Following our celebration on Thursday, September 15, 2011 of a very successful launch of our inaugural Women in the Profession Newsletter, I wondered how the next issue could continue the momentum started by our initial issue. After all, a launch has its own appeal. I think the contributors to our latest Newsletter have answered that question.
The preparation of this December edition, amid the winter holidays has brought back memories of my swearing in ceremony at City Hall in December after passing the Pennsylvania Bar exam. That ceremony launched my career as a brand new lawyer. I have always thought we should repeat such a ceremony once every five years to remind us why we chose this profession.
It still gives me chills thinking about it now. Standing alongside my colleagues, I remember how proud I felt at being admitted to the Bar. I was especially grateful for my entire family’s support in helping me reach this achievement. I had an unbelievable feeling when I raised my hand and stated I would uphold and defend the Constitution. I recall it being said that I was one of a very small percentage of the population to receive this degree and honor. I thought of it as a privilege to practice law and thought about the ideals that could be achieved.
Now after practicing law for awhile, the newness has faded. I find myself not using the word “privileged” but using the word “cynical” to describe how I sometimes feel in response to the demands of the practice of law. When I have some of my most difficult days practicing, working very long hours with frustrated clients having difficult problems, I do not have the sense of “privilege” I felt during my swearing in ceremony at City Hall.
Despite this feeling, I am motivated everyday because I know law is the right profession for me. When you find the right profession, the motivation behind what you do is evident. You can tolerate sometimes what is – quite frankly – intolerable. One large part of the motivation behind it for me is the positive, productive relationship with a client I would have never known or counseled if I were not a practicing attorney.
We should all keep in mind, the “why” behind anything we do. As the Editor of this Newsletter, my hope is for you to consider your sources of motivation in your legal career. Whether it is achieving new balance away from your Blackberry, improving skills, starting one’s own practice, considering the process of becoming a Philadelphia judge, contributing to a book, appreciating workplace
flexibility as a solution, or sharing a practice “War Story.” In a profession where there is a tendency to become cynical, all of us should hope to reconnect with our professional ideals this holiday season.
Maureen Farrell, Esquire
In addition to being Editor In Chief of Women in the Profession News, Maureen is an accomplished Philadelphia-based attorney with her own practice focused in Estate and Elder Law. She can be reached for comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
In this Issue:
- Seasons & Sea Changes: Weathering the Storm, by Dean Linda Ammons
- The Case for Diversity, by Bobbie Liebenberg
- Why Women Leave the Profession, by JenniferWeed
- Being “Berry” Connected, by KathleenWilkinson
- Seven Steps to Starting a Law Firm, by Sheryl Axelroad
- Reflections on Becoming a Judge in Philadelphia, by The Honorable Ann M. Butchart