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Confused DirectionTen years ago, eight years after starting the Public Service Project at Stroock, I wrote an article in the New York Law Journal called “Pro Bono at the Crossroads.” The occasion was twofold: the first National Pro Bono Week and Halloween. It was a reflection piece. The intersection of pro bono publico and Halloween mirrored a career crossroads for me when, in my mid-twenties, I chose between a career in academics or the law. I had started toward a doctorate in English literature, focusing on critical theory and Gothic literature. For me, Gothic was about ordinary peoples’ responses to extraordinary and inexplicable changes in the world, changes that rippled through their community and their psyche, rendering both at least temporarily unrecognizable. With the world unbalanced, how would order be restored, if at all? Thrilling, but it was academia and it was in my head. I chose the law because for me it is a more practical response to that profound question and both my heart and my head lead me there. The law is an evolving text, and I was interested in reading and applying it on behalf of society’s underdogs, the long-shots and disenfranchised.

Looking back, I’m grateful for choosing the law. I’m grateful because of the rule of law itself, the lifeblood of our democracy; not an abstract concept, but the real fabric of our society, the norms, rules, checks and balances that attempt to level the field and create opportunity. In this deeply disordered time in the United States, I am especially grateful.

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