Disclaimer

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.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Weekend FAIL

It's been a pretty shitty weekend.

Friday morning I called to confirm the interview I had scheduled out of town. I figured I was not driving two hours one way to find out they had forgotten about me and dude was on vacation or something. Good thing I called. Even though I was staring at the email that said 3pm, they had me down for 2pm.

The job would be awesome. It's plaintiff work, mostly med mal and employment (yay for not working for "the man"), but also plenty of family law and some criminal stuff. I really like the dude, he seemed polite and down-to-earth, and unless he's completely bi-polar and turns into Mr. Hyde after drinking some magic potion, I think he'd be a good boss and mentor. He said he'd expect his associate to actually practice law, not just be motion hour bitch and deposition bitch (like at stupid insurance defense firms that make you go to 8am depositions three hours away in boofoo). He would have me sign up to do guardian ad litem and pro bono criminal work so that I would get actual courtroom experience, build relationships with judges and other attorneys in the area, and be first chair, not doing all the grunt work while he does all the fun stuff. Basically, the job sounds kick-ass. Except for the location. It took me 3/4 of a tank of gas to get there and back. Granted, we could live there during the week and come home on the weekends, but I do want Cora to go to school here where there's more opportunity. Anyway, it just depends how much money we're talking. He said he would check what the going rate for associates was these days and if I get a call-back we'd talk money then. So, we'll see.

Last night something really sad happened. My pet rabbit died. She was 12 years old, so it's not like it was sudden and unexpected. (Rabbits live on average between 6 to 8 years. I think the oldest they'll live is about 13.) But it's sad, especially finding a beloved pet dead. I loved that rabbit. Husband didn't. She bit him once, and he never got over it. I got her when I was a junior in high school, she was an Easter bunny. I named her Sierva Maria after a character in a Garcia Marquez novel, but my mom could never remember her name, and started calling her Bunny. Anyway, when we first got her, we litter box trained her and she had full run of the house. However, rabbits are nocternal, so there was much zipping through the house in the middle of the night. Finally, she got big enough to jump on the beds in the middle of the night, and the first time she did, she jumped right onto my mom in the middle of the night. Mom screamed, Bunny went flying across the room, it was very traumatic for everyone involved. Bunny started being locked in her crate at night after that one.

She and Mom had a love-hate relationship. My mother, who cleans obsessively, would vacuum Bunny. That's right, she would take the vacuum attachment and suck the excess hair from her. Bunny didn't like this at first, and growled at her. (Yes, rabbits growl. They're ferocious like that.) But eventually she got used to it and just sat there patiently. She was snuggly (as long as you didn't lift her off the ground, rabbits don't like heights), especially when I was sick, she'd lay beside me in bed or on the couch. She loved shredding/eating paper. I let her eat all of my Spanish flashcards ("tarjetas de 'flash'") after taking AP Spanish, and having a flashcard for every stinkin' word in the Spanish language. 99.9% of which I have since forgotten.

Anyway, it is sad. Especially since Bella, who is 8 years old, is now all alone. She's never been a social rabbit, in fact, I'm pretty sure that other than being the biped that fills up the food dish and water bottles, I'm dead to her. Bella took to Bunny immediately, so I'm worried that now that Bunny's gone, she won't last much longer since she's pretty old too. Which will make Husband happy since he hates having rabbits. I honestly don't think I'd get rabbits again (they like to destroy wood trim, wires, furniture, etc.), but if I did, I think I'd get one of those giant ones that would like being groomed and walk on a leash. Or an angora, so I could sheer it and make sweaters. Heh. Seriously though, anymore pets is out of the question. Family Dog is annoying as crap to every other creature, and any creature smaller than Cora is likely to be picked up by the throat, much as my niece does to her poor cat.

The final weekend fail though was waking up at 8:30 this morning and violently throwing up. Not good timing to be sick, since tonight was our Barrister's Ball. Ugh. I was still sick by this afternoon and had to cancel my 3:30 hair appointment and go back to sleep for awhile. Husband couldn't go to Barrister's because he's working weekends now, so I was meeting my Hawt Date at the hotel. I managed to get out of bed at 5pm, fashion an updo that (mostly) stayed up even though my stupid full bottle of hairspray wouldn't squirt (probably because I never use hairspray), do the whole make-up thing, get into my boobalicious dress and head out in the snow.

