From Books, to Boots, to Babies, to Bavaria:  The Road to the Right

Looking back on it now, it was a crazy, reckless plan.  Everyone else was studiously concentrating on the bar examination.  Most already had their future employment secured.  Friends were working for large firms in big cities; joining small local firms they had interned with; earning judicial clerkships while some were vying for the few district attorney positions that might be available.  Me?  Sure, I was studying for the bar exam here and there; enjoying the rare sun warming the hills of Oregon; and figuring out how much of my stuff would fit into a U-Haul.

My plan was simple – if you could even call it a plan.  Take the bar, visit the West Coast beaches to say good-bye, and hit the road for Washington.  Not the state, the District.  By my calculations it was only a little over 2,800 miles.  Load up my stuff and hit the gas.  After a few days of dusty travel, I figured I would find myself in the land of plenty – plenty of legal jobs and plenty of opportunities.  The mecca of our legal universe, Washington, D.C.  I was not phased that I didn’t have a job lined up or prospects to ponder, surely the legal gods would smile down upon me.  If I could make it there, I could make it anywhere.  Right?

Trying to remember years later what spurred me to go is more difficult.  Perhaps it was that I had been in Oregon for three years and the military brat in me felt the pull to move.  Three, maybe four years, and the itch to move starts up – if you have been moving your whole life.  Maybe it was the need to start fresh, start new, shake off the old and look forward to new and exciting prospects.  Or the desire to do the unexpected, not have a safety net and do the next “right” thing.  For some of my fellow classmates, they had already shaken up their lives just by going to law school.  Some had left careers, brought families through the journey, but for me going to law school had been the next thing on a planned out list.  Not staying in the state where I was taking the bar exam and hopefully would be licensed, not using local contacts and connections, not doing the next logical step, that was the plan.

Driving the moving van through the flat mid-West plains, bugs splattered on the windshield, I was full of hopeful gleaming expectations of legal grandeur.  Parking the U-Haul at my cousin’s house while I struggled to find a place to live, linked up with classmates who had moved to D.C. with jobs, and bought the paper to scour for jobs – reality came crashing down.  Literally.  I found out I passed the Oregon bar on September 10th, 2001.  The next morning I woke up in D.C. to a changed nation.

The sober reality of not getting calls for job interviews and struggling to pay bills and loans paled in comparison to the grief of a nation.  The nation was changing and so was I.  The call to military service generations of my family had answered before me now beaconed louder.  I was going to answer the call.

So gentle legal scholar, I challenge you to load up your moving van.  Take only what you need as the road is often bumpy.  And when your heart tells you to turn to the right, but your logically trained legal brain demands you go left, follow your heart.  It will lead you right to where you were meant to be.  Every single time.



Can’t wait to read more!

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