Sunday, July 15, 2007

NEWSFLASH: "Rocking Chair Season Has Officially Begun!"

In case you weren't aware, Rocking Chair Season has Officially Begun! Who knew? Not me.
This was the scene outside of the local Cracker Barrel restaurant, located conveniently off of the Interstate that runs past/through Binghamton. It is hilarious to me that the restaurant, which is a big East Coast chain not unlike Marie Callendar's, is completly oriented to toward the highway and literally doesn't even have a sign that faces the run-down Binghamton side of the property. The restaurant was so un-B-town I thought I was somewhere else: it was orderly, had attractively arranged inventory in the store, sold reasonably nice stuff. Crazy! Was I in a different city?

What was I doing there? I had stopped in on the way to Albany a few weeks back, in order to pick up a book-on-tape for the 2 1/2 hour drive to Albany. I had to go to Albany in order to get "sworn-in" to the New York bar in a way-too-elaborate ceremony. In California, I got sworn-in at the Shrine Auditorium (then home of the Academy Awards) in a 5 minute ceremony, but I literally could have been sworn-in by my secretary, because any Notary Public can swear you in.

NOT the case in New York. Little did I know that passing the bar was only the first step in my long journey to be admitted to the New York bar. I had to submit the most ridiculous application that required me to get notarized letters from all my previous law-related employers EVER. I had to call random lawyers in California who I worked for only briefly, leaving voicemails like "Hello, this is the former Anne Samuelson. Let's flash back together, to the summer of 1996 when I was a summer clerk in your office."

Ridiculous, I tell you. I cannot believe I got even one of them returned. Then I had to have an interview- an INTERVIEW! in order to pass the moral character portion and be admitted. The best part was that this is such a small town that my interviewer was another Special Counsel at my own law firm!

After all of this rigamarole, I finally passed the moral portion and even THAT was not the end of my trek. Next, I had to return to the scene of the crime, travelling all the way to Albany by myself on a Tuesday in a formal ceremony, and getting admitted in the same awful subterranean convention center room where I took the bar exam in February. Apparently I was really speedy about getting admitted- there were people in the ceremony who had passed the JULY bar and were just now getting sworn in. Talk about erecting barriers to entry into the legal profession- GEEZ! New York is crazy with its bureaucracy! At least it was only in the 90s and 90+% humidity in Albany that day, and I was wearing a black suit . . . .

At the end of the day, though, I can now say I'm still admitted to practice law in the two toughest- and most different- states in the country. Almost made me want to buy one of those damn rocking chairs just to celebrate!

No comments: