—but the structures around those issues and the existing work are far more nuanced than I knew when I first jumped in the ring.

Many folks graduate from law school with a job offer already in hand. I decided I needed a break. I carried an overload for all of law school, and then I immediately jumped into bar prep–which is normal, but the schedule is much tighter doing it the way I did than the traditional tract. I am learning that burnout is real, and it doesn’t go away with a couple of warm baths and some Brandi Carlile, no matter how good she is.

This time has been shit for absolutely everyone. Of course I decided to go to law school just as a pandemic hit. I have a medically vulnerable partner and I myself have autoimmune issues. Kids with IEPs got dropped in the shift to homeschool and they lost a whole year of academic achievement. Depression and anxiety created a background thrum that only varied but never stopped. Carrying an overload my own ability to be present emotionally was limited, and everyone needed time and care from me once I graduated—including me. When I say “It was hard” I think only people who lived through this will really understand. It’s going to bind us like the events of the depression did to our great-grandparents.

Anyway. I graduated.

I took the bar exam in February, and I found out in May that I passed. That experience probably deserves its own post and maybe now that it’s several months in the past I can examine it. For now, I passed with a sufficient margin to practice in all UBE jurisdictions, which is what I wanted. But I am all for overhauling the entire system. Now I am considered “admittance pending” while I wait for the rest of my process to clear and be sworn in.

My school did hold graduation ceremonies, but they chose to do so inside, and without a mask requirement. That made the event unsafe for our immunocompromised family to attend in-person. I was incredibly sad for a couple of beats. I wanted to see my friends, to celebrate how hard this was with the people who did it with me, to actually walk that dais. My name was cleared to attend via live-stream, and my kids hooded me from home when the dean read my name and honors. Then with Kelsey’s help, Jon and Jeff took pictures of me in the yard.

I’m reaching out to mentors and talking with supervisors at my internships. I had excellent experiences and good connections from my three positions—my first was in policy on capital hill, the second for an appellate organization working in federal courts on disability rights, and the third with the office of chief counsel for the federal government. I received an award for pro-bono work from the state, and multiple honors from my law school. I should be ok, and I am remarkably not anxious about it. Every step of this process felt like I’m doing what I am supposed to do, and I’m going to keep going.

I am also hate-using Linked-In because I have been informed I must. I’m pretty sure even the federal government’s internal OS is less clunky.

In my time resting I was able to take on a few projects that I back-burnered for the last couple years. I redid both Abby and Kelsey’s rooms, and then I tackled all three bathrooms in the house. Fresh paint, new towels and rugs, everyone is happy. Up next is a minor addition to the kitchen. The kitchen in this house may be worse than Linked-In. Without the additions I made it’s not useable—like, there is literally only one lower cabinet, and it’s a corner that you can’t even reach all the way into. A few years ago I built the island and it added desperately needed storage. I’ve always used a shelf unit on the far wall to make up the difference, but I’m going to actually add real cupboards there. I found some really nice used ones on Craigslist from a remodel and it should be a fairly simple project compared to the island. For that I had to reroute the HVAC vent and move some electrical. This is less complicated. I’ll post pics.

More to come as I process and start to dust out the interior rooms…

5 thoughts on “Graduated. Bar Passed. Now What?

  1. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!
    I have been somewhat following you since I’ve made your lemon bars and cinnabuns! Ha!
    I applaud you for you grit and determination!!
    My best to you
    Love & Light
    Twila<3

  2. I’m still reading blogs! I’m a dinosaur.

    Congratulations on finishing law school– what an achievement, I can’t even imagine! I’m so proud of you for doing this (and yes, during a pandemic)!

    I’m so sorry that you and your family’s health issues have made this pandemic so much harder. We all got vaccinated and then were like– Welp, we’ve done our part! Now I’m just not gonna worry any more! But that’s an attitude I can have because we’re a remarkably healthy bunch. It’s a form of privilege all on its own, and one I didn’t usually spend much time appreciating until these past few years.

    And I can’t even imagine how you do all that kitchen work. Craig can do stuff like that, but not me. I’d probably just rather move! (Not that we could afford THAT in this climate!)

    I’m hoping to visit people in Manassas later this summer. I will definitely send you an email if I can be in your neck of the woods, too– I miss our deep talks, my friend!

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