By Amber Lukowicz
Now here’s the thing; a lot of people I know are stuck in or, rather settling for, a job they don’t like, let alone love. They got into construction or real estate or even the law generally because at some point they enjoyed the work; or they went to graduate or law school and their position was the logical next step. I do not want to be like that. I want to enjoy the work I will be doing.
This may seem harsh or idealistic, and for some unrealistic. But it’s something I would like to strive toward, and I hope others do too. The first year of law school was a reckoning for me. During the first few weeks of law school I was trying to figure out how to read case law, how to understand legalese, and I hoped that I wasn’t called out in class. But then something changed for me. During those first few weeks of law school I had a turning point. I relished this feeling. After feeling confused for weeks about what I should take from the case book and how to answer questions given in the Socratic method, the black letter law became clear. The cases were like solving a problem, and I love solving problems. Most of my law school friends had a turning point like I did, whether it was during our first year classes or the summer after our first year. They found something they were interested in and pursued any opportunity to work in that area of the law, paid or unpaid. Once you find your area of interest, you have to put in the work.
My opinion may seem very millennial to more mature attorneys, but I respect their opinions all the same. Most attorneys I know have found an area of law that interests them in some way, shape, or form. Quite a few have started their own practices. I admire those attorneys. They had the guts and the drive to follow their passion. So I urge all law students and even current attorneys to find their passion and pursue it. Most of us will be working for the next 30 to 50 years, so why be miserable or unhappy in a job you don’t like? Figure out what you enjoy, network with others who enjoy that same thing and who can mentor you, and work hard to get yourself into that position.
I have a friend who pursued her passion. She was in a job she hated for over two years, and one day she finally had enough. She quit, moved to a new city, and is currently working on opening a coffee shop. She has loved this adventure. Most of us are not like her. We aren’t willing to give up a paying job to try something new, something uncertain. But the moral of the story is don’t settle, find the area of law you like and pursue that area, whether through internships, externships, clerkships, or even volunteer work.
Find what you enjoy and work hard at it. Sometimes it really is that simple.
Amber Lukowicz is a third year law student at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. She is the current president of the Chicago-Kent Society of Women in Law. She is a member of the WBAI and is currently serving on the 2016 Judicial Reception Committee. Amber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in the WBAI Winter 2016 Newsletter.