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.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolution time

As we say goodbye to 2010, it's time for those resolutions, and to reflect on the resolutions from the end of 2009.

First, reflections...

1. Get more sleep. I still routinely go to bed between midnight and 2am. However, since my pseudo-self-employment, I do not usually have to wake up before 9am. I have to get up early only when I have court and on the days I'm at the clinic (I won't have parking otherwise). So, that sorta counts, right?

2. Lose 10 pounds and run a 5K. I lost 20 pounds last year! Win! I did not run a 5K. Oh well. I did manage to get my run time for a 1.5 mile to 15 minutes, but that is still 1 minute short of the minimum requirement for awesome federal agency that investigates stuff. Then I backpedaled into epic laziness and I haven't been to the gym or been running since I took the written exam. Fail!

3. Debt. I paid down my credit cards by $3,000.00 and I paid off two of my little student loans (Perkins loans or whatever) that were $2,000.00, for a total of $5,000.00 of debt paid down, (in addition to whatever miniscule amount of principal I paid on the federal loans and Sallie Mae loans, probably like twelve cents.) However, I did just charge a few hundred dollars on my credit card over Christmas, which is the first time I've charged anything to the credit card all year.

4. Work stuff. I did make attempts to modernize my former office. We got digital dictaphones, replacing the absurdly old ones we had. However, other attempts at updating and modernizing did not work well. (If others don't want to change, it's tough to do.)

5. Recreation. I started playing the violin again some, which encouraged Cora's interest in the instrument (although Elmo gets most of the credit). I have not been reading as much as I would like, but I have actually read some books and I have resurrected our book club! I have not written anything substantial, but I have started outlining article ideas and even some ideas for a book.

So, for 2011:

1. Getting back on the weight loss bandwagon. When I moved back home, I was 20 pounds lighter than when I left... and have stayed the same since then. Probably even packed on five pounds over Christmas. I went shopping yesterday and am still in limbo between a size 10 and 12 (and a 14 depending if it's too snug in the bewbs). I need to lose another 30 pounds, but frankly, I'd be thrilled to lose 15. So, that's what I'm going to shoot for: 15 pounds. Of course, that may be complicated with an impending second pregnancy, but I refuse to think about that right now. I just bought new clothes. But, I also need to hit the gym. Again, I want to be able to pass that damn fitness test. Fourteen proper pushups! Argh!

2. Get organized. I need to manage my time better, so that I can feel more relaxed, and feel like I have more time to myself. Since I lost my job, that's what I miss the most: time for myself. Yesterday, I "played hooky" and went shopping. Today, I got my hair and make-up done and got some photos done for my website/the MLP website. (I look totally hawt too.) I need to work smarter, not harder, and play more.

3. Build up my practice. I want to have a real practice, not the pseudo practice that works from home/someone else's office. I want a real office too. So, I need to get my butt in gear and make it happen. I need to advertise, I need to start networking more. I need to realize that this is it, this is what I've got, and I need to make it work, or I might as well start applying for jobs at Starbucks.

4. Drink more. This too will be scuttled by impending pregnancy, but seriously, I need to kick back and enjoy myself. I've been stressing too much, carrying around everyone else's baggage. If I don't chill out, I'm going to end up like all of my classmates, doped up to the gills on anti-anxiety medication. I've always prided myself on my detachment and apathy, which has made me good at my job. Lately, I take everything too seriously. For instance, I got all pissy yesterday because an attorney filed a motion for default judgment against my client, saying he never filed an answer after my motion was overruled for plaintiffs' to plead with specificity (per the civil rules for a fraud case; they attached an affidavit that was more specific and it put the matter to rest and I immediately filed the answer afterwards in August.) I was all offended, like, what he thinks I'm too stupid to have filed an answer, he didn't think to give me a courtesy call and say, hey, did you file an answer? Or call the clerk's office to see if one was filed? Or check CourtNet to see if one was filed? It just got me all in a tizzy. Then I realized, WTF am I all pissy about? Fax him a copy of the answer, file a response with the court, forget about it. You can't help when other people don't have good manners, so don't be pissy, just get over it.

5. Suck it up. I whine a lot. A whole damn lot. And everything is about me. I need to stop internalizing everything too. So, I need to suck it up, stop whining and put things into perspective. I watched Hotel Rwanda last night. You think your life sucks? Try genocide. Or "acts of genocide" as the case may be. My life is pretty damn good.

6. Spend more time with the husband. I spend a lot of time with the kid, not much time with the husband. I think we need some time away. Especially if he expects to procreate again. Need time away not thinking about the law, or kiddies, or other people's drama.

