Next Thursday, February 4, at 3:30 pm in the Courtroom, the Law School will present its sixth Pitt Law Academy program for this year: “Is It Possible to Be a Super Star Lawyer and Still Have a Personal Life/Family?”
The three panelists who will be speaking here next week are in a word: “special.” Truly. They really are. Each of them is incredibly insightful, entertaining, and interesting. They should be. To be a really good lawyer (and maybe, eventually, a really good judge), you’ve got to be able to tell a good story.
Our three story-telling panelists, all Pitt Law grads on this panel, are:
- Hal Coffey, Blumling & Gusky (Pittsburgh; practice area: commercial real estate)
- Necia Hobbes, Associate, Jones Day (Pittsburgh Office; practice area: civil litigation)
- Honorable Marilyn Horan, Judge, Butler County Court of Common Pleas (confirmation pending to be a federal District Court judge, Western District of Pennsylvania)
So . . . you surely remember the mantra by heart by now: The Pitt Law Academy program is designed to assist you in thinking about life after law school. And, honestly, what more important after-Law-School topic can there possibly be than your personal life? Am I right? Are you planning to have one?
Well, if you are, you’ve probably heard the horror stories: legal practice – especially litigation – means that you will be worked to the bone; you will be virtually enslaved if you work in a law firm; you will never get to see your family; you will have no social life; the work is all-consuming, etc., etc.
So, is this true? Is it really true? Should you consider dropping out of law school right now and becoming a plumber? There are always leaks to be caulked (or whatever . . . I don’t know). What have you gotten yourselves in for? What should you/can you expect?
And if the practice of law is really as scary as it is sometimes cracked up to be, why would anyone do it for a living? Why? Why? Why? Glad you asked. That’s some of what Hal, Necia, and Judge Marilyn will talk about. How can you be a lawyer – a really, really top-notch lawyer or judge – and still have a reasonable and rewarding personal life? Who knows what their answer will be? Three years ago, one of the lawyers speaking on this panel explained how his all-consuming professional life ended his first marriage and made it difficult to make arrangements to even see his kids from that relationship.
Anyway, our three panelists next Thursday will offer you some insights about what it means to live a life in the law, and how to live a “real” life at the same time. And I’ve asked them to talk about whether they would do it all again if they were in your shoes today. Was it worth it? They will tell you the truth. They are not shy. You’ll see.
Last but not least, there will also be the sort of elaborate post-panel Reception you have all come to expect at PLA events, immediately following this presentation. I was going to serve champagne and caviar on – you know – those little, toast-point things. Hey, everything was all set. But then, I thought, . . . . naaaah! They really seem to love those Pitt cookies. So . . . cookies, it is. And not-yet-ripe fruit slices. Yummo! You know what? If tuition is going to go up anyway, the least you should get out of this experience is a cookie, and a piece of hard cantaloupe. Done. All of this for “free” (excluding consideration of your tuition dollars). You’re welcome.
So don’t be shy! Come to the Reception after the presentation and share a chocolate-frosted, marshmallow-macademia-nut cookie with sprinkles with one of our panelists! Come and meet and talk to some of the people who you may someday face in court or be in front of in court or negotiate with over a commercial real-estate lease. Butter them up now. Maybe they will hurt you less when you see them again in a few years. (Update: no chocolate-frosted, marshmallow-macademia-nut cookies with sprinkles; if we purchased them for you, we’d have to cut out one of our Clinics. We thought about it but, for now, we’re going with the Clinics.)
2Ls and 3Ls: Don’t miss the networking opportunities here, upperclass persons. Pitt Law Academy. It’s where all the cool kids are. Word.
Professor John M. Burkoff