Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The lawyer

It's strange. Just as I decide to put all of my energy into this disability nonprofit we've started in Gainesville, somebody tries to pull me out to yet again remind me that I'm first and foremost and attorney. I chose not to start a solo practice. I never joined a law firm. In a way I got used the idea that people will always see me through my causes, my appeals for more accessibility more wheelchair inclusion and more awareness. I would be the curious one that is a disability advocate and perhaps a law educator, but not someone who ever sees the inside of a court house.  A person with a law license that seems more like a gimmick or a thing on the side - not something that I considered doing continuously or focusing on. I had other fish to fry I felt, I want to make a change, use my experiences in addition to my credentials to make a difference. But on Thursday I will be in a courthouse- not as a Lawyer On Wheels, a label I chose for myself, but simply as someone's lawyer. Somebody asked me to help them with their case- and I agreed. Not something I really contemplated doing for a living, but this is what I was trained to do. And it seems funny. But I often forget that aside from all the projects I have going on, I actually have a profession. And I have to say that it's a great feeling to be approached by someone not because of my physical state, not because of my history, not because of where I come from and how I got there, but because I have a skill. Because somebody has a problem that I was trained to help resolve. And it''s interesting how my instincts kick  in when discussing a legal issue with a client although it's been a while. And I incredibly enjoy it. Soon after another person approached me with another, unrelated problem and I think I will end up helping them too. And it has nothing to do with being in a wheelchair, coming from Poland, immigration, having been born with Cerebral Palsy, having a disability of any kind. It's been a while since I stepped out of those boxes I have written about on my blog. And I like it. No personal investment, no connection from any experience at all, just my intellect. And I could imagine myself doing purely legal work. I can see myself having a law practice if I so desire. I can picture myself doing contracts, family law and torts and being good at it. It's really a great feeling when people turn to you because you're qualified to help them with something they can't do themselves. And I often forget how helpless you can feel when you're overwhelmed by the problems you can't really grasp and how you need somebody to guide you and tell you what to do, although let me tell you, I'm no stranger to this feeling. But for every attorney preparation is key. And that takes time, dedication and focus. With that in mind I will not be blogging this week until Friday. Happy Memorial Day week  everyone!

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