When KWIKH partner Shawn Holley returned from Dublin, Ireland a few days ago, fresh from receiving Dublin University Law Society’s Trinity Praeses Elit Award (see the News item directly below this one), she probably assumed that brief highlight of her legal life was complete. Not so fast, Shawn.
When you give an address to a group of people, as Shawn did during the award ceremony, you never know what effect your words will have. And it’s funny how life so often repeats itself. Back when Shawn was interviewing at the end of her second year of law school, she found herself pulled in a new and interesting direction that she hadn’t considered before. When the administration of her law school encouraged her to follow her heart and this exciting new path, it changed her life.
Fast-forward to today. Shawn received the following email from Dublin:
Dear Shawn Holley,
I am a final year Law student at Trinity College Dublin where you recently gave an address that I attended. I apologise for taking up your time with this email but I didn’t get a chance to speak with you in the conversation room afterwards.
I wanted to tell you how much I and surely many others appreciated what you said that day. I certainly expected you to be entertaining but didn’t anticipate that you would be so inspiring. I am still thinking over parts of your address and remembering some lines that really struck a chord.
In the final year of an undergraduate degree, there is a lot of pressure to decide what your next step will be. Perhaps the greatest difficulty is resisting the pull of the tide towards one particular career path that is in vogue at the time of your commencement; in my case, that of a corporate solicitor. In my preoccupation with avoiding this fate, I was on the verge of writing off law as a viable career option altogether. However, your words last Tuesday reminded me of all the other aspects of working in law and how rewarding they can be. I have just begun an externship with FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centre) and this too has shown me what a positive experience being a lawyer could be.
I hope you realise how encouraging you were that day to people like myself in that room, on the verge of making these decisions that will affect not just our immediate career paths, but our futures as a whole. I wish you all the best in your incredible career and that you take pleasure in the knowledge that I will bear your message in mind in the coming months and years: do what I love; find what makes me happy.