Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Lucky me

Thinking of law as a career, the last thing I'd want is to spend my time searching for things and not finding them. Case law examples are one type of thing I imagine people spend time looking for but not finding. You can't cite a case if you don't know about it and can't find it or it never existed and isn't available to be found in the first place. And to spend time looking for something that doesn't exist....oooooooooh, that would burn me up.

Because I'm not a lucky person. I never win door prizes. I never win coin tosses. If I call heads, it'll come up tails. I'm pretty good at rock-paper-scissors against my daughter, but that's the extent of my luck. So looking for a relevant case citation, for me, would be likely to result in frustration without citation. That's like taxation without representation. You put the work in, but get nothing for your efforts. Oh heck no. No thank you.

Is finding a relevant case something you spend a lot of time doing as an attorney?

How common is it to not find what you need? How lucky do you have to be?

There are such things as lucky people and unlucky people. I'm certain. Read this. It backs me up on this claim. But not in the way you'd think.

The part where he puts the large insert into the middle of the newspaper, and some people don't see it...which he then attributes to anxiety or only finding what you're looking for...OMG that has happened to me a gazillion times. That old phrase "If it were a snake it would have bitten me" which alludes to not seeing something that is right in front of you, that applies to me a thousand times over. I'll read the fine print on an advertisement, but miss the headline. I'm wondering what people are talking about. "Where'd you see that?!" and the inevitable "Right THERE!" with the accompanying annoyance/dismay/disbelief/dismissal. Not fun. I think it's related to ADD. To hyperfocusing on the tiny details and missing, literally, the large print items. Overlooking things posted on bulletin boards. It's not Attention Deficit, it's Attention Misdirection. And it affects your "luck", for lack of a better term.

But all that aside, where I put my attention has little to do with whether I win the door prize. Or the coin toss. Or true/false questions like "Obama's favorite color is blue: true or false?" Some things have nothing to do with effort, focus, open-mindedness, gut instincts. Some things require good luck. Which I seldom experience, in the realm of fifty-fifty chances.

Careers where luck matters less than pure hard work: problem-resolution that is centered around a well-established skill set. Examples include ER doctors, furniture restoration, refrigerator repair, tour guides...okay, I'm making this up, obviously. But you get the idea. Luck is never completely out-of-the-picture in any career. But you need much more of it to become the next Brad Pitt than if you're trying to succeed as a librarian or car mechanic.

The important question here is: should unlucky people steer clear of the law as a career?


Amanda said...

Thanks for the comment! I don't think you're screwed if Econ's not your thing. It just comes up in classes like Contracts and Property more than others. That said, it's LAW school, not a school of economics, so just ask for clarification if something doesn't click! :) My understanding is very basic, and it's been sufficient.

The lucky/unlucky question is an interesting one! I tend to think my luck is worse than it actually is...I think law is kind of a cross between mechanics and Brad Pitt. There are people who get lucky breaks in their path to success, but it's also a lot of just hard work.

Something to ponder...thanks! :)

gudnuff said...

Back at ya. Love your blog.