Warshow: “Stumbling Into The Law,” Above the Law


Sometimes a series of rash decisions can lead to a satisfying legal career.

In order to introduce myself, I feel it would be most helpful to explain how I became a legal professional, since Above the Law is a website about the legal profession. We all have our origin stories, so here is mine.

I must admit that I never thought I’d be an attorney until I actually became an attorney, and even then there was a feeling of “How’d I get here?” I was born to immigrant parents who had moved to the United States from the Soviet Union a few years before my birth. As such, English was not my first language. As I learned more English vocabulary, “doctor” and “lawyer” remained the only two professions I knew the words for — uncoincidentally because they were the two jobs my family was vocally in favor of. For several years, I assumed that in life you could become a doctor or you could become a lawyer, despite the fact that my parents were neither. Thus, when my cousin and I were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, and she quickly answered “lawyer,” I answered with the only other logical and available option, “doctor.”

The assumption that I was going to become a doctor, based on this spur-of-the-moment answer, continued for so long that I eventually attended a magnet high school specializing in medical education. It was mere weeks into my freshman year when I realized I had absolutely no interest in medicine. Or science. But I had to continue on for four years, learning anatomy, physiology, radiology, pharmacology, et al., knowing full well I would never use this training.

I entered college without a clear career path, but majored in journalism after enjoying an internship at a celebrity magazine and having a life-long love of writing. But I was faced with the reality of choosing an actual career path at the start of my junior year, when I was informed by my college advisor that I should have enough credits to graduate at the end of that year. Although I hadn’t considered foregoing my senior year of college, one mention of this interesting tidbit to my parents was followed immediately by a phone call from my grandparents congratulating me on graduating early. And so the decision was made. This left me scrambling to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

Enter Elle Woods. While watching “Legally Blonde” one evening, a friend turned to me and said “maybe you should go to law school and figure it out from there.” I believe my response was “yeah, that works.” What now feels like a minute later, I had taken the LSATs and gotten into law school. In some stories, this is where a secret passion breaks free, but I felt no such passion. Law school was interesting and challenging, but I saw it as a stepping stone to something else — I just didn’t know what that something else was. (It was, however, where I made some lifelong friends who remain daily presences in my life. Unlike most reality TV stars, I was there to make friends. Oh, and it was also where I met my husband.) …

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