Suddenly Everyone’s Going to Law School

Most of my friends aren’t members of the LDS church, but, due to the social nature of our church, I do interact with other LDS people quite a bit. Way back when I was applying to law schools I found myself discussing the decisions I was facing with people around me. [For a lot of my life I’ve either been the new person or on my way out. It leads to lots of questions about where I’ve been and where I’m going.] Most people weren’t super surprised I was going to law school. One of my math professors was really disappointed. [The world needs more mathematicians, not lawyers, he said, and he was right.] The reactions from people at church were the best, though. Here was one of the most infuriating:

Pretty Engaged Relief Society Sister: Oh, wow! We are planning on going to law school, too!
Me: Really? That’s so cool! Where are you thinking of going?
PERSS: Well, my fiancé blah blah blah.
Me: Oh, so your fiancé is planning on going to law school.
PERSS: Yeah!
Me: And you?
PERSS: Oh no, just him.

I get that law school is hard on the student’s partner, but if you didn’t take the LSAT, pay the application fees, do the hundreds of pages of reading every night, and take the four-hour exams, I hate to break it to you honey, but you’re not in law school. I’ve noticed that this doesn’t happen anymore. There are quite a few lawyers in my current ward, and their wives don’t walk around talking about “our job” or “our case” or “our late nights at the office.” Thank goodness. I guess requiring lawyers to be licensed is good for something, even if it’s only reminding indulgent wives that they are not their husbands.

To balance out the mean tone of the post, I’d like to note that since I left my home state (not Utah, but close), I’ve met many, many incredible and impressive LDS women. They are strong, smart, talented, educated, inspirational, independent, progressive, and hilarious, among other things. I attribute my previous negative experiences to the part of the country I lived in (there were just not a lot of LDS women aiming for higher education, careers, or lives outside of their hometown) and also to my own bad attitude (I couldn’t see the other wonderful aspects of the women I met, in spite of the fact that they were surely there).

Oh, and in case you were wondering about how the men reacted, that conversation usually looked like this:

Cute Returned Missionary: That’s awesome! What kind of law are you interested in?
Me: I’m not sure, but I’m thinking criminal law.
CRM: Yeah, it would be sweet to be a prosecutor or a DA. Put people in jail and all that.
Me: I was actually thinking about defense work…
CRM: Why the crap would you do that? How could you defend murderers and rapists?

I still answer that question on a regular basis, actually. Heh.

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