Hopefully with all of those things, I will be more zen-like by 2012.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Things they don't teach you in law school

I have a new case that has been hard on me. While I obviously can't talk about the case itself, I can say that I am emotionally invested in the matter due to a pre-existing relationship with the client. And it is one of those instances where being an attorney just isn't enough. I can resolve the legal problem, but I cannot fix the underlying cause. And due to my new role as attorney in the matter, I cannot ethically step outside of that relationship to seek help for the underlying cause, nor can I reveal confidential information I obtained in my role as legal counsel. It gives me pause about taking such a case in the future for a friend or family member (I have a policy that I do legal work for friends and family for free, within reason, of course), or even an aquaintance. It isn't something we ever really discussed in PR. I wish we would have spent more time actually discussing scenarios that were likely to occur instead of the really stupid shit you should know not to do if you aren't a complete fucking idiot (i.e. break into your client's ex-wife's house and microwave her cat; steal millions of dollars from your clients after a class action settlement; murder your own client -- you know, the usual). But knowing what you are supposed to do, doesn't make it any easier when you're doing it. So, I'm troubled.

But law school doesn't prepare you for actually practicing law, as EH pointed out in her recent post (with some great tips about talking to clients). It doesn't prepare you for handling difficult clients, or helping your clients when what they need is mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, domestic abuse counseling, financial advice, employment assistance, medication, etc., and fixing the legal problems is only fixing the symptom not the disease. So many of my family law clients fall into those categories, and often, I'm at a loss as to how to help them. Often times I feel like I contribute to their problems. I'm prepping a client for her testimony in court, making her relive every moment of her abuse and her own bad decisions. For her legal issues, I have to do it. But it tears her down even further, and if she doesn't get help, what then? She continues to make bad choices, she continues to go back to the guy who beat her up, or she finds another guy just like him. I can't break that cycle for her, and it's frustrating. And I wish I were talking about just one client in particular, but it's all of them, with a variety of problems and a variety of symptoms.

It's also why I consider the work I'm doing at the MLP important, because there is that philosophy of preventative assistance. In my own practice, I see these people when the mess has spiraled out of control, and I wonder, how am I just supposed to put a bandaid on this person? How am I supposed to go to court, negotiate an agreement, etc., when it is just prolonging the inevitable next crisis?

Some days I feel like what I do is incredibly important (even if it pays incredibly bad). Other days, I feel like I'm using a squirt gun to put out a house fire, and it's disheartening. I don't know if I would have gone to law school if I'd known this would be my practice. I thought my practice would be about money -- corporate law, business transactions, or at the very least, insurance defense. I never thought I'd be doing what I'm doing, and I'm still not sure I want to.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Weekly MILP Roundup #183

The Weekly MILP (Moms In the Legal Profession) Roundup** is hosted on a rotating basis at the PT-LawMom, Attorney Work Product and Butterflyfish blogs and is usually posted no later than Monday. Next week Butterflyfish will have it.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, etc. Mine has certainly been "eventful" (we'll leave it at that for now). Also, keep PT-Lawmom in your thoughts as she and baby J have been very sick.

CM has a dirty secret (spoiler: pregnancy is hard!)

Izzie is getting back to normal.

Cristina is celebrating 7 months.

LL is hanging with Santa.

Momttorney has some musings.

Dakota is having Christmas fun.

LC is almost perfect.

Dinei is home for the holidays.

GoogieBaba is storing up for Snowpocalypse.

WNWLitigator is trying.

Butterflyfish has gone awry.

The Erbgarden is stuck on you.

If you would like to have your blog added to the MILP blogroll for weekly review or would like us to consider a specific post, drop the hostess(es) an email or leave a comment at their respective sites.

**Hat tip to the “original” Roundup Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground and Thanks, But No Thanks

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

MILP Roundup #182

Is at PT-Lawmom. Next week, back here.

Feliz Navidad!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow Day

Cora and I took a snow day today. We got hit by some nasty weather, most of which will hopefully have melted by the time I have to go to court tomorrow in a surrounding county. It's cold as crap, and we're getting more snow on Wednesday.

