Excerpt: To be or not to be [a lawyer]

As a third year law student, I represented one young lady who’d been suspended from school for striking a teacher while she tumbled around in an altercation with another student.  The client had developmental problems and we'd been given a clear indication from the teacher that she didn’t believe she had been struck intentionally. Nonetheless, the girl was swept into the juvenile justice system.  Nobody stopped and paid enough attention to the case long enough to recognize that this child wasn’t a criminal.  In my naiveté, I assumed that this misunderstanding would most certainly be cleared up with a simple and direct explanation to the Vice Principal of her school. 
    I presented to the high school administration office in Tallahassee and waited patiently to speak with the principal.  After an hour passed, a gentleman emerged.  He stated that it was unnecessary that we go into his office.  We could speak in the lobby.  He was immediately hostile and exhibited a recognizable close-mindedness that I've encountered with many low level bureaucrats and managers.  It is a lemming lack of creativity that I suppose is necessary in mass production.   
    He was not the type of man who inspired people.  I was frustrated.  When it became clear that he had absolutely no intention of listening to anything I had to say, I excused myself and told him to have a nice day.  His face tightened and he sat up straight.  The unexpected response came, “I hope you have a bad day.”  I paused and looked back because I was sure that this man hadn't said what I'd heard.  The look on his face confirmed it.  It was one of the few times that I've found myself without words.  What do you say to something like that?  I hope you have a really bad day?  The Director of the Center shortly thereafter received a call complaining that I'd been too aggressive.  The Director was a paternal kind of guy and gently made the comment that they got a call like that once in a while.  I was that semester's lucky contestant.  It was early confirmation that I was destined for litigation.  I was making people mad and hadn’t even taken my first real case.  More importantly, it was a powerful lesson in the reality that solutions which seemed obvious to me either weren't always right or obvious to others.  President Harry Truman once said, "I sit here all day trying to persuade people to do the things they ought to have sense enough to do without my persuading them ..."  This could easily describe the day's work for many a lawyer.  The principal offered a sublime introduction as to my often ineffective powers of persuasion.  Many future occasions waited to reinforce this reality. 

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