Faking it

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Do you remember the day you learned that you had passed the bar exam? Sure you do. We all do. We also remember how we felt when we got the news.

Me? I was relieved. Not excited. Okay, maybe a little excited but more relieved than anything else because I knew I would never have to go through that again.

I was also proud of myself. Passing the California Bar, arguably the toughest in the country, first time out–yeah, I was proud of that. All that hard work had paid off.

I boxed up the books and the notes, got sworn in, and got to work.

I had clerked throughout law school so the work was familiar. The moment I opened my own office, however, everything changed.

Having that license meant I was responsible. People depended on me. If I messed up, I had nobody to blame but myself.

Eventually, I got comfortable being in the captain’s chair. Okay, who am I kidding? I was scared to death. I was sure that my clients would see right through me and know I didn’t know what I was doing.

I would be unmasked as a fake. A fraud. A boy in his father’s three-piece suit.

But I did know what I was doing. Enough, at least, to get the job done.

As I gained experience, the work got easier. I became more confident. Case by case, client by client, I grew into the role of a trusted advisor and successful professional.

Building my practice was hard but worth it. I enjoyed the challenge and I enjoyed helping people and when the money was good, it was very good.

My practice eventually led me to other things. Other mountains to climb. I was (mostly) successful there, too, but I often wonder if I would have been happier doing those things instead of going to law school.

I don’t know. All I know is that things have worked out well. Probably the way they were supposed to. And that’s exciting.

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