It was a nice day at home. We read books, played games, and played with her "friends" (her stuffed animals/dolls). Her new favorite thing is to hand an adult a pencil and paper and make us write words. "Spell me" and "spell Mommy" and "spell Daddy" and then it goes into every word imaginable. Good for her learning to read and write, I suppose, but by the billionth word it gets a little old. What's really cute is that she knows her full name now. She's been working on that in school. However, I suspect they are mispronouncing our last name, because instead of making an "eh" sound in the name, she's making an "ah" sound, which is how most people misspell our last name. We worked on that as well. So far the only word she consistently spells right is her own name, but hopefully all the spelling will soak in and it isn't just the novelty of making the monkeys perform. Anyway, she was in a really good mood today, and even took a nice long nap with me. I love a snuggly little bunny to nap with, which does not happen very often. I wish she would nap every day, because she is in such a great mood when she's had a nap. Much less whiny and hateful. She was just a complete joy today. If every day could be like today, then I'd happily stay home with her. (Of course, even on her bad days, she's usually still better behaved then most of my clients.)

It was also a nice day off of work. I got a ton of stuff done over the weekend, both work and getting the house ready for the Christmas invasion of relatives (and their various canines). Still plenty of work to do downstairs, but I got Cora's room cleaned out (she also has a new big girl bed) and the living room and dining room cleaned up. My office space downstairs has been reorganized, and I'm just waiting for Husband to clean up all of his crap so that we can move some furniture around. Maybe after 5+ years in our house, we'll finally be "settled" in.

As for practicing law... ugh. I'm ready for a break. Very glad tomorrow is my last court appearance for the month. I'm trying to fulfill some "New Year's Resolutions" early, so I can focus on continuing good habits of organization and motivation. Blah. I know I need to really work on marketing and advertising in January and start building a client base. Double blah. I actually got a pseudo-rejection letter on Saturday from the firm that was not that into me. Apparently they are totally into me -- they're just broke. Or at least that's what I got from the letter. It was something to the effect of them having gone through restructuring and as a result they are unable to add an associate at this time, but promised that if something changes over the next few months, I would be considered for the job. I guess that makes me feel better. Maybe it'll materialize into something, who knows. I need to send a letter back and let them know I'm still interested. I would gladly go back to insurance defense, how pathetic is that? Honestly, it made me less sad for humanity. My work now? Makes me sad for humanity.

Family court is really just full of the worst people imaginable. I prefer criminals, they are much more amusing (unless they've actually hurt someone). There are tons of hilarious criminals. Like the drag queen bank robber, or the Duct Tape Bandit. Family court, though, is just always sad. Regardless of how ridiculous these people are, they have kids, which automatically makes it not funny. A couple of my law school chums are assistant county attorneys in child support, and they see some pretty crazy shit. All of which is rendered unfunny because these lunatics are parents. Ugh.

I dunno. I guess if I'm going to continue practicing on my own, I need to find a niche. I attended a session on Elder Law at the law update a couple weeks ago, and that sounded really promising, but I don't know if I can deal with the tax stuff. If I want to go that route, I think I need to go back and do some classwork in accounting and whatnot. (Which I'll probably eventually have to do to defer my student loans since I can't afford to pay them.) My only reservation being that I like old people about as much as I like family law clients and auto accident plaintiffs. I think maybe I don't like people in general. Again, I'm probably in the wrong profession. There should be a personality test before entering law school.

Question: "Do you hate people?"

Answer: Yes.

Result: You shouldn't be a lawyer.

Now you tell me.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

MILP #181

Roundup at Butterflyfish. Next week at PT-Lawmom. Then here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Three Years

Three years ago last night, I packed up my Insurance Law book and my laptop, and headed to maternity triage. My Insurance final was scheduled for the next morning; I was pretty sure I'd be doing the walk of shame out of there, and still taking my final. Nope. I had a baby instead.


'Cause Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code says so, Bitches.

Then, of course, even though she was perfectly fine at this doctor's visit on Christmas Eve...


Ptpthhhh...

... we ended up in ER the day after Christmas, with a very sick little bunny.

Even so, we were soon enough back to our old selves (minus a lung lobe).


The tongue still works fine.

Life went on, and so did law school.


However, Tax was pretty much a lost cause.

Time passed and we learned a variety of lessons, such as...


Human flesh is tasty...



...and so are duckies.



Dogs are a girl's best friend...


...and giant purple bunnies.



And, most importantly, being a fairy means people give you candy.

The kid has developed her own personality full of things she is passionate about:


Disney Critters in general. Personally, I'll take the fish over the mouse, but the Mouse is the current fav, followed by Disney princesses and fairies.



The great outdoors.



Dog lover.



A passionate love of chocolate.



Equine enthusiast


Fabulous footwear


Budding musician

Happy Birthday, Cora!