I lasted three hours before deciding I feel like shit and I want to go lay in bed instead of dancing to music played by possibly the worst DJ I've ever experienced. (Who the hell plays Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" during dinner, rather than later on during the night when everyone's trashed and singing along? And it was a techno version too which was just wrong.) Anyway, it was about 2 hours and 55 minutes longer than a friend of mine lasted, because she apparently got the same stomach bug as me (which has been circulating around the law school... stupid law school plague) and ended up throwing up in the bathroom stall and unfortunately on her dress. Granted, this happens every year to someone who's trashed (as well as in the middle of the hallway and in potted plants), but this girl is very religious, doesn't drink more than one glass of wine ever, and hadn't even had a sip of alcohol anyway. Even so, our SBA president apparently chewed her out before realizing she was actually sick, not drunk, and our waiter even had to come to her defense, like, she literally just got here and he hadn't even brought her wine yet. I felt so bad for her. Her boyfriend flew in from Baltimore for the ball, we had gone dress shopping earlier in the week and found this beautiful navy blue dress and she looked gorgeous. Stupid law school plague. This is the third time I've had the stomach funk, I'm getting damn tired of it. Surely I'd have some sort of immunity by now, ugh.

Anyway, I would have pictures, but I left my camera in the car. (Again, fail.) But one of my friends has the crazy sophisticated camera and he took lots of pictures. I'm just sad I was unable to cause scandal. I was all set for drunken debauchery, finishing the evening at the drag show at a nearby gay bar until I sobered up and could drive home. Sadly, I didn't even get to drink. I made my date promise he would drink my share and do something scandalous and make sure there were pictures. Sigh. Weekend do-over definitely needed!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Goings on

1. Rejection. Didn't get a call-back from fed. magistrate judge (no surprise there), but the one that hurts my feelings is the rejection letter from the FBI. Sigh. To think of all the illicit drugs I could have done in college and didn't because I was "going to join the FBI." Meh. I'm only mildly disappointed. I guess it wasn't meant to be. If I want it that badly, I'll buy one of those Rosetta Stone things and learn Farsi or Urdu or something that will make them beg me to come work for them. Otherwise, looks like I'll be practicing law. Lame. Or mopping floors. Slightly more lame. I guess if I go ahead and still drop the 40 pounds I needed to join the FBI, I can always work a pole. Now there's something to aspire to. Dreams = squish.

2. Sleep deprivation. Toddler + molar = The Devil. Seriously considered JSS*, as Husband snored right through screaming, squalling, thrashing toddler antics. I snuggled and rocked her to sleep and intended to just pass out on the couch with her, but sleep only came in 20 minute intervals before she woke up screaming again. It seriously sucked. I was seriously tired. Plus I was heavily caffeinated all day and kept dropping things. (Butter fingers.) But at least I didn't drop my laptop on my foot again like I did this past weekend. Ugh. Cora is heavily medicated and sleeping soundly tonight. She's been Tylenol'd, Orajel'd, and some other thing the pharmacist recommended that's all organic and shiznit. Oh, and chloroform'd.
* Justifiable Spousal Suffocation

3. I'm not a lawyer, I just play one in Circuit Court. I have my first trial next Thursday. I'm only slightly nervous. Glad it's not my first real court appearance. But it will be a bigger deal since I need to write and memorize an opening statement. I like to rely heavily on my notes, and that just doesn't fly with opening statements. Still trying to get better with thinking on my feet. At least the defense attorney is a decent guy, and not some douchebag that would smell "newby intern" and do douchebag things just to rattle me. I don't think. Ugh. I love the rush though, I love doing things that are out of my comfort zone, and I love a challenge. I'm totally stoked!

4. Barrister's Ball! It's this Saturday. I've got my HAWT dress that shows a scandalous amount of boobage, and my hot gay male escourt; it's going to be a whole lot of scandal. Pictures will be on Facebook, for those of you who are my "friends." (Again, probably why I don't have a job.)

5. Lent. Fat Tuesday is next week, followed by Ash Wednesday and the Lenten Season. I'd love to give up studying for Lent, but I'm told it doesn't work that way. I'm thinking fast food, but I haven't decided yet. If I give up caffeine, I'll just be sleeping until Easter. Maybe I should give up sleeping in on Sundays and actually going to mass. Heh.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentines weekend

We had a good weekend. My mom took Cora overnight so we could have some grown-up time. Good timing too, because Cora was in a seriously foul mood yesterday, and we were definitely glad to be shipping her off to Grandma's. So, we had a lazy day yesterday, did a little homework, watched some TV. We don't really make a big deal of Valentine's Day. Husband usually works it anyway, it's never been important enough to request off.

