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Portrait of the Artist as a Crow Girl: trying on my barrister's robes for the first time.

Portrait of the Artist as a Crow Girl: trying on my barrister’s robes for the first time.

I had been feeling rather rueful about my long silence on this blog (and on all my other social media networks, for that matter). That silence was finally broken this past week, when I recently had a chance to finish a post I’d started some time back.

It feels good to have posted something recent. I really miss it when I don’t get the time.

But ultimately, this latest milestones blog post is about the lacuna in my Kat Anthony self’s developments and adventures. Because as with most of us, my author self’s activities are very much subject to the demands of my day-to-day self.

And that other self, the lawyer-in-training, learned in late April that I would not be hired back at the firm where I did my articling (for those of you who don’t know the term, this refers to a required practicum in the licensing process, like a residency for medicine. In Canada, we write the bar exams, but then we also have to work for ten months under the supervision of an experienced lawyer).

Articling generally involves a short term, no obligation contract. Because of the general slowdown in the industry, alongside the fact that law schools have not slowed at all in accepting and graduating students, there are far fewer jobs than there are candidates for the jobs. Evidently, the firm where I articled just wasn’t busy enough to justify taking on a junior associate (we are high-maintenance, high-supervision creatures, alas).

And so, in the wake of that news, I went into a tailspin of IRL activity–updating my resume, enhancing my LinkedIn profile, going to networking events, speaking with others about jobs and availability (those student loans and monthly bills sure aren’t going to pay themselves). A difficult process, between the stress of not knowing what, if anything would turn up, and the fatigue of the introvert having to go out and be social (I suspect I’m actually probably more of an ambivert, but on the introverted end of that designation).

It took a lot out of me, to say the least.

But I was also really touched by the abundance out there and the kindness of the people I’ve come to know in the community. I had so many people provide me with names and contacts of people in local firms, or pass along my name to colleagues who were looking to hire. I received phone calls and invitations to apply and had the opportunity to interview with a number of places in town. And through it all, I felt such gratitude.

I ended up getting an amazing offer: to work with two lawyers I really respect, at a firm that has a great reputation, doing precisely the kinds of law I wanted to be doing. I’m still marvelling at my great good fortune. It’s as if I had written that offer myself–it couldn’t have been better crafted to what I want to be doing.

This in turn means that when I get Called to the Bar in one week, I’ll actually have a job on the other side of it. In celebration, I’ve posted a photo of me trying on my robes for the first time, when I went to pick them up from the robe maker last week. (It looks like I’ll likely be arguing in court. In Canada, lawyers have to wear robes when they appear before judges in most levels of court. The robed lawyers at court and chatting outside courtrooms always remind me of crows, in their long black robes with gathered, billowing sleeves like dark wings. Thus: Crow Girl.)

On the other hand, I’m not sure what this will all mean for Kathryn Anthony, and so it’s something of a bittersweet prospect. Lawyers, after all, are not reputed for their nine-to-five existences, and my health and energy challenges mean that I might not have too much extra left at the end of the day.

But I also know that she’s an essential part of who I am. The writing I do as Kat speaks to–and is an expression of–an essential part of my soul. Going forward, the moments may be more stolen and fleeting than ever–brief rendez-vous amid days overflowing with the flurries and demands of work. But sooner or later, I will always be back.

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