Washington and Lee University School of Law

Washington and Lee University School of Law

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Law is Fickle, But Justice Isn't

James Collins is a rising 3L. He is interning with with the Antitrust Section at the Ohio Attorney General's office.

Unfortunately, I have precious few remaining days at the Ohio Attorney General's Office. The amount of knowledge that I have developed over the last 10 weeks is astounding, and I'm not sure what the 3rd year of law school will be like after living and dying by the heat of the battle.
Like most everyone completing law school, I am nearing my second decade as a professional student. If you would have told me when I graduated from high school that I would continue on to get both a dual undergraduate degree and a J.D., I wouldn't have believed you. For my great grand-relatives who lived barefoot in Kentucky and as coal miners in Pennsylvania, education was a luxury and the law was a fickle thing best left to people in far off places. As I pack up my notepads and tear down the countless post-its that are strewn about my office, I can't imagine how I got here or where I will be going next.
When I first started looking at law school, I spoke to a number of attorneys about their professions. Almost every single one told me not to do it. I would walk in with a suit and a smile and leave with a pat on the back and a head full of doubts. It was the lifestyle, they'd say, or the work – maybe the people they worked with or the people they worked for, it didn't matter. The song was always the same: get out now. My problem was that I hadn't spoken with anyone at the Attorney General's office.
I can't say whether every office in Ohio or every AG office across the states has the same determination and fortitude that ours does, but I'd hope that we're not just a fluke. The people here care about what they're doing, and I've grown to care about it too. It's not hard to get up in the morning when you know you're making a difference, and it's never bothersome to stay past 5 when you have the chance to right a wrong. Law is a fickle thing, I've come to suspect that, but justice isn't. You know when something is right or wrong. And to any would-be lawyers that may come across this, let me advise: stick to your moral compass and you'll come out just fine.


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