Friday, January 27, 2006

By Way of Introduction

I'm a recent graduate of a "top-20" law school, where I concentrated in critical race studies and civil rights law. So, just to clarify, I'm a lefty and I'm passionate about anti-discrimination law. But my research interests currently focus on employment discrimination law, integrating organizational studies and empirical methods.

In law school, I learned how to cry over a "B" grade, and then learn to be very grateful for it and proud of it in the same year. I learned that there are worse things than getting a "B." I learned how to avoid cirrhosis of the liver. I learned defensive driving. I learned how you should and should not navigate the high school-esque social terrain of law school. I learned how to get by on 4 hours of sleep and how to carry 20 lbs. of laptop and books on my back. I also learned that I'm not cut out to be a conventional practicing lawyer. And definitely not a corporate lawyer. To me, a bar license is like that back-up beauty-school license your mother told you to get in the 1960s when she wasn't too sure you'd be smart enough to get into college. In contrast though, it's probably the hardest, most demoralizing, expensive backup license to get.

After three years in delightful urban sprawl, I'm currently exiled in majority-Republican suburbia, where I lived for my first 21 years, and where I attended every school including college. So yes, I'm back to living with my parents, studying for one of the nation's toughest bar exams. While I'm here, I'm waiting for life to begin--in other words, awaiting replies from various post-doctoral law and political science PhD programs, for another round of either 3 or 5 years of school. Why on earth am I electing to spend a total of either 10 or 12 years in post-secondary education?

Because I want to become a Law Professor. Because I was meant to teach somehow, somewhere, some way. And I'm interested in abstract legal theories like federalism, sovereign immunity and preemption, not reviewing contracts. Why did I go to law school then? Because I wasn't meant to be an English Lit professor or a pure political scientist. I like to get out of the ivory tower every once and a while. So I want to be a lawyer AND professor (in case I ever file a brief) and I want to teach LAW. The odds are stacked against me, and the path ahead is difficult, but I've never been conventional by any means. If there is a unconventional path to law teaching, I've looked into it. And I'll take it. So if I spend the next three years in an LLM/JSD program, or the next five in a PhD program, I'll at least be where I belong.

So this blog will track this quest to join the academe. My quest to find a place where I belong intellectually and socially. It will be a combination of personal reflections and general observations about life, the law, and everything. It will not be solely devoted to analyzing legal issues, nor will it be a solipsistic daily journal. I can't resist writing about my wacky, lovable, Oprah-esque sob-story family (think David Sedaris, but Vietnamese and first-generation immigrant). Nor can I resist commenting on the major legal and political issues. Along they way, you might expect postings about my own quirks and decidedly strange person. I've been called very idiosyncratic and "interesting," but in a good way. But because there are decidedly personal elements to this blogand because I'm an aspiring academic, I will remain pseudononymous. Just call me Belle.

I don't think I'm more interesting than the next person, but the people around me certainly are. And I think I can write about it all in a sufficiently over-dramatized and colorful manner (but I'm not a liar like James Frey). So I hope you enjoy the weirdness. I hope you grow to like the study of law as much as I do. And I hope you find my writing interesting, thought-provoking, and sometimes funny or poignant. In other words, I hope you read me.