The Birthday Girl

Monday, December 6, 2010

MILP Roundup #180

The Weekly MILP (Moms In the Legal Profession) Roundup** is hosted on a rotating basis at the PT-LawMom, Attorney Work Product and Butterflyfish blogs and is usually posted no later than Monday. Next week, Butterflyfish will have it.


First, congrats to Izzie, as Ziggy has arrived!

CM is cuteness.

Momttorney is not excited.

-R- is getting ready.

The Erbgarden is unmedicated (unlike the rest of the profession).

Jenny finds out why family law sucks.

LL is dressed like a rock star.

RG actually is a rock star.

Butterflyfish tells you what you're missing.

Dinei is getting the finger from those giving hands.

Dakota has pictures (of loose teeth!)

LEO is in love.

Cowgirl in the City has a backup plan.

Law Mom's Santa brings pizza.


If you would like to have your blog added to the MILP blogroll for weekly review or would like us to consider a specific post, drop the hostess(es) an email or leave a comment at their respective sites.

**Hat tip to the “original” Roundup Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground and Thanks, But No Thanks

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Of drugs and other ethics violations

Looking back on this year, I feel like I've done nothing but CLE's. I think I would have enough CLE's to carry over for like 3 years if we could do so. Most of it has been pointless, but oh well. For instance, I heard the KYLAP presentation for (seriously) the sixth time today, over the past 4 years. Yes, lawyers are a bunch of seriously depressed drunkards who are unhinged enough to steal all of their clients' money out of escrow and spend it by snorting coke off some whore's ass at an illegal poker game. Or maybe we're just a largely unhappy bunch because our clients drive us crazy, our colleagues drive us crazy, and our bar is so saturated with lawyers we can't earn a decent living and pay off the absurd amount of student loans we took out in order to enter this absurd profession. Oh well. I'd have to actually have money in escrow before I could spend it on hookers and blow, so I'm pretty sure I won't be committing any ethics violations (at least not of that sort... I'm certain if I ever commit an ethics violation it will be because I fail epically at math).

Anyway, some stuff about today was interesting. Surprisingly enough the court of appeals judges were the most entertaining panelists, and reviewed some really interesting cases. The supreme court stuff gets everyone's attention, so the ones that apply to my area of practice are publicized and I've already read them. For instance, stepparents and gay partners can now be considered de facto custodians of children, which gives them standing for custody. And finally spouses can make a loss of consortium claim for death of spouse (not just incapacitation), which was pretty much stupid that they couldn't before, but whatever. Even so, tomorrow should be more interesting. I'm manning the table for the MLP, and my cohorts are presenting.

Still very busy in family court, and taking on a few personal injury cases, folks with some minimal injuries. My friend's mom works for a chiropractor, so she keeps telling people to call me. Cases with clear liability, and limited damages. Not a lot of money involved, but probably not a lot of time and investment of money involved either.

Speaking of insurance though, it reminds me I need to up my PIP coverage and also my underinsured motorist coverage. I got a random quote in the mail from a car insurance company today, and was impressed with the price until I realized: the quote was for $25,000 policy limits. I forget people carry so little coverage in our state, it's ridiculous. And underinsured motorist coverage is not mandatory, so it often gets left out of policies. Not cool.

Oh well. I found out today one of my friends from law school is working on his masters in education and is planning to quit practicing law and start teaching high school. Remember that show Boston Public, where the chick from Voyager goes from being a Big Law attorney to teaching high school? I was like, pshaw, whatever, like you'd quit a job making tons of money and being important and doing important things to go talk at a group of juvenile miscreants. Oh naivety. If I didn't hate other people's children almost as much as I hate other lawyers and clients, and well, the general population of unwashed masses, I might do the same. Yeah, I really need a better attitude about practicing law. I'm not sure when I turned into such a curmudgeon, but it happened. I'm now one of those attorneys I always rolled my eyes at, who would tell other people "Don't go to law school! Do something meaningful with your life!" Yeah... curmudgeonly. I think if the job at the MLP doesn't turn into a permanent full-time gig, I might need to seriously re-evaluate my career path so I stop being such a curmudgeon.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

MILP Roundup #179

Is at PT-Lawmom. Here next week.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving

I seriously think yesterday and today were the first two actual days off I've had since I lost my job in June, where I did not do a single moment's work. I did absolutely no work whatsoever, and it was fabulous.

I love for Thanksgiving to be inclusive, and we've always loved opening it up for anyone who needed a place to be. Over the years this has included friends and classmates who couldn't go home to their families. As I was always the person who didn't have a place to go on Thanksgiving (before having a home with Husband), that's always been important to me, and something I want Cora to share.

