A week or two ago, I was telling some friends how I frequently get asked vague, legal questions by family, friends, and acquaintances and how it sometimes amuses me that I'm expected to know the answer to every legal question out there. The questions are all on different topics and on the odd occasion, I actually have an answer.... but often I'm left wondering whether I have totally let that person down by my lack of knowledge, or whether I have missed the real point of the question by focusing on one narrow legal issue rather than the big picture.
I recently found something out that made me realize sometimes people ask questions with long, complicated hypothetical scenarios, but the truth is somewhere buried within the abstract... possibly intentionally buried, for me to discover. It made me feel like an idiot not to have figured out the situation earlier on, having been so focused on the legal problem and having missed the person completely. I used to think I was a good listener, but I'm not so sure any more. It's so hard to interpret the feelings behind a statement, the personal problem behind the stated legal problem. Of course, law school trained me to think about the issue, the ratio, the analysis, the conclusion (gah!) - but what about the person ... the family ... the emotions?
I've got a lot to learn in life.