Tonight I judged a mock trial for the first time in my life, and as tough as mooting (arguing at a mock trial was), I'd say judging is harder! *laughter* If you're counsel in a mock trial, you've only got to keep track of two arguments - yours and opposing counsel's. If you're a judge, you've got to keep track of four! And you've got to tell them what they did right and what they did wrong, not only legally, but procedurally. Such as, they could have fantastic courtroom manner, and a stellar argument, but when they call you Your Honour you just know they've been watching too much American television. It's one of the most basic principles of English courtroom manner that the judge is never addressed as Your Honour. It's "Your Lordship". Or Ladyship, in the interests of gender equality. It was absolutely great. I went to bed at 4am in the morning (superfluous yes) because I was up preparing the arguments, and today just went great. I don't think anyone knows how nervous I am when it comes to these things. It never shows. But I am.
What I love about doing this is that when I'm judging or mooting, everything, everything outside of the moot, leaves my mind. There is no fandom, there is no world outside the here and now, there is just the argument and the knowledge that I've got everything I need to bring it crashing down. Law is the ultimate power trip. Well, one of them, at least. It's when I'm making an argument that I am at my most confident and assured, because I know I'm right and I can prove it. It isn't like the subjectivity of friendships and relationships and stories and everything else I love. It's something entirely other, and that's what makes it take your breath away.
Before I started this degree, when I thought I had to become a lawyer if I did this, one of the things I most wanted to do was to become one of those lawyers who made you want to become a lawyer. Because I've had that in my life. If I'm any good at all it's because I met people who were good, and I know it when I see it, and I know that's what I want to be. From the days I was in school and on job shadowing in law firms, to being an intern, and even when I'm a student reading one of the clearest and most satisfying judgements I've ever read in my life, I've had these moments when I know This is it. This is worth everything. And that's something to remember, because everything is difficult! Everything! Everything that's worth anything to you will be difficult! Sometimes you're going to hate your work! Sometimes you're going to hate the people around you! Sometimes you're going to hate yourself. Oh, that's the worst one, when you think, or know, that you just aren't good enough. I get so frustrated sometimes, but that's not what this is about.
I've used the analogy, before, of my law degree and I being much like a match-made marriage. I didn't love the law. I chose it. I didn't love it the way I loved history and literature. But one can learn to love. And sometimes, in moments like these, I know everything was worth it.