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I Would Have…

Matt Brown would have missed out. John Kindley would have baked bread for a living. When I was little, I wanted, thanks to Bravest of All, to be a firefighter.When I was eleven, I discovered computers, and programming, and networks, the joys of accessing and exploring other people's networks without their permission, and misanthropy. I might have become an early hacker.

But when I was thirteen we moved to India, and even if a 300-baud modem would have worked over the phone lines of Indira Gandhi's India there was nowhere to call. I started ninth grade, and decided that building airplanes and spaceships would be fun: I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer.

By eleventh grade I had exhausted all the math and science classes the American Embassy School had to offer, and had discovered theater and girls. About then I figured out that beng a criminal-defense lawyer was what I wanted to do.

In the summer after my freshman year of college, I worked in the Office of Science and Technology at CIA. It was fascinating work with interesting people, and I was tempted to seek a career there, but not tempted enough to pursue the opportunity. Through the rest of college criminal defense was the plan.

I got off-track in law school, but got back on, and the rest is history.

Firefighter, hacker, engineer, spy… what I would do were I not a lawyer depends on when the path might have diverged.

The world changes, and while I don't want to live in a country without criminal-defense lawyers, sometimes I consider what I would do if I were no longer one of them. Not because I think about voluntarily quitting criminal defense, but because everyone should have a contingency plan.

In my next incarnation, I might, like Kindley, bake bread. I might make ice cream or repair motorcycles. I might go back to programming computers. I might teach. I will most likely do a little of each, and write a bit too.


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