So, we had a huge dinner yesterday and, as usual, an extraordinary amount of wine. Amazingly did not have a hangover today, although I did sleep until noon. That's always nice. The in-laws took Cora to Target for some clothes/shoe shopping, which she was very excited about. She was very opinionated and told Grandma exactly which clothes she did and did not like, especially the shoes.

Later in the day, we decided to take her to the movies to go see Tangled. Cora had never been to the movies before, but she will sit still and watch an entire movie at home, so I didn't expect she'd have any issues at the theater. The only issue we had was Cora being too small to sit in the chair herself, because it kept folding up on her. Whoops! So, she sat in Grandma's lap the whole time. She absolutely loved the whole experience, from the popcorn to the really big TV, and especially the princess. The princess had yellow hair, just like Cora, and when she got a haircut, it turned brown. (Little does Cora know that will happen to her in a few years.) Very cute movie, although like with Princess and the Frog, I don't think it's quite up to par with Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid as far as musical score. However, I like the modernization of the fairy tale, and I totally crush on Zachary Levi, so I could listen to him all day.

I'm taking one more day off on Saturday, then I have a ton of work to do on Sunday. We have a two-day Law Update this week I'll be attending on behalf of the MLP. Also present will be our school's mascot. At least I'm far enough up the totem pole that I won't be wearing a costume.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

MILP Roundup #178

Is there. At PT-Lawmom next week. Then at my place.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Catching Up

I can't really explain why I haven't been blogging, other than the fact that I've been delinquent on the Ms. JD columns and I've felt guilty about blogging here when I should be blogging there. I actually managed to get this month's column up. I don't know what the problem is, but likely it's a lot of not wanting to deal with the loss of job thing that still is a sore spot, and writing a column on small town legal practice when I'm back in the city presses on that sore spot.

I'm much better when I don't think about things and just keep working. And working, I am.

I'm in my second month of work at the Medical-Legal Partnership. It was slow at first, but definitely picking up now. I like it a lot. It's rewarding helping people with sick kids, because not too long ago I was the person with a sick kid, and I definitely could have used the help. Not because I'm not competent enough to deal with it, but because I had better things to do than argue with insurance companies, etc., like take care of my sick kid. I made that argument just this week with an insurance company who didn't want to talk to me; they couldn't understand why Mom couldn't just give them a call. Uh, because Mom's currently taking a nap in the PICU next to her sick kid, that's why. She's got better things to do.

I'm currently working on the nastiest housing case, where the slumlord's slumttorney has threatened the family with eviction, criminal prosecution of grandma whose rent check just bounced, and even made a backhanded threat of calling child services on them, all because they made a complaint of insect infestation in their shitty apartment. (Yeah, we have a cause of action for retaliation in our statute. Bring it, Bitch.) I'm mortified that a member of our bar would act that way. I've worked for/with/against some truly awful human beings who happened to be licensed attorneys, but never have I had someone sink so low. It's beyond unprofessional. It's bugs, for fuck sake; get someone to spray, or deny they exist, or acknowledge they exist and blame it on my clients. Whatever. But the retaliation is uncalled for and completely psycho. (Apparently the slumlord is kin to the slumttorney, so slumttorney's judgment is clearly impaired.)

My officemate finds it funny that I can fight against slumlords at the same time as representing homeowners' associations that are accused of discrimination and represent banks in foreclosure actions. I did foreclosure before I went to law school and now I'm taking work from foreclosure firms who need someone to fill in at local motion hours; it has never bothered me. I mean, sure, it sucks for people to lose their homes. No one feels good about that. The situations were often sad, like someone lost their job and can't find gainful employment (I know how that feels), or someone got sick and can't work at all. That doesn't mean the foreclosure doesn't still need to happen. I mean, you can't pay your bills, you can't keep your house. But I always found that the process still allowed people plenty of time to strike deals with the bank, find a way to catch up, or sell before auction. Also, the courts have been pretty lenient lately about giving people extra time to make good, considering the economy. But I always viewed it as still being able to help people, because if someone called me and gave their sob story, I always directed them to the resources that can help them and the folks at the bank that would work out a deal. The people who really tried to help themselves most often could.

Anyway, I'm all over the place right now. I'm working 20 hours a week for the MLP, doing some contract work for my friend, working one afternoon a week for my officemate, and of course, there's my own stuff. I'm taking court appointments in three surrounding counties as a GAL and parents' attorney. I was also supposed to have a criminal defense trial last week, but it resolved before trial, a very good result for my client, but a really big bummer for me and my friend who I brought on as second chair (since I just didn't have the time to fully prep for trial on my own). It's been crazy. Not much money, but crazy.

