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December 30, 2015


by Jess Guth

So I haven’t blogged in a while. That might be because I’m not currently working. If I’m off sick does that mean I am still a legal academic? Are my ramblings still those of a legal academic? Interesting question there about identity… Professor Huxley-Binns posed another interesting one at the start of the Lord Upjohn Lecture – the Association of Law Teachers’ Annual London event relatively recently (forgive me but my sense of time is completely off lately). She asked ‘Do you think like a lawyer?’. ‘Hell no’ was my initial reaction. But…

Well, yes that but has been bothering me ever since. I loved her lecture and I was going to blog about it immediately after but then sort of didn’t and anyway, here we are. Anyway, as Becky was talking I started wondering if maybe I do think like a lawyer and I have been thinking about that question and what it means ever since. I think the question is on my mind because I’m not sure what my place is in this world of legal academia. I always loved being an academic and maybe because of that I sort of forgot to look after the one person who can shape my career into what I want it to be: Me. Maybe after the years of long hours, living, breathing, dreaming work and then 18 months of working in a management role that highlights things I knew but could just pretend weren’t real before and that requires 60+ hours a week just to stay vaguely on top of things it’s not that surprising that eventually I crashed.

So not only am I asking if I think like a lawyer, to me the more fundamental question is do I think like an academic lawyer or even more complex than that: Does my current role, or even any academic job, allow me to think like me. I think that’s it. I want to think like me, and often that is thinking like a lawyer if we define lawyer broadly and often I think like an academic but thinking like an academic isn’t all that compatible with the neo-liberal, corporate crap that goes on in most institutions.

I go back to work on 18th January, after my holiday and first ever marathon (I’ve been blogging about the running here). I’m not sure I want to go back, not because I am not well enough, I probably am, and not because I like the being at home not doing much, I’m getting bored, but because I don’t actually know that I want to be an academic . I’ll continue to explore the why of that in my head and will, I’m sure, be ready to share that soon. I don’t know what else I would want to do so it’s not that I’ve found something I enjoy more…

I know this is a real ramble and I don’t have answers but I wanted to put this out there before we hit all the new year resolutions stuff because I don’t really believe in them and this isn’t about changing my life in 2016… Maybe I just need a good long run to get some clarity.. oh wait.

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