E-mail from Maria Jimena Albarracin


I wish I could remember all the stories that Professor Bellow discussed in our class. Unfortunately, the ones that are the freshest on my mind are those he told during our last classes. searching back through my notes from last semester, I was disappointed that I had not written more of his stories down.  But then again, when Professor Bellow told his stories it was best to just sit back and listen.  Had I written them down as he spoke, I probably would have missed the full meaning behind them.  I would have not enjoyed them to the fullest extent.

So, I will write about one of the stories Professor Bellow brought up on what was to be his last class with us.  The topic of that class was "The Ethics of Counseling."  During that class, Professor Bellow stated that he was at the end of his career and that at the end of a career you want to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and be happy with yourself.  He spoke of how he can still hear his parents telling him to be just and to tell the truth.  In the end, he said, he was happy with his life as a lawyer.  He made choices which he was comfortable with, though they were not always popular with other attorneys.  He spoke of how many times other lawyers would treat him like an idiot because he would take the "moral" way rather than the common way.

He told us that we have to be prepared to face criticisms from our peers if we choose to stray away from the norm.  Other lawyers would look down on us and think our decision was not smart. But, in the end, those that followed the crowd often couldn't find a reason to justify their course of action.  They just hid behind the fact that every other lawyer was doing it.  Those lawyers weren't taking the time to question their actions, they were just copying those around them.

 I believe that is one of the reasons that lawyers are seen so poorly by society.  Lawyers are seen as devoid of conscience because many don't take the time to really question the reasons behind their decisions.  It leads me to think, how will I face these choices in my career?  What will I consider before making a decision?  How will I weigh my client's interests, the rules of professional conduct, and my morals?  There are no easy answers but it is reassuring to see someone like Professor Bellow who brings a touch of humanity to these questions.  He approached his cases with a lawyer's critical eye and with the heart of a human being.  I also hope that I don't lose my humanity by becoming a lawyer.

In stories like these, Professor Bellow made me proud that I had chosen to attend law school.   I chose to study law because I believed that the law was a tool to effect change in society.  I chose to study law because I believed that I had something to contribute to society to make it better, more equal, more just. Unfortunately, there have not been too many moments in law school which had reaffirmed my original inspirations to study law.  This was one of those moments that inspired me.  I hope that at the end of my career I can feel the same as Professor Bellow and be able to look in the mirror and be proud of the person looking back at me.  I am sure that I too will hear in my mind my family's life lessons.  Just like Professor Bellow, I hope I can make my family proud.

Thank you Professor Bellow for sharing your stories with us. I hope we make you proud of the lawyers we will become.
 

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