Before dinner, we went to the liquor store and bought 12 bottles of wine. We usually keep our wine rack pretty full, and it's been running low. We're big wine drinkers. One of my dreams is to live in Italy and drink my way through Tuscany. Anyway, our state legislature just passed an additional tobacco and alcohol tax, so we thought we'd stock up before the tax comes into effect. Even though alcohol certainly is a large portion of our "entertainment" budget, I'm still in support of the tax. We're running a huge budget deficit in our state. I can pay an extra 25 cents for a beer, it'll be fine.

After our wine-buying trip, we went to dinner. There's a little neighborhood Irish restaurant/bar that caters to the horse industry folks. They had a special Valentine's menu, so we made reservations. It was quite nice. We started with a variety of canap├ęs and a salad. Husband had lamb, and I had quail. For dessert we had pineapple tort. After dinner, we went home and opened a bottle of champagne, and caught up on episodes of The Office. Yeah, we're wild and crazy.

Today, I slept until noon, and lounged around in my robe until 5pm when Cora woke up from her nap. We went grocery shopping, had dinner, and now I'm alternating between outlining for International Law and watching this silly archaeology mystery movie, The Last Templar. I'm a sucker for silly archaeology mystery films though. I love reading about archaeology. The actual act of digging around in the desert, however, ugh. I'm a lot less Indiana Jones and a lot more book worm. Except when it comes to law books. Then I'd rather dig around in the desert.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fighting crime

I figure I might as well blog about my suppression hearing experience since I have to write a paper at the end of the semester about all this jazz anyway. In short, we won. Not thanks to any great lawyering by me. When the response to defendant's argument comes down to, uh, no, dude, that's not how criminal procedure works (here's my crim pro outline if you'd like the black-letter law), well, it's not really a big deal. I think if I'd stood up there and gave a soliloquy about my love of cheese, the judge would still have ruled in our favor. Which is probably why they let the 3L with partial license to (mal)practice run the show. But it was wicked fun. I got to direct real testimony! In a real court! I've done all those mock trial things, and lit skills and such, but this was much more cool. I was nervous, but it was good. I even got to object during cross (it was overruled). I love it. And I'll get to try the case in two weeks. Super cool!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Licensing and practice

I'm partially licensed this semester to (mal?)practice under the supervision of the prosecutor's office. It's fun times. I've got my first suppression hearing tomorrow. I'm laying some totality-of-the-circumstances smack down. I'm so excited, I'm such a nerd.

However, I really wish I were completely licensed, because I'm having to impose on a friend to do some legal work for my mom. Her shitty employer (a discount retail store that makes Wal-Mart seem like a fabulous place to work) is trying to screw her over. Our crappy state isn't exactly pro-worker when it comes to employment law, but she's still got a cause of action for wrongful termination. Essentially, they fired her because she filed for partial unemployment benefits when they cut her hours from 40 to 25. Of course, that's not what they've said. They're saying they're firing her because she made a copy of her own personnel file so she could verify that her benefits would stay intact with the reduction from full time to part time hours (the store manager said they would, but we all know you can't take their word for it), and that getting the file was not only against store policy, but it was theft and they could press criminal charges. (Uh, yeah, go ahead and try that one, Douchebag Retail Manager.)

The catch? First, there is no written policy accessible to the employees. Employees were never given a copy of the policy, even when they've asked for one, it wasn't provided. There apparently used to be one in their break room, but a large section of the pages were missing. The policy isn't even there anymore. Second... and this one's real good... they can't argue she violated store policy, because management had not only given her permission to be in her personnel file, but actually instructed her to do so. Why? Because they were making her go into the file and change her timecards to reflect fewer hours than she actually worked so they wouldn't have to pay her overtime.

That's right. These douchebags were forcing her to work hours for which she wasn't compensated. Since that shitty store opened, she has almost always worked seven days a week in their cash office. Up until the past year, there were months where she had not had a single day off of work. Also, she lives about 20 miles away from Shitty Retail Store, and gas was $4/gallon here for quite awhile and she was only making $11/hr. Whenever they'd finally hire a part time person to give her days off, they would still call her on her days off and either make her walk the person through the problem or actually come in when that person called in sick. There was one day here recently when we all got daycare funk, that my mom was really sick. It was actually her day off which she usually spends watching Cora, but she was too sick to watch her that day. Well, the part time person had called in and so they called her on her day off and made her come in.

