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So how does an HSP who marches to a different drummer survive as a lawyer??

You may well ask.

Well first she gets lucky (a trait I seem to have which may or may not be related to the HSP/INFJ stuff) and goes to THE perfect law school. They encouraged is to really think. No hornbooks, we read every case from beginning to end with every footnote and every badly written account of what happened. Every. Single. Word. (In many cases much was not said that needed to be said. Like what happened at the level below in the appeal.)

Second the perfectionism that is so characteristic of the HSP helped. I read every case and I briefed every case. EVERY CASE. I didn’t resent it. I was thrilled to be there and thrilled to discover I was good at this stuff. (The 2 year SCALE program demanded dedication and motivation, and… determination. “Known as SCALE, the program features an accelerated law school curriculum that challenges students to master analytical reasoning and legal writing skills while remaining sensitive to ethical obligations and client needs.

A trailblazer since 1974, the SCALE Program has focused on integrating substantive knowledge and professional skills instruction, a model that is just now being incorporated into curricular reforms at many other law schools in response to the call for more practical skills training in legal education.”)

They–the school and our professors– also were determined to keep the destructive competition out of our experience, That helped, too.

I think the fact that i sued both sides of my brain probably helped–although the left brain was the one “hauling the laboring oar.” (It was years later that I realized why I had to listen to jazz while I studied– 4 or 5 hours at night, after class every single day. it gave my right brain something to do! Oh-and I don’t much like jazz.)

In any case, I didn’t study in the library. I sent home and jogged–outdoors in nature in the beautiful, tree filled  little town of Sierra Madre.This burned off anxiety and soothed my soul. The whole town did. And I didn’t have anyone else’s “stuff” distracting me. (Of course I didn’t know this was a factor then. I did know when I typed my Bar exam I was happy it was a much smaller group and there would be fewer crazies.)

So that’s how I survived that 2 years. I studied alone– no study groups for me. Probably an HSP control thing. I did all the work and did it on time. I did not wait until the last minute. (Control, perfectionism.)

And that is hw it all began.

So, as I was saying…

February 9, 2012 4 comments

I finally arrived in Sierra Madre on that rare day when you could see the mountains from the freeway–there was no visible smog. I got off at Baldwin Avenue and drive up into those foothills and felt a deep sense of… I think it was “home.” As usual (looking back) I had fallen into a GREAT place to live during those intense years of studying law. My roommate had graduated from SCALE and was the main reason I had realized that yes, I, too could go to law school, despite the unusual  undergrad degree I had from Goddard.

My half  of the rent was $50.00 a month–I had no idea until quite recently that this was NOT the going rate for the LA basin– I had just come from 6 years in the militarily in Mississippi and Guam. And the place was eccentric and charming–we had a GORGEOUS antique O’Keefe and Merrit stove and a tree growing up through our deck. 379 Sycamore. A great street in a magical little town. OK ,so Wayne was a ghastly roommate–left pots of food on the stove until they damn near got maggots, and had little quirks like that. He was, simply put–a PIG!  But I was so happy in my “genteel poverty” it didn’t faze me.

Someone asked yesterday “why law school? Why that law school?” Well, I will tell you. It felt right.  I had known for a long time I needed to do something with my life. Joining the military was my first step into adulthood. I did well on the language aptitude test and on the Officer’s Candidate School test, as well as on the LSAT. (Which I took with a nasty medical issue which was dealt with at MacDill AFB AFTER I finished the test!) But I decide on law school. Looking back I can think of various reasons this may have been important for me, but they were not reasons I had in mind when I made the call. It felt right. My interview had gone well and I had asked if they would admit me to SCALE. (Someone had told me if you asked they would tell you. I asked–they said “if everything you have told us is true, yes”. It was true– I am obsessed with truth.) I was in!

So I went. Why that law school? It felt right. Now I am getting pretty darn clear I had guidance of some sort, every step of the way. I was in many ways very confused, at least emotionally, but there was a part of me that KNEW… and I listened.

Thanks God for that. SCALE was far and away the most exciting experience I have ever had. I had no way to know I was avoiding the deliberate trauma and dehumanization inflicted on law students in “traditional” programs.

I was lucky. So lucky. NOW I know… I always have been.