I can't figure out how to make money at this stuff. I guess it comes with building a reputation and having the experience to say, "Yeah, I want a $5,000 retainer and I charge $250 an hour." I'm more at the point where it's like, yeah, I'll take payment in chickens...

Even still, I just had to fire my first client. I feel bad for the guy, but at the same time, I can't help him because he won't help himself. And even though I was willing to continue putting off the payment of my attorney fees, I told him any costs he had to pay immediately. Which he hasn't done, and I'm out $50, and he will never pay me. That and he won't return my messages. So, no more free lawyer. It's annoying, because I worked really hard on his case, and if he'd gotten his shit together, he would have been in good shape.

The bottom line is I really don't like working for myself. I don't even want to run the company. I don't want the responsibility, and I don't want the hassle. I hate dealing with money, which I'm really bad at, and if I don't manage to fuck up my escrow account and get disbarred it will be a miracle. I've already overdrawn my operating account once, because I fail at math. (I guess I must be guilty of a crime, according to slumttorney. Stupid cow.) So, I don't know what the future will hold. I didn't go to law school wanting to practice on my own. I wanted to work for a multinational corporation. I wanted to have a steady paycheck, and a time clock to punch. I wanted to have one office, and not four. (Seriously, I have four offices. One at the clinic, one at my friend's firm, one where I meet with clients but my officemate's name is the one on the door, and one in my house where I do most of my actual work but don't meet with clients because I don't want crazy people to know where I live. Half the time I don't know where the hell I am.)

Some days I'm really satisfied in what I've accomplished. Other days I want to quit and work in a library where my only interaction with people will be to SHUSH them grumpily when they talk. Maybe I need to go pick some fruit with Stephen Colbert to get a better attitude about practicing law. Hell, as long as no one talks to me, I might actually like it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Attorney and Preschool History Teacher

Heard in the car yesterday:

Me: "Cora, do you know what next week is?"

Cora: "No."

Me: "It's Thanksgiving."

Cora: "Okay."

Me: "What do we eat on Thanksgiving?"

Cora: "Um... Mac N Cheese!"

Me: "Yes, Daddy will make mac 'n cheese. We also have turkey, and stuffing, and mashed potatoes, and green beans..."

Cora: "Oh, that's yummy!"

Me: "That's right! And do you know who will be there for Thanksgiving?"

Cora: "Cora!"

Me: "Yes, Cora will be at Thanksgiving. So will Mommy and Daddy. Uncle Steven will be there, and [our two friends]. Grandpa and both Grandmas, and Grandma's little doggies, and Bernie."

Cora: "Hurray!"

Me: "And do you know the purpose of Thanksgiving?"

Cora: "No."

Me: "It's to have a nice dinner with our friends and family and be thankful for all the good things we have."

Cora: "We have to say 'Thank you!'"

Me: "Yep. And do you know why we celebrate Thanksgiving?"

Cora: "No, I don't know."

Me: "It's because a long time ago, some native Americans made the mistake of being nice to some white European trespassers instead of letting them starve to death in the woods. They brought them food and they had a big meal."

Cora: "Awww."

Me: "And the Europeans thanked them by giving them small pox and stealing their land. So, what's the lesson here, Cora?"

Cora: "Don't get small pox."

Me: "Exactly. Happy Thanksgiving."

Monday, November 15, 2010

MILP Roundup #177

The Weekly MILP (Moms In the Legal Profession) Roundup** is hosted on a rotating basis at the PT-LawMom, Attorney Work Product and Butterflyfish blogs and is usually posted no later than Monday. Next week, Butterflyfish will have it.

PT-Lawmom is in a whirlwind.

Dakota has captured some tranquility.

Shan is at the end of Fall 1L, and all around should beware (especially Justices who've been dead for a century -- those guys can suck it).

CM is partying.

RG is mourning the breakup of a potential sister-in-law, and needs some redecorating.

Cowgirl in the City is back in the saddle.

The Erbgarden is in search of the time.

Cristy is vacationing.

LEO is full of win!

Googiebaba is selling her wares to make ends meet (because being a lawyer sure doesn't do it these days!)

Butterflyfish is making me crave mashed potatoes, and I'm not even preggers.

-R- is having bearded office fun. (Just keep the beard out of Kentucky, you wouldn't want someone to cut it off and make you eat it. Keep it Klassy, Kentucky!)

LL is losing weight the hard way.

Izzie is getting close to trying to get that baby out herself with a plunger.

Jenny is half-empty.



