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Archive for September, 2012

The walk from the law school to Yorkside was short, which was fine with me; I wanted this to be a short conversation. As a dutiful daughter, I felt the need to update my mother on important developments in my life, but I had no desire to get caught up in a long argument about my life and career choices.

“Hi Mom. How are you?”

“Oh, fine. Waiting for your father to come home from a job so we can have dinner. And your sister is coming over. Almost done cooking — I made sinigang. Too bad you’re not here, it’s one of your favorites. What’s up?”

“I just wanted to let you know — I’m going to be in Los Angeles next week. I have a clerkship interview with a judge out there.”

“You’re flying out to L.A.? Next week? How much is your ticket?”

“Five hundred or so,” I said (omitting mention of the taxes and fees).

“Five hundred? That’s a lot. Why aren’t they paying for your travel? Like the law firms?”

“I had to buy it on short notice. And this isn’t a law firm, Mom. This is for a clerkship. With a federal judge. It’s the government.”

My mother sighed, in Queens. I heard it, in New Haven.

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Call me Audrey. I am a lawyer, so I will begin with disclaimers and disclosures.

First, I am a lawyer, not a poet. My prose is clear and intelligent, but workmanlike. The story I’m about to tell should hold your attention, since it is compelling and true. Indeed, everything set forth in these pages is substantially true, and within the truth; I wouldn’t be taking the time to share these recollections if I didn’t think they would interest anyone or provide useful information to those who might follow in my footsteps. But if you’re looking for lyrical passages that will make your heart stir, look elsewhere.

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Preface

“What’s new?”

“What are you working on these days?”

“What’s next for you?”

Questions like these, often posed with the best of intentions, fill me with anxiety. The implication of such queries is that I, as a (relatively) young and ambitious professional, should have something novel and exciting to boast about in response. But I don’t really — which is why I find them so oppressive.

I’ve had the same job, running the legal website Above the Law, for more than six years. I’ve lived in the same apartment for more than four years. I’ve been in the same relationship for almost three years. And I’m happy about all of these things.

But the implication of “What’s new?” or “What’s next?” is that these things are not enough (even if they are enough for me, and even if they make me happy). I am supposed to be richer, more famous, and more fabulous. And if I’m not, well, then I need to be more ambitious. Supremely ambitious.

Hence this project, which I have dubbed Supreme Ambitions.

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