This blog is not intended to provide legal advice, legal services or legal anything else. Don't sue me. All I have is debt anyway.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Small Town Practice

Today an attorney from The City came to our office to take the depositions of our client and another witness of ours. This attorney works at Big Law. I sat in on the pre-deposition meeting with the client and witness, where we explain to them to stick to answering the question actually asked, don't start rambling on about crap you don't actually know to be true, don't say anything stupid, etc. Then I sat in on the depositions.

I was less than impressed by Big Law Defense Lawyer. First, the depositions went on for-freakin-ever, and he didn't want to break for lunch because that would just be that much more time he'd have to spend in Small Town. We started at 10, we ended at 2. There is no reason it should have taken that long for two witnesses. Fail. Second, during a short break, Big Law Dude wants to chat about the shitty job market, and how they didn't make very many offers this year to new associates. Then he points out one of the few associates they did hire, this annoying girl I absolutely cannot stand. Just hearing her voice in class would make me want to slap her with my textbook. Also, she only got the job because her uncle is a high-ranking partner, and he pitched a fit during our 1L when they weren't even going to give her an interview to clerk because her grades weren't good enough. Which meant that a friend of mine who was going to get an offer from them, didn't, because they hired Annoying Nepotism Girl instead. Fail. And the final fail is: 3. Big Law Dude actually had the nerve to ask me to go make him copies. I just stared at him in disbelief, as Boss Dude asked me if I wouldn't mind taking them to my secretary to copy while also shooting Big Law Dude a dirty look. Epic Fail.

Anyway, Boss Dude was less than impressed by him too. And with good reason. The hilarious thing is that in checking out Big Law Dude's profile on Big Law website, it brags about his extensive litigation experience, stating that he's completed over 15 trials in his 25 year career. WTF? Boss Dude has done hundreds of trials over his career, and he's probably not that much older than that guy. It's possible that I will do more trials over the next year than this guy has in practicing law almost as long as I've been alive. It definitely makes me grateful for all the good experience I'm getting. I went to law school to practice law, not sit in some stuffy office slaving away for the billable hour with a bunch of smug assholes. I've known several attorneys who didn't have the grades for Big Law, but after a few years of practice, and bringing in clients, were able to get jobs in Big Law. I can't imagine ever doing that. Big firms in other cities might be a lot different, but here, they're nothing more than pretentious sweat shops. When a firm actually has a suicide rate, there's something seriously wrong there.

So, this week's adventure has been learning to use the dictaphone. We have these crazily antiquated dictaphones, although it is kinda nice, because there's no cassette tape. It's connected to some sort of phone line (the thing looks like a phone, you pick up the receiver to dictate), that connects to some sort of "server," that then lights up at the secretary's desk when there's dictation to do. Pretty nifty. Of course there are drawbacks to it. First, I can't figure out how to work the thing other than recording and sending. No rewinding and playback. Also, to record, you have to hold down a button on the receiver, which is giving me finger cramps. But it is so much faster than typing everything myself. I did a deposition summary for a transcript that was 50 pages long, and it took me as long to type it out myself as it did to dictate a summary for a transcript that was 150 pages long. So, there's some time management improvement right there! I'm getting a little better at the research thing, without having all of my cherished secondary sources electronically. We have our state's digests, and practice manuals, and ALR volumes, and while it's just not the same to pull it off the shelf and flip through it, it's doable. I'm learning. I'm trying to be quicker and more efficient. Work smarter, not harder.


Melissa said...

15 trials?! in 25 years?! Seriously? I do 15 trials in about 2 months in my job and Ive only been practicing for like 5 years!

Allison said...

Big law is a lot different. When your cases are huge and take years to develop the facts, and then when clients know that it's too much of a risk to go to trial when tens or hundreds of millions of dollars are on the line, you don't end up doing many trials. But you (sometimes) get to work on really cutting edge cases and get really creative and work on cases that are on the front page of the NYT. So there are upsides.

Butterflyfish said...

Check your yahoo account :-)