EMBARRASSING LAW MOMENTS
Seong Ho, 51, Intellectual Property Law
After studying hard all through school and law school, I began my first real job at a major company, and I had no idea what to expect. I remember walking into the office forty-five minutes early to set up my desk and get everything ready. When I found my desk, it was already covered with papers and files. My boss was there too, and he began lecturing me in front of some of the other workers for not keeping my desk clean. I was terrified and could not speak. I actually started to cry which was extremely embarrassing. My boss and coworkers laughed; my boss told me that he does that to all new workers as a joke, and then he and the other coworkers welcomed me to the department and helped me get settled in. I have been with the same company ever since.
Samantha, 32, Family Law
During my first divorce case, I met my husband. He wasn’t one of the parties to the divorce; he was one of the lawyers. I am not sure if you could call it love at first sight, but our first meeting to discuss the terms of the divorce was incredibly awkward. I remember I could not stop blushing and it was very hard to focus. The next meeting I was more composed, but he was the one that was blushing and finding it hard to focus. It was very difficult for us to maintain a professional demeanor throughout the divorce, but we had a duty to our clients first and foremost. After all the legal issues of the divorce were finalized, we got married a few months later.
Joel, 38, Military Law
The start of my military law career was a disaster. Most people tend to say that I am anal retentive about the little things; that I leave no stone unturned, cover all the bases, or any other analogy. So when it came time for me to take on my first case, I naturally spent every waking moment weeks before the case preparing for every eventuality. I remember I walked into court supremely confident, some might even say cocky. I knew the case inside and out and was prepared for anything. I had all my questions lined up, but when the defendant responded with a surprise answer, I cracked. My mind went blank; I stammered and stuttered, my uniform was soaked with sweat, and my legs felt rubbery. The judge asked me if I wanted a recess to compose myself, and I gladly said yes. The rest of the day was marginally better, but it went nothing like I expected.
Erika, 25, Law Student
I grew up in China and transferred to a small university in the USA a few years ago. One thing I was really looking forward to was gaining some practical experience while studying, so I volunteered at a local law firm for the summer. I had an idea of what working for a firm would look like in my head, but the real thing was completely different. There were so many things to do that I spent most of the summer finishing a task and then immediately starting another. Between my work at the office and taking some summer classes, I totally forgot about registering for the classes I needed on time, and had to plea with my professors to allow me in. Fortunately they understood.
Submit your most embarrassing "law student" stories for our September Student Issue here.
Interviews by: Daniel Burnette, Freelance Writer for Lawyer’d Magazine