Why did she put up with this? Well, they'd threaten her job, say she had to do it or else they'd fire her. She isn't qualified for much else. She's worked in the cash office at a few retail stores now, but that's about it. She was a stay-at-home mom until I was 18 and my parents divorced. She has no education and no real job skills, and honestly, she isn't going to be able to get either one. (She has undiagnosed learning disabilities, among a myriad of other issues. She is good with numbers though, so the cash office stuff was good for her.) So she was afraid to stand up to them, afraid to report them to the labor board. Then the newest batch of douchebag managers apparently decided they wanted her gone (if you've ever worked in retail, retail managers are passed around from company to company like bad relations... they work for a company, make the employees miserable, screw up a bunch, then end up fired and hired at some other company soon thereafter. It's the Revolving Door of Stupid.). Either because they didn't like her personally, or because she was making too much money for her position (which she is, by about $3/hr), or because they have a problem with her religion which one of the douchebag managers made disparaging comments about (hell, I have a problem with her religion, but that's another issue entirely). Or because she filed for unemployment benefits, because they were super pissed she did that, and there are a few other employees in the store whose hours have been cut and they're afraid to file now for fear of retaliation.

Anyway, she had to refile for unemployment benefits today since apparently they fired her and didn't tell her (they were supposedly "investigating" the "incident" and suspended her until they made a decision... they decided to notify unemployment of that decision and not her). Their argument is going to be that they fired her with cause, so she should be denied benefits. We'll win on appeal, they don't have cause, but what a royal pain in the ass. She'll go almost two months without money, we're scrambling to figure out how we're going to pay her bills and ours especially when I'm already running on a deficit, and now she also doesn't have health insurance.

I've told her for years they'd eventually screw her over. Shitty retail stores show no loyalty to their employees, in fact, often times they actively try to screw them over. They don't care that she's worked herself to death for them over the past three years. I told her to keep careful records of every hour she worked that she wasn't paid for, but of course she never listens to me, so she didn't do it. Egregious violations of state labor law not only concerning her, but other employees too. The only thing we have is her word, and we have at least one former manager willing to sign an affidavit stating that these things happened, particularly that she had always had permission to access her personnel file. That's enough to win the appeal with unemployment, but whether that's enough to survive summary judgment in a wrongful termination suit, I don't know. (In our state, the only thing you can sue for wrongful termination is when they violate you for exercising your legal rights, i.e. filing for unemployment.) I'm sure they're scrambling to cover their asses now, probably in there fudging her personnel records. Oh! That's the other brilliant thing. They refuse to give the employees copies of any documents they sign, because they say it's store property. Uh, if I sign a contract, I'm entitled to a copy of it, Douchebags.

But I'm furious. They're screwing with my family. Not just in the "back home" sense, like "you don't screw with my family, I go all redneck on your ass and beat you down" kinda thing. But they're screwing with my livelihood, not just hers. If she doesn't get another job and somehow they're successful in screwing her out of the unemployment, if she gets sick and she doesn't have health insurance, that falls on us. We've got enough problems in this shitty economy without them purposely trying to destroy the lives of their employees. And it's particularly frustrating being 8 months away from being able to march into that store myself and calmly tell them exactly what part of their asses I'll be kicking in court. I wanted that douchebag to look *me* in the eye and tell me how they could press criminal charges against my mother for accessing her own personnel file, which she had prior permission to do, rather than intimidate my poor mother who doesn't understand the law, doesn't understand her rights and all she knows is she's done something wrong and that it's all her fault.

It's really the whole damn reason I went to law school. I'm tired of being a doormat for other people trying to screw me (and people I care about). Knowing the law and being able to form legal arguments is great and all, but it's a different story when you can march in there, and say, "I'm a LAWYER, and here's how it's gonna be..."

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Things Overheard at Dinner

Cora: [drops the crayon on the floor] Uh oh!

Me: [picks up the crayon] Yes, "uh oh."

Cora: [drops the sippy cup on the floor] Uh oh!

Me: [picks up the sippy cup] No, that's not an "uh oh"! You did that on purpose.

Cora: Perrsss.

Me: That's right. Purpose.

Cora: Badada, uh oh!

Me: No, that was on purpose. You meant to do that. Mens rea, kid, mens rea. It was intentional, and therefore, not an "uh oh."

Cora: Uh oh!

Me: Why am I trying to reason with a toddler?

Husband: I have no idea.

Cora: [drops the sippy cup again] Uh oh!

