I have a secret…

BY JEREMY BLACHMAN

I have a secret. And it’s getting more and more difficult to hide it. I think my family’s finally catching on. There’s only so much verbal gymnastics one can do before the truth is obvious. My friends here know my secret. It’s their secret too. It’s the elephant in the room. It’s okay to talk about it, but it’s embarrassing for other people to find out. I mean, it’s not our fault, but it can feel that way. Like we’ve done something wrong. Like we’re imposters. But I don’t think we are. I think somehow the expectations just don’t match the reality. People make certain assumptions. Heck, we make our own assumptions. But it turns out that the assumptions just aren’t true. And so we carry around our secret, a little bit ashamed, a little bit amused, a little bit concerned, a little bit puzzled, a little bit resigned, and a little bit angry.

Here it is: I don’t know any law.

That’s an overstatement, but not by much. I don’t know that I really thought about it before I started law school, but I feel like I must have assumed I’d graduate having more of a clue than I do. I’ve been noticing more and more lately. People cut you some slack when you say you’re just a student, but you tell them you’re about to graduate and they expect Perry Mason. After watching a segment on The Daily Show last week, I had a conversation with a friend about whether they would be allowed to film on the Harvard campus without permission. Neither of us had any idea. I have no clue what the difference between robbery, burglary, larceny, theft, and just plain stealing are. My cousin is a teacher. She asked me whether it’s legal to handcuff her students. I mean, it sounds illegal… but is that really a more informed answer than I would have given three years ago?

I plugged the words “what every lawyer should know” into Google. I found pages that tell me what every lawyer should know about today’s paralegal, what every lawyer should know about computer forensics, what every lawyer should know about electronic evidence and discovery, what every lawyer should know about the Florida code of judicial conduct, what every lawyer should know about reciprocal discipline, what every lawyer should know about title surveys, what every lawyer should know about the Plain English rules, what every lawyer should know about representing deaf clients, what every lawyer should know about winning and defeating summary judgments, what every lawyer should know about crop insurance, what every lawyer should know about Texas residential landlord/tenant law, what every lawyer should know about brain injuries, what every lawyer should know about lurking liability in business practice, what every lawyer should know about the role of psychologists in custody cases, what every lawyer should know about parliamentary procedure, what every lawyer should know about about anti-SLAPP motions under Code of Civil Procedure

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