I'm in a clinic this year representing indigent criminal defendants in their appeals before the Maryland bar. Really neat stuff. Among the highlights:
- Traveling to a supermax prison smack in the middle of Baltimore* to meet one of my clients in a 4' by 8' cell. Though the guy has made some stupid decisions, he was a very nice and encouraging man. Saddest image of that day? Watching him fumble with the pen and paper as he struggled to sign the consent-to-representation form while being tightly cuffed.
- Traveling to another prison in rural Maryland and receiving the most thorough pat-down imaginable. Seriously, that guard went places I didn't know I had.
- Proudly printing the final version of the brief for the case I was arguing. It was the 17th draft. I think. I lost count there at the end.
- Doing my first REAL oral argument! So much of law school is faking it. We play lots of pretend. But this time, just two days ago, it was for real. A real man was behind the name on the brief, and he was hoping that I would do a good job for him. I did the best I could, and I had the time of my (professional) life. I really got into it and was this close to approaching the bench and yelling, "No! You don't get it! This is what I'm saying. This is why we win!"
Not having a job lined up (yet), has been messin' with me. What if I can't cut it as a lawyer? What if not having a job is the universe's way of telling me that I should work at McDonald's instead? Maybe I am fantastically talented a making Big Macs, and that I just have to give it a try? Well, the clinic pushed me back in the right direction. Yes, I can and should be a lawyer. I'm pretty good at it. I have fun doing it. I just need to find somebody to pay me to do this stuff.
*I'm not kidding about that facility being in the middle of Baltimore. One minute my co-counsel and I are driving through some shopping/office district, and the next minute we see an enormous dungeon-like castle with barbed wire all over it. C'mon, Baltimore! I want to like you! But you're not helping your reputation by keeping a large group of Maryland's most dangerous right next to the Bath & Body Works!