She did it. My daughter, Allison Sarah Hunter, is now a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School.
For the first diploma ceremony, bagpipers led the graduates — law in octagonal tams, public policy and social work in mortarboards — through the folding chairs in the Harper Quadrangle. Then came the faculty in the robes and various headgear. One guy had a purple fuzzy ball on top of his. A Nigerian women specializing in the genetics of breast cancer spoke. I think she was for education. Then the reading of the names and handing of diplomas.
Then law grads and families trooped to the Rockefeller Chapel for the hooding. Two speeches: An enthusiastic grad who’d founded International Justice Mission, helping the Third World poor, told grads to enjoy themselves by finding a sense of purpose. Then Judge Richard Posner talked about the changing economics of the legal profession and predicted it would be even more the survival of the fittest but that was OK because they were the fittest. Then the names were read again. Some grads were “hooded” by a spouse, fiance or parents: Quite a few were fathers hooding daughters, I noticed. One grad is a severely disabled woman in a wheelchair accompanied by her service dog. They did not pull Allison out of line for overdue library books.
Afterwards, we walked to the Law School to stand in long lines to fill very small plates with food. Jonathan, a high school friend of Allison’s who’s living in Chicago, found us Diet Cokes. Good man. He’s starting law school in the fall in hopes there will be jobs three years from now.
Most of Allison’s classmates will not start work on schedule. The law firms that offered them jobs don’t have enough work and can’t afford to bring them on right away. Some will delay for a few months. Allison agreed to take half pay to defer her law firm job for a year, during which she’ll do family law at a legal aid clinic in San Francisco. I don’t know if she’ll find her joy handling domestic violence, divorce and child custody cases, but she’ll be a useful member of society. In fall, 2010, she may start her corporate career. Or the job may vanish, in which case, “I’ll have experience in low-wage law,” she says.
In other family news, my husband has admitted he misheard the name of his new granddaughter when he first got the news from his son-in-law. The baby is Julia rather than Juliet. Grandpa John is pleased because her birthday, 6-11-09, reads the same upside down. We have photos!