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The most important thing I did last year

12 Angry MenLike my fellow Generation J.D. writers, I did a great deal of reflecting and planning at the end of last year. For me, 2012 was not particularly a year full of career strides — or at least tangible ones, anyway. I like to write about my personal experiences in these entries, so hopefully that hasn’t made the past year too boring for you readers. You already know that I didn’t get the job, win the case, or write the winning motion.

But even though my resume didn’t grow, I did get the privilege to do one thing that I will always look back on. I had one of the most important roles you can have in our legal system. That’s right: a few weeks ago, I served on a jury.

I really can’t express to you how great I thought the experience was and how grateful I am to have had it. Having jury duty at a time in which I’m not making, ahem, “progress” really energized my feelings, attitude… just everything about being part of our legal system. I won’t get deep into the details, but the case was an incredibly interesting murder trial in Baltimore City and counsel for both sides as well as Judge Michael W. Reed were absolutely great. We ultimately convicted the defendant and just about every day since I’ve thought about how our decision will affect his life.

I always heard that one of the “benefits” of being a lawyer is never being selected for jury duty. I’m glad that I was the exception and got picked. (Although there was also another attorney on the jury, so I don’t know how much of an “exception” I really was to be honest.) I think it’s a great thing for attorneys to serve on a jury whether they are litigators or not. Experiencing and being part of the decision making process is great experience for being an advocate.

And being an attorney doesn’t amount to much of anything once it comes time to make a decision. I think that I was particularly fascinated by the process because I had clerked for a judge and watched many trials while clerking and always wondered how it felt to experience a trial from a juror’s perspective.

Like I said, as a whole 2012 may not have been a year for the books, but even if it had been, serving on a jury still would have far and away been the most important thing I had done. Sometimes the most important things you do can’t be written on a resume.