Medicine or Law?

Post Date: June 22nd, 2018


I was reading an article in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine about the latest development in the individualized treatment of cancer. It was written by Siddhartha Mukherjee. Several years ago I read his first book, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, so his name caught my attention. 

As I digested the dense article, I realized that I’d much rather delve into something about medicine than about the law. Medicine is more of a passion for me. Legal analysis is something I do well but I don’t look forward to doing it. It doesn’t capture my imagination. Not like when I read my first medical book in grade school about the different types of blood cells. That really got my juices going.

I’ve said for twenty years that my professional roots are in nursing, but now I feel that, not just think it. That’s why I liked criminal cases better than civil cases. Criminal cases needed both my left brain and my right brain. Civil cases only used my left brain. How dreary. Criminal cases allowed all of me into the equation – not only my whole mind with both its nursing and legal knowledge, but my heart, my beinghood. So my twelve years on the criminal bench were more satisfying than my four on the civil bench.

Now five years into my judicial retirement, I recently decided to also retire from my of counsel position at a law firm and from writing a column for a legal journal where I analyzed and commented on appellate case decisions. It was onerous to plow through cases to find one suitable to write about. And while I loved the people I worked with at the law firm, I was happy to leave legal analysis behind.

Which means I have the time to dive into and savor books like Mukherjee’s second tome, The Gene: An Intimate History. And now I know I will find it more absorbing than any legal decision.