Stephanie West Allen sent me a link to a law student, Jacqueline Horani, who, after her first year, found a peculiar niche that interested her greatly. She describes it as “the intersection of community & the law,” which clarifies nothing for me, but to her credit, she’s going for it. She needs $1500 to fund her summer tour, and she turned to Indiegogo to get it.
The title of her pitch is “A law student’s adventure through the U.S. to discover the intersection of community & the law.” She describes it as
Did you know…
that there are over 1,500 Intentional Communities, planned residential communities where people live together under a common vision/values, in the United States alone? Almost all of these communities have sustainability as an aspect of their focus; many create local organic farms, local businesses, and establish land trusts to protect open spaces from development.
Even if you don’t live in an intentional community, the more we make it easier and more successful for their establishment, the more organic produce, locally made jams, clothing, and cheeses, retreat centers and nature preserves the world can enjoy! Plus, the more we learn from these microcosms of community, social experiments in collective resources, the better we can re-define and re-organize how we live our lives in cities, suburbs, and neighborhoods.
This sounds more like a pitch for organic farming than law, but she eventually gets to a point that appears to have something to do with law.
Many members I have already spoken to have shared how difficult it was for them to find, understand, and afford legal information, resources, and advice needed to establish their communities. Legally Unconventional aims to fill this space, connecting the public and legal practitioners with the resources and information necessary to navigate the laws of community.
Is there such a thing as the laws of community? It strikes me that this is about as silly as flashmob law; no doubt property, contract, admin and perhaps criminal laws are involved, but students already learn these subjects. The beauty of law is that it can be applied to a broad array of applications, which can include an “intentional community” engaged in organic-y stuff.
Jacqueline Horani goes on to explain why she wants other to invest in her:
What the project entails:
Me traveling across the U.S. to visit and interview intentional communities and meet with legal practitioners on the intersection of law & community.
A website where I post my blog, interviews, photos, videos, & resources.
Speaking of resources, there will be a listing of practicing lawyers communities can reach out to for legal advice.
A legal article on my research & findings, hopefully published.
AND Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram where YOU can follow the project live.
Please support my goal of pursuing law in a way that fulfills my passion and fulfills a positive social need.
The focus here is a bit, well, unfocused. And then there’s the call to action, where she wants other people’s money to fund her “goal of pursuing law in a way that fulfills [her] passion.” Few people are this tone-deaf and entitled, but there is also something appropriate about the nature of “her passion” and her expectation that the world exists to fund her happiness.
But, and this is a huge “but,” what I like very much about Jacqueline Horani’s indiegogo pitch is that she’s trying. What she is not doing is sitting on her butt, complaining about the lousy job market for law students and young lawyers, or pondering whether it would prove more fulfilling to do transactional work for major domestic corporations or international corporations.
Sure, the pitch is kinda silly, but better to be silly and trying than to do nothing and, wallow in misery in silence.
And then there is the fact that Jacqueline Horani believes in something. Even though it may not be clear what she believes in, she is willing to put her butt on the line, publicly, to pursue a path that she sees as being socially beneficial. Whether you (or I) see it as socially beneficial doesn’t matter. She does, and that compels her to pursue it.
So do I plan on contributing to her project? Are you nuts? I don’t even know what she’s talking about, and I can live without getting a postcard from Lake Cayuga (Far above Cayuga’s waters, there’s an awful smell…). Her “perks” for contributors are kinda heart-warming, in a cringe-worthy sort of way, but then, it’s not like she’s trying to produce an ROI here.
But that doesn’t prevent me from admiring her motivation and tenacity, her taking charge of her situation and trying, even if inaptly, to do something she believes useful and important. Doing something you believe to be worthwhile, even if its unclear what that is to others, still beats the crap out of standing for nothing.
Maybe this will be the start of the free range lawyer, certainly what her inspiration from the Rebellious Lawyers Conference at Yale should get behind. And if the keynote speech from my old friend Robin Steinberg from Bronx Defenders moved her to action, then it can’t be all bad. So what if I don’t get it. I get that she’s doing something, and that’s a start.