Thursday, August 30, 2007

Self-indulgent blather: My two worlds, part 1

Professionally, I live in two worlds.

Now, I don't mean to say I'm unique. We all live in many worlds. You may have a domestic world, a social world, and a professional world. I do too. All I'm trying to say is that in my job as a legal-writing teacher, I lived in two very different worlds.

I don't really know what to call these worlds, but here is how I would describe my first world.

In my first world, I am the Director of Legal Writing at a top-20 law school. My job carries with it prestige. I get respect. In my first world, I have written and published two books. The few people who have read them, liked them. In my first world, I get unsolicited invitations to write books and articles. In my first world, I am almost considered prolific because I maintain a blog, write and publish articles, and write and publish books.

In my first world, I am in demand as a seminar speaker. Lawyers pay me to talk about legal writing. Law firms hire me to tutor young attorneys on legal writing. In my first world, lawyers and law students like my classes. Sometimes they even rave. In my first world, I turn down speaking engagements because I don't have the time.

In my first world, my colleagues consult me with questions about writing. Lawyers email me questions about writing.

In my first world, companies hire me to rewrite their documents in plain English. State organizations ask me to apply my expertise to jury instructions. Students ask me to review their writing samples and to supervise their scholarly writing. Several students have asked me to supervise their work revising a legal-style manual.

In my first world, I am a capable, professional, legal-writing expert with the respect of my peers and of the practicing bar. My mother is proud of me. In my first world, even I sometimes have to pinch myself when I contemplate that a smart-aleck kid from a rural town--where the high school did not have advanced-placement courses--is now the director of legal writing at one of the finest law schools in the nation.

But my second world is different.

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