“Have you ever considered law school?”
If you are a performer in your late twenties or early thirties who hasn’t managed to hold down steady work as an actor, you may begin to hear questions like this from your family.
My parents have always been supportive of my desire to be a performer, but after all the ups and downs on the bumpy road of an actor’s life in New York City, I think they’d be pretty psyched if I finally chose a path that might guarantee good money and a respectable, steady career. To have a child grow up to become a doctor or a lawyer is a parent’s dream, but since the image of me performing open heart surgery makes them feel uneasy, becoming a lawyer is the next best thing.
“You are such a smart girl, and you’re certainly good at arguing,” my Mom says on a weekly basis. “A law degree can help you in any field and you’ll be able to become financially secure, maybe even rich!,” my Dad says hopefully. They both stare down at me as I pretend to be absorbing and considering their words of wisdom.
Inside, however, these words stir up a profound nausea. A churning, if you will, of heart, mind, and stomach. While I always loved being in school, the thought of sitting through three years of studying torts and contracts makes my soul hurt a bit. Whilst I respect those who have worked hard and passed the bar exam, I often wonder what made them choose that particular path. Has it always been their goal, or did they choose it by default because nothing else worked out for them? Maybe they were pressured to do it? Maybe they just didn’t know what else to do?
“The Artist vs. Lawyer” debate is what I have dubbed this discussion with my parents. It happens on a weekly, and sometimes daily, basis. But my mother is right about one thing, I am a good debater. So far, I have managed to win my case. As time marches on, however, the stakes get higher. I have to fight harder, and find new angles and loopholes to save myself from a life of legal briefs.
It’s true, I would make an excellent lawyer. But I’d make an even better actress portraying a lawyer in a starring role on Law & Order. Hear that, Mr. Casting Director?