Viewpoint: Reading, writing and law school


    By Christopher Seifert

    I am a writer.

    I don”t say this because I expect to ever win a Pulitzer Prize or land a book on the New York Times bestseller list. I don”t profess any exceptional talent, really. I simply claim the venerable title of writer because I”ve been doing it since I was 6 years old.

    My writing career began when I wrote and illustrated the adventures of “Wally the Walrus.” That adventure spawned several sequels, in fact, with my primary readership consisting of my immediate family and home teachers.

    Even then, I knew there was nothing quite like creating something new and wonderful and uniquely mine. There is a rush that comes to any writer or artist at the end of the creative process, I suppose. It”s a feeling I can”t get enough of.

    Why then, as I enter my final semester of college, do I find myself filling out applications to law schools almost automatically?

    Yes, law school.

    When my father first learned my intentions, I was certain his next step was to excommunicate me from the family. Lawyers are liars, thieves, crooks. Everyone knows that. I might as well go find a nice job in used car sales.

    Sure, lawyers do a lot of writing, you say, but I”m still not certain legalese qualifies as writing in my book.

    I once heard a professor say that too many BYU students are faithless when selecting their majors and/or future occupations. (The professor was paraphrasing Hugh Nibley or a general authority”s neighbor, I think.) If students had real faith, the professor said, they would put their lives in God”s hands and choose the career that made them happiest. If you truly love what you”re doing, you”ll do it well enough to make a living, he said.

    I prided myself on not being one of those sellouts.

    I mean, really, how many students in the Tanner Building sincerely want to be there? How many wouldn”t rather be in the HFAC playing violin or the JKHB reading Shakespeare? How many of us give up on dreams in exchange for the bigger paycheck and some stability?

    And yet, maybe writers have something even more important than either of those things: a sense of fulfillment. We writers like to tell ourselves we”re doing our part to illuminate the human condition. Surely, what we do makes a difference. But good lawyers can make a difference too.

    So maybe this law school fiend in me wants to have its cake and eat it too. Perhaps, for me, law is the middle ground between personal fulfillment and stability.

    Yes, I”ve been through this all a thousand times in my mind. The challenge of law school is alluring. Who knows, maybe there isn”t a place for me in law school, and I”ll find a good newspaper job somewhere. But I keep thinking I”m selling myself short if I don”t at least give this thing a try.

    Deep down, though, the writer in me can”t help feeling just the slightest bit guilty.

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