All you jaded, aging, balding, paunchy, sexually frustrated lawyers sitting at your desks, supposedly billing clients for screwing around most of the day, take note: this is an actual story about lawyering that may make you feel good. Briefly. There's only so much I can do.
Anyway, try to feel positive for a second and check out this story about an inspirational Nova Law Grad:
In New York, in 1988, he met Annette, 28 years his junior, and also from Sierra Leone. She studied business at Bernard Baruch College, and later worked as an assistant in the finance department at the U.N.
She was content at her job. But Abdul wanted more for her.
"To him, that was not enough, being someone else's assistant," she said. "He said, you can do better than this.'"
Eventually, he persuaded her to apply at NSU law school. But there were setbacks. Initially, Esliker-Kabia did not score high enough on the LSAT admission exam. Instead, she enrolled in an intensive, online program known as Alternative Admission Model Program for Legal Education, or AAMPLE, and passed that exam, winning acceptance to law school in 2003.
Her husband congratulated her with a copy of The Black's Dictionary, the standard legal dictionary.
That spring, the family prepared to move to Weston. Esliker-Kabia, pregnant with their fourth child, planned to start classes that fall.
Instead, in April 2003, Abdul Hamid Kabia was diagnosed with stomach cancer, a month before the birth of their son.
Esliker-Kabia postponed law school to take care of her husband, who soon learned he was dying.
Promise me you'll go to law school, if not for you, then for me, he told her.
"That was his last wish to me, and that was my promise to him," Esliker-Kabia said. "I saw my world collapsing in front of me. I thought it was a bad dream, a nightmare. Before he died, he said, 'we're not going to give up.' I said OK. But secretly I cried every day, from that day until the day he died."
In September 2003, just five months after the diagnosis, Abdul Kabia died. Intent on keeping her promise, Esliker-Kabia moved the following summer to South Florida, where she knew no one, and was now raising an infant and three children alone. She started school that fall.
"I was like a zombie at first," she said. "The first semester, I almost dropped out…I used my promise to him as my own way of dealing with this."
At school, she was back in jeans and sneakers and carrying a backpack, like her teenage daughters.
"It was kind of funny because we were all in school," said Anne-Marie, 17, her oldest daughter. "We'd say, 'How was school today, mom?' We had homework; she had homework. We'd make jokes, 'Let us see your report card.'"
Her daughter, Annette, 16, became her "legal secretary," helping with computer research. The older girls took over the housework, making dinner and taking care of their younger sister, Aisata, 9, and brother, Abdul, now 4.
"It was hard getting used to at first," Annette said. But, "there was no doubt in my mind that my mother would finish."
She would not have finished without her children, Esliker-Kabia said.
"The pressure was too much. My daughter said, 'Mom, you can't give up. We've come too far.'"
On Sunday, the children will accompany her on stage for the hooding ceremony. Esliker-Kabia cried the day she picked up her cap and gown, thinking that Abdul will not be there.
"I want my kids to see me as an example. That in the midst of adversity, you have choices to make. If they have a dream, I want them to say, 'If my mother can do it, I can do it, too.'"
Ms. Esliker-Kabia, I am sure I am not alone when I say this, but you can work here anytime.