Home > personal > So how DID a nice girl like me end up being a lawyer?

So how DID a nice girl like me end up being a lawyer?

This is me. . .Back when the world was simple and life was Good.

I have been asked more than once, “Did you always want to be a lawyer?” The answer: No. I never wanted to be a lawyer. When I was a small child, I thought it would be lovely to be a librarian. I loved to read, I loved books, and I thought it would be heaven to get to spend my life in a library. As I got older, I absolutely fell in love with dance. I dreamed of becoming a professional dancer for awhile, but I am and always have been a practically mind person. Dancers don’t live in Idaho, or Utah, or Wyoming, and I imagined I would live in one of those places to be close to my family.

I always planned on going to college, and I always planned on going to BYU. Through high school I thought less about What I Want to Be When I Grow Up and more about what I wanted to major in at the university. I was leaning toward English, until I discovered in the BYU catalog the Perfect Major: Dance Education. I could still be a dancer, but get teaching certification. This would make both me AND my parents happy! The best of both worlds.

So that was what I started out with. It lasted one semester. At the time I was trying to get into the dance program at the Y, a woman could not be admitted unless she was 18% body fat or less. I was not. I was around 20% at that point in my young life, and all the dance and aerobics classes on the planet didn’t seem to be able to get my fat percentage to budge. Rather than attempting to become a Stick Chick, I moved on.

By this time, I was really quite sick of college.  And I had just turned 18.  I went back to the BYU catalog to see what other majors there were.  I had taken an introductory Geology class first semester, and I loved it.  But the geology major required a lot of math and chemistry classes, both of which are not my forte, shall we say.  I was just trying to find a major I could STAND to take all of the classes for.  And I came across Clothing and Textiles.

CLTX was FUN.  I was a Self-Employment emphasis, so I had to take some business classes (Accounting 101, Managerial Economics, Small Business Management, that sort of thing).  But by and large this was a major for people who love clothes, fabric, and sewing.  I didn’t love sewing, but I figured if I knew what I was doing I would like it better.  And I did.

I graduated in April of 1996, with a Bachelor of Science in Clothing and Textiles.  My (then) husband teased me a lot about my major.  “What, are you majoring in pre-school?” he would say when I brought home another craft project from my Costume Design class.  Or the tired, “What did the CLTX major say to the Engineering major? Would you like fries with that!”  He thought he was really funny.  And I really didn’t care.  I was on the career path for what I REALLY wanted to be–The Mom.

Much Time Past, and 4 kids later, it became apparent that while I was still very good at being The Mom, I was NOT good at being married to my husband, try though I did.  I read all the books about fixing your marriage, listened to the lectures on cassette about fixing my marriage, did the worksheets on fixing my marriage.  I performed mental gymnastics to make my head believe that my marriage was great, and if it wasn’t, I just needed to try harder at fixing it.  My husband did not have any problems-they were all mine, and I accepted full responsibility for the entire train wreck that our marriage was.  You can only lie to yourself so long before yourself doesn’t believe it, and I sunk into a deep depression.  When I had been through enough therapy to determine that divorce was an alternative to suicide, I asked my husband for a divorce.  He argued with me about this for about 5 minutes, and then went out and got a lawyer and filed for divorce.

Just when it seems too dark to go on, there appears the Light. . .

It was fast.  If you roll over and die, give everything up, including your children and any part of the life and world you spent 10 years building with a spouse, you can be divorced DAMN fast.  I told my ex I wanted a divorce on March 4, 2005.  On March 17 I signed the stipulation; my divorce was finalized when the judge signed the documents on March 30.  Twenty-six whole days from start to finish.

But it hasn’t been “finished.”  Because of what I gave up, it has been a continued battle.  I will have been divorced 6 years in less than 2 months, and I continue to claw.  I went to law school when it became apparent that I couldn’t live on the little I was capable of making with a BS in Clothing and Textiles.  I had to pick a graduate program because I couldn’t get student loans to do a second bachelor’s degree (my first choice would have been secondary education.)  At the time I started law school, the economy was stable, and a JD seemed the most expeditious route to making enough money to have a life.

It’s been a fight.  I will spare you the details of the Divorce Modifications over the years, and the battle to maintain my standing as my children’s mother.  You really Don’t Want To Know.  I graduated from the University of Wyoming College of Law in May of 2010.  I spent the summer studying for and taking the Utah State Bar Exam.  I passed and was licensed in October 2010.

It’s not been as quick a route to paycheck as I thought.  But I’ve learned a lot–I get better everyday.  I enjoy the work I’m doing, mostly because I love helping people.  It feels good to be that person who prevents someone from coming out of a divorce as badly as I did.  No one should have to go through that.  None of MY clients will.

Do I regret going to law school?  I don’t think so.  I had some pretty exceptional experiences while in school, and met a lot of fabulous people.  I got stronger in Laramie.  I needed that.  But would I do it again?  Probably not.  Tech school may have been a better bet.

But now I’m here.  No going back.  The fight continues.  It’s a good thing I’m a fighter.

Categories: personal
  1. Kerry
    February 2, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    There are marriage worksheets? Seriously?


    • February 2, 2011 at 2:20 pm

      All of the books have the “Take this quick quiz to pinpoint your marital problems,” or “answer the following simple questions with your mate.” I ended up doing the hubby’s half of these too, because he didn’t have time, and we didn’t have any problems anyway. Right.


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