Friday, December 19, 2014


The last four days - basically a weekend - has involved a cornucopia of achievement, emotion and tears. None of the acheivement was mine; all of it the product of tenacity, perseverance and guts on the part of our daughters. I offer the next blogs in order of their occurrence, so as not to advance, or minimize, any one moment.

Law school has been described as - a place for intellectuals who can't stand the sight of blood (or else they'd be MDs, not JDs), and an institution where they scare you to death (first year), work you to death (second year) and then bore you to death...until you graduate. Becoming a doctor of jurisprudence is a considerable achievement that is only a beginning.

Passing the bar exam takes hard work, focus and a single mindedness rivalling anything NASA can achieve. If a candidate panics failure isn't just an option, it's a certainty. Remain calm and the necessary feeling of phobic competitiveness vanishes. The fine middle ground is indescribable, except to lawyers.

Beth Mason presented herself two days ago in the august chambers of the Maryland Court of Appeals, to be sworn in as an attorney, and counselor at law. There was the usual harangue from bench and podium - the polysyllabic versions of "Don't fuck this up" presented by an attorney with cachet, and an old justice who'd seen it all.

Friends and family sat in prideful audience, smartphones and tablets extended. Amidst an abundance of Millers, our new lawyer stood, said her name aloud, and was sworn in as a member of the historic Maryland Bar.

I am going to, for once, allow my native arrogance out for a romp. Only lawyers understand the sacrifice, the deprivation, the difficulty and the awesome responsibility raising the right hand means. If a human being's freedom is granted by the Creator, it is safeguarded, defended and nurtured at the bar by lawyers. The men and women standing in the courtroom accepted more than just a title.

They hold in their hands the challenge of making a free society work.

That our daughter has accepted that challenge - is worthy of it - is a profound achievement that reflects not just her amazing intellect, or her single mindedness. It is her compassion calling out.

Congratulations, Beth Mason, esquire.

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