If you would like to have your blog added to the MILP blogroll for weekly review or would like us to consider a specific post, drop the hostess(es) an email or leave a comment at their respective sites.

**Hat tip to the “original” Roundup Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground and Thanks, But No Thanks

Sunday, October 24, 2010

MILP Roundup #174

The Weekly MILP (Moms In the Legal Profession) Roundup** is hosted on a rotating basis at the PT-LawMom, Attorney Work Product and Butterflyfish blogs and is usually posted no later than Monday. Next week, Butterflyfish will have it.

First, congrats to PT-LawMom who, in addition to having a beautiful wedding, birthed a healthy baby! Welcome, Baby J!

LEO is now a working mom.

Erbgarden ages gracefully.

CM and Butterflyfish's hawtness cannot be contained by a mere baby bump.

LC gives us a week in the life.

Izzie prepares for postpartum peeing (and other stuff).

LL celebrates the birthday of a family hero.

Dakota has DC photos.

RG gets a new brother-in-law!

-R- shares her thoughts on Round 2.

Momttorney melts.

Dinei is reflecting.

EH captures the light.

Shan wears purple.

Cowgirl in the City is almost there.


If you would like to have your blog added to the MILP blogroll for weekly review or would like us to consider a specific post, drop the hostess(es) an email or leave a comment at their respective sites.

**Hat tip to the “original” Roundup Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground and Thanks, But No Thanks

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Confessions

In light of the recent news of the student's suicide at Rutgers, I wanted to share a story.

When I was in high school, I made a new friend my sophomore year. We'll call her Mary, although that wasn't her name. She transferred in her junior year. We had Spanish together and got to be friends. We worked on projects together for class, and although I wasn't actually allowed to hang out with school friends outside of school-related activities (crazy cult upbringing), we still managed to hang out sometimes on the pretense of education, of course. She invited me out this one time to go ice skating. She played ice hockey, and said she could teach me a few skating tricks. I tried to tell her I was unbelievably clumsy, but she swore no one she'd ever instructed ever got injured, and convinced me to go. I caught the blade of one skate on the blade of my other skate while trying to do some maneuver (what it's called, I can't recall), and fell on my left knee, leaving me with a huge bruise and limping for a week. After that, she gave up on me and we simply just "hung out."

Our friendship continued through the next school year, and we had Spanish and Calculus together. Towards the end of the year, a few of my upperclassmen friends started to make some rude comments about our friendship. Mary was athletic with short hair and was tomboyish, often dressing in gender-neutral clothes and didn't wear make-up. People began to suspect she was a lesbian, even though she was dating guys (she also notoriously had a sexual encounter with the ex-boyfriend of another friend of mine). But the rumors stemmed from her friendship with one of the more "popular" girls in her class with whom she played on the school soccer team (we'll call her Sue). One of my friends who was also friends with Sue warned me that Mary would invite me over to get me in her hot tub and "make the moves on me," as she apparently had Sue, who was appalled and no longer friends with her. (Mary never invited me to hang out in the hot tub. In fact, I'm not even certain she had a hot tub, I'd only been to her house twice.) And I honestly don't remember whether that bothered me or not, or how I dealt with that rumor. I know about that time, I was dealing with my own life's very bad shit and we weren't hanging out after school, although we were still friendly at school, ate lunch together, etc.

Anyway, this was about the end of Mary's senior year, and she started up a new friendship with this girl who it was also rumored was a lesbian (we'll call her Jane). Somehow I ended up out of the loop of the gossip mill for awhile, and suddenly one day there was an explosion of rumors going around about sexual encounters between Mary and Jane, and the same day, Mary was crying in class. I approached her and asked what was wrong, and all she told me was "It isn't fair... why can't you be allowed to love who you love?" I never asked if she meant Jane, but I could certainly relate to that statement on some level thanks to my whacky cult upbringing. I merely shrugged and said, "I don't know." Not exactly words of wisdom coming from a 17-year-old, but honestly, I'm not sure at 31 I even know the answer to that question.

I should have been a better friend and been there for her to talk to. I should have bitch-slapped all the rude people who thought it was their business who Mary was with, instead of sitting by idle, listening to their gossip. But I was too involved in my own life's drama to be bothered, I guess, and maybe too insecure to take a stand for her. And I wasn't all that mature that I realized it's important to take a stand for your friends, or that as a young woman trying to figure out her sexuality, that she could have used my support.

After graduation, Mary joined the Navy and like most of my high school friends, disappeared. I saw her briefly a few years later, and then a few years ago found her on MySpace. She was married (although not legally) to an individual she described as "the woman of her dreams." I was glad she had figured out who she was and found someone who made her happy.

