Thursday, August 16, 2007

The House of the Law

When I was a young woman
I moved into the house of the Law.
I dwelt there as a
Stranger living in a strange land.
Harsh it was,
All rectangles with ruler-straight
Lines. Clinically sterile it seemed.
Under glaring lights of Reason,
I divorced emotion,
Amputated my senses.

Now, I have made for myself
A small mouse’s nest
Beneath a cornice
In the grand house of the Law.
Comfortably curving
Walls that hold
The trembling soul
Like a bird held
In a gentle hand.

Dear OOTJ readers, this poem tries to explain the emotional landscape I found practicing law and now being a law librarian. There were certainly things I enjoyed about practice. But I did feel like a stranger in a strange land. Looking back at law school, I see a large part of the education for me was trying to learn to divorce my emotions, and become a more purely rational creature (rather like Mr. Spock in the original Star Trek series, I suppose). I do not mean to imply that this is the experience of all lawyers or law students, but I do wonder if others felt the same pressure to fit a mold left from earlier centuries when law was a purely masculine enterprise.

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