Though it seems strange at my age to be investing in my future, that is just what I have been doing this week. I have been busy working with a new client on a book project. Thanks to this author, I have earned enough money to not only pay off some bills, but also to pay for some things I have been putting off doing for my business. I will be applying for a business license this week, renting a P.O. Box, talking with a tax attorney, setting up my accounting software, and writing a few things of my own. I need to finalize a couple pages on my website regarding the services I offer. And I recently bought a license for a highly regarded editorial software program that I’ve just started using and absolutely LOVE!!!
Depending on how things go this coming week I may even be able to afford getting a designer to design a logo for me. Have been using one that is a slightly edited version of one I found on a printing site. I’ve been ok with using that one to start with, but it’s not really what I would like for people to ultimately associate with me as my “Brand.” It’s just not quite what I had in mind. It just doesn’t scream “ME!”
The most interesting part of all this is that the editing and research project I have been working on has taken me back into memories of my days working for law firms. Researching the evolution of law schools here in California (and elsewhere) made me kind of nostalgic for my job in Germany and the days when I was attending night school to get a paralegal certificate. Although the classes I was taking then (in 1990-1991) seriously taxed my stress levels, I really enjoyed the exercise they gave my brain.
At the time, I was extremely lucky to work in the one American law office in Germany that possessed a complete US law library. I also had a boss (the one and only time I had a generous one) who allowed me to use that library for class-required research and who gave me the opportunity to research write and write briefs for cases he was handling at the time. He used my briefs to present arguments in two appeals cases in the States and won both cases from my briefs. We both won in this arrangement. For once I worked in a job where I was appreciated and nurtured.
Unfortunately, early in 1992 my husband, who was career military, got caught up in the drawdown in the military that occurred at the end of Desert Storm. My boss tried to keep us in Germany, but because my husband could not speak much German, the US Consul (who was a close friend of my boss) could not find a way to justify my husband remaining in Germany on a work visa.
So, we got sent back to the States earlier than we had planned and for the first time in his life my husband was having to look for a job. It was an especially hard time to be out of work because the recession started about then and he was not able to find permanent work for a couple of years. In addition, our daughter graduated high school about that time and started college soon after we came back to the US.
My plan at the time we left Germany was to finish my paralegal classes as soon as we got settled in California. As soon as I looked into starting up my paralegal studies again, I discovered that no certification program would accept my paralegal classes from Germany as transferable credits to their program. A California legal certification program required that the classes actually be taught in California. This, despite the fact that I had not had any classes except Legal Research and Writing that would have required access to state law archives or California court procedure! I would have had to start completely over from Introduction to Paralegalism!
Interestingly, all the classes being taught in California at that time used the exact same books I used and taught the exact same curriculum as the one I had been enrolled in overseas. The classes I had taken were presented through an extension program from the University of Maryland. Had I been enrolled in a California university extension, I would have gotten credit for every one of my classes!
Needless to say, I was devastated.
I suspect that had I been able to finish, I might have eventually gone back to school to get my JD and become an attorney. As it turned out, though, all those things combined to make sure that I never completed my paralegal certification.
Now, as I am working on this author’s project I am finding that paralegal (and even JD) program requirements have changed in this state. If I were returning to California now and looking at completing my coursework for the certification, almost every course I had taken would be accepted. In fact, if I wanted to go back and finish the certification, I could now use CLEP tests to finish the coursework. CLEP tests were not allowed in California law schools then and were severely discouraged by the California Bar for any legal training.
These days the thing preventing me from pursuing this avenue of education is my age and my body’s adverse reaction to an accident I had in 1994. Stress almost completely debilitates me now and I really have to work to maintain a calm mind and body in order to prevent pain from overwhelming me. Even in situations that aren’t terribly difficult for a normal healthy bodied person to handle, my body rebels and pays me back for every moment I allow stress to get a toe in the door. Working in the law would definitely not be a positive thing in my life now.
Instead I am trying to start a business, which is not exactly stress-free under the best of circumstances, let alone when you have no money in the bank. And my first paying client has hired me to help her develop, research and edit her book about—
Wait for it…
How to survive the first year of law school and use yoga to control the stress of that year and as a working attorney.
The irony of this is not lost on me.