Being a teenager sucks. But it sucks a lot worse when you are different, and you feel alone and trapped by your circumstances. A million times worse when your peers are cruel and go out of their way to humiliate you and make you feel as though there's something wrong with you. If it's one thing I want to teach my daughter is that it isn't okay to sit by and let your friends be treated badly by other people, no matter how distracted you are by your own life. And I hope if my daughter likes girls, or just likes anything that is deemed "not cool" by her peers, and is picked on or bullied, that she will be strong enough to fight it and stick up for herself.

Monday, September 27, 2010

MILP Roundup #170

It's late. I suck.

The Weekly MILP (Moms In the Legal Profession) Roundup** is hosted on a rotating basis at the PT-LawMom, Attorney Work Product and Butterflyfish blogs and is usually posted no later than Monday. Next week Butterflyfish will have it.


Jenny is avoiding the drama.

Googiebaba is mourning social convention.

RG is looking in a mirror.

LEO is showing off the pearly whites.

Dakota shares tidbits.

Cowgirl is feeling blaw.

EH needs some chloroform.

Shan is feeling normal.

Izzie is starting to write the 55 pages with just over a month left. Overachievers!

Butterflyfish is expanding into new territories.

LC wonders if she is rich.

Dinei is busy with a healthier Benjy!

PT-Lawmom has been emotional.

Cristy is missing her man!

LL fits into skinny jeans.

CM gives us six minutes.

-R- talks monkeys.

Momttorney celebrates two!

Erbgarden isn't just luck.

If you would like to have your blog added to the MILP blogroll for weekly review or would like us to consider a specific post, drop the hostess(es) an email or leave a comment at their respective sites.

**Hat tip to the “original” Roundup Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground and Thanks, But No Thanks

Monday, September 20, 2010

MILP #169

PT-Lawmom has it. Here next time.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Q&A time

Yeah, I haven't been updating lately. I can't seem to find a good rhythm yet, and get things in order. So, still struggling to keep my head above water.

Just thought I'd take a moment and give a shout out to the new 1L's. I've gotten a few emails recently with questions, and although I've already answered them individually, I've been wanting to post some responses here as well (with the questions more generalized to protect the inquirers).

*

Q1: I'm just starting law school, and I wondered if you have any advice about balancing law school and family?

A: This isn't just for the folks who are married, or who have kids, but for all you incoming law students. Simply put, law school sucks. It's hard, it's really time-consuming, it's exhausting, and it is absolutely soul-sucking. So you need your family, your friends, your hobbies, an extreme amount of wine and chocolate, whatever makes you "you," to get you through the next three years and not become a complete overly-medicated wreck.

1L Fall is an experiment. You have to figure out (very quickly) what works and what doesn't. It helps to be organized and manage your time well. Although the myth persists that if you treat it like a full time job, you can do it all in 40 hours a week, it certainly helps if you try to keep it as much 8-5, M-F as possible. Then you can enjoy (many of) your evenings and weekends.

Until finals, and then all bets are off.

But law school is the time you need to figure out the work-life balance, because if you think law school sucks, just wait til you make it out to practice. You're headed out the door at 6pm ready for some quality time with the family, and your boss catches you and says, "Oh yeah, I totally forgot, this appellate brief is due tomorrow..." Well, fuck.


Q2: I'm in law school and thinking about having a baby. Is this a good idea?

A: The baby is a good idea, but law school probably wasn't. Law school sucks. (See Answer to Question No. 1, above.) However, it was my experience that the suckdom of law school was made a lot more tolerable by the awesome of getting to hang out with my kid when I got home.

Not saying it isn't hard, and my pregnancy in particular sucked big time (go back to the Fall 2007 posts if you'd like to read about all that), but if you're gonna pop out a kid, better to do it in law school than as a young associate, when it could possibly cost you your job. (Just because there's a law saying employers can't discriminate against pregnant women, doesn't mean they don't do it anyway, and lawyers are usually a bit smarter about it. Also, suing your employer for discrimination is likely career suicide for a female lawyer.) And worst case scenario, if you have a craptastic pregnancy like mine (or like a few of my fellow Moms in the Legal Profession bloggers), you can always just take a semester off.

And if you're gonna be up at 4am feeding a baby, you might as well read Con Law. For a lot of it, that's the only time that shit makes sense. I'm talking about you, Scalia. Well, actually, you never make sense.


Q3: I'm pregnant and due just before the bar exam. Which is worse? Having a baