Law Student

Law Student

Bingo! How Volunteering Can Help You Find Your Legal Passion
By: Amanda Carter

At first glance, there’s not an obvious connection between Bingo and the practice of law. There’s very little critical thought that goes into Bingo. In fact, it’s largely a game of chance. Chance is not something lawyers particularly relish.

Instead, we thrive on assessing what decisions will lead us to our client’s desired outcome with minimal risks incurred. But what if I told you that a game of chance, like Bingo, could help you discover how the personal qualities you already possess could fit within your legal aspirations?

When I was 15, my parents told me that I had to get a summer volunteer job. I had no idea where to begin, but they suggested that I look into volunteering at any of the numerous local assisted living facilities we lived near. I balked at the idea immediately.

What did I, a high school sophomore, have in common with the elderly?

Nevertheless, I begrudgingly filled out the volunteer application and was asked to call the daily Bingo game at one facility. At first, I was nervous because many of the residents had never seen a physically disabled person who was so young.

Calling Bingo certainly wasn’t a glamorous task. Over the many weeks I volunteered there, however, I discovered that I had far more in common with this population than I ever imagined. The residents, like me, were constantly being asked to adjust to changing physical capabilities while simultaneously trying to continue to do the activities they enjoyed.

I struck up many friendships with the residents as a result of my own life experience. I returned as a volunteer every summer after that and eventually as a psychology intern.

As law school quickly approached, I learned that working with the elderly was an entire field of legal practice. To expand my understanding about end-of-life issues, I have since regularly volunteered as a companion to hospice patients. Now I hope to put my love of the elderly and the disabled to work upon graduation.

I submit to you that signing up for any volunteer activity is a gamble. Sometimes, you don’t know what you are getting into and there’s no compensation to ease the anxiety of the unknown. Taking this kind of chance has the potential to unearth previously unknown passions that can serve as both hobbies and be incorporated into the practice of law.

In attorney linguistics, the risk versus reward ratio is skewed toward the positive because you have a powerful opportunity to help someone who genuinely needs assistance or friendship.

So, if you aren’t sure what type of law you are interested in practicing, try volunteering in different legal and non-legal areas. If you have chosen what type of law you’re interested in, volunteer in that subject matter area to broaden your knowledge base with no CLE fee attached.

Take a risk and volunteer, because you might just get a Bingo!

Amanda Carter is a rising 3L at the Texas Tech University School of Law. Amanda attained her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. Amanda has previously interned at Matthew Harris Law, PLLC, in Lubbock, has a real passion for disability rights and estate planning, and can often be found cheering on her beloved Red Raiders at any sporting event.

Views and opinions expressed in eNews are those of their authors and not necessarily those of the Texas Young Lawyers Association or the State Bar of Texas.

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