Husband: Uh oh.

Me: Uh oh.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Happenings

Thought I'd take a break from the lameness that is spending my Saturday night outlining. Even worse, it's re-outlining. My friend and I split the readings for nonprofit orgs to outline and I outlined my portion on Thursday night only for it to disappear into oblivion, now I get to re-do it. Like it wasn't bad enough the first time. Lame.

So, happenings... I'm going through the grueling process of interviews right now. I need to mass mail my resume out as well, but I'm so swamped, the idea of spending an entire afternoon writing/printing cover letters, printing envelopes and stuffing/stamping them, ugh. Needs to be done though, I know.

I had an interview on Friday with a federal magistrate judge. Honestly I was surprised I even got the interview, considering I'm not on journal nor the top of my class. Which probably means I was OCI time-slot filler. I have a rather interesting resume and I get that a lot with OCI, because if they have to sit there and interview a bunch of people they would never hire, they'd rather interview someone interesting. That's me: interesting but not hireable, apparently! Oh well. If nothing else, it's good interview practice. I have another OCI interview with the public defender's office this week. (Although after seeing their new director make one of their veteran public defenders cry in court yesterday for something that was actually our screwup, not sure I particularly want to deal with all that. Yikes.)

The most promising interview I have is a lunch interview with a successful personal injury attorney. I figure if the guy's willing to buy me lunch, and not crappy lunch, but lunch at one of the nicest restaurants in town, he's at least serious about hiring me, not just filling an OCI time-slot. A friend of mine worked for him right out of law school too, and she said he's a great guy. So, that makes me really excited about the job. The older I get, the less tolerance I have for working for assholes. Working for someone who respects and values me is more important than the amount of pay. The only catch is his offices are 1 hour and 2 hours away, respectively. The commute will be a bitch, but it's highway driving and I really like to drive, so I won't mind it. I guess I'll have to learn the art of highway dictation. My secretary will hate me. I'll have the decency to keep the music off and the windows rolled up though.

Other stuff: No word yet from PMF, I dunno when those results will be in. I did, however, apply to the FBI, which terrifies me. It's one of those life-long dream things that I've always wanted to do, and I keep trying to remind myself that there are a lot of applicants, and I probably won't get selected, but I will still probably be totally crushed if I don't at least make it past the preliminary stages of the application process. I avoided experimenting with a variety of illegal substances in college so that I wouldn't be disqualified. And I've been going to the gym regularly to work on the fitness requirements. If that's not dedication to a dream, I don't know what is!

Anyway, still trudging along through the semester. I love love love my internship with the prosecutor's office. If something came open, I would much rather work there than for the public defender's office. So, lots going on, and major life choices ahead. I'll be most fortunate if I get to actually choose, rather than take the only thing offered. Even though my reluctance to make major life decisions dictates I'd rather there only be one choice, but that's another discussion entirely. But I do want some adventure in my work life. I want a job where the work is challenging and pushes my limits and forces me to leave my comfort zone. I don't want to sit at a desk all day. I don't want to do the same stuff every day and get into a rut. I'd like for my work to mean something. Money isn't terribly important, I just want to make enough to pay my loans and buy the occasional pair of fabulous shoes. I'm a simple girl, with simple needs.

Still can't believe this is the last semester. I just had my portrait made for our class compilation, which will hang on the wall in the law school for all time, and turned in my card and money for my diploma (yeah, they haven't gotten us for enough money, we have to give them extra to give us a stinking diploma). Barrister's Ball is in two weeks, and I just bought my dress. It is most scandalous and shows off a whole lot of bewb. Husband, however, will not be able to attend. He has to work, since his weekend shift is starting. I'm taking a hot gay man instead. It's going to be a great time. Although the venue we use sent our SBA president a nasty letter, and they're not serving us anything but beer and wine and we had to hire security. Apparently they didn't find some 1L's date getting alcohol poisoning, puking all over herself and the hallway carpet and getting wheeled out by paramedics, particularly amusing last year. Nor someone from our class puking all over herself and the bathroom, and someone's date puking in a potted plant, the year before. I guess some people failed to learn to hold their liquor in undergrad and, I dunno, actually studied or something. Lame.

In family-related news, Cora is 14 months old today. Thought I'd post some of her 1-year pics. My friend Laurie is a photography student and has just launched her photography business, although she's been doing weddings and portraits for awhile now. She took Cora's photos at six months as well. Some of these are on her site because, after all, my kid is damn cute!