My Advanced Legal Research professor, SMU’s amazing Donna Wolff, taught me to follow the Michael Jackson rule when it comes to conducting research: don’t stop ’til you get enough. The logic is that when the case law starts overlapping and referring back to what’s already been reviewed, the research circle has closed and that phase of the project has ended. The hard work of applying that newfound knowledge begins.
Until now, my approach to law school has been to experience as much variety in the legal internships and jobs I take as possible to better define what practice area and career path to pursue upon graduation. The problem is that, with the exception of family law, I have enjoyed all the work so far.
A recent tour of the FBI showed me that the Michael Jackson rule might apply to my law school journey, as well. The agent leading us through the facility mentioned that the agency’s old headquarters was housed in the West End. Following the Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995, the powers that be determined that the headquarters should be less accessible to the public and thus, less amenable to attack.
It clicked for me then that I had worked in the West End building he referenced as a baby law student two summers ago. It is a beautiful space and serves as home to several companies, including the labor and employment boutique I clerked for.
As my time at the USAO winds down — tomorrow is my last day here, sadly — it resonates, too, that my experiences have started overlapping. My work at the U.S. Attorney’s Office brought me to the FBI headquarters, which used to be in a place I’ve already been. With law school graduation looming in December, I realize that the research circle is closing. Perhaps, that phase of this process has ended. The time has come for me to apply the knowledge gained from three summers of work and nearly four years of school, and boldly step into the future.
I eagerly anticipate everything that lies ahead.