Dear Justice,

I went into law school thinking that I was headed toward public interest work, but now that interviews are happening, those summer associate jobs look really tempting. I mean, who would turn down five figures? But when I told my best friend, who’s studying for his Master of Social Work, about my change-of-heart, he called me a sell-out. It was a joke, but it cut. How do I square the siren call of money and the chance to lighten some of that student debt with my desire to contribute to the general welfare?

Holmes

Holmes, J.

I will tell you a line I wrote long ago:— 

     Don’t be “consistent,”—but be simply true.

The longer I live, the more I am satisfied of two things: first, that the truest lives are those that are cut rose-diamond-fashion, with many facets answering to the many-planed aspects of the world about them; secondly, that society is always trying in some way or other to grind us down to a single flat surface. It is hard work to resist this grinding-down action…

I think you will find that people who honestly mean to be true really contradict themselves much more rarely than those who try to be “consistent.” But a great many things we say can be made to appear contradictory, simply because they are partial views of a truth, and may often look unlike at first, as a front view of a face and its profile often do.

Who may say that contribution to general welfare and remunerative work are incompatible? They are flecks of sand that you may remove from your eye, lest they elicit irritation in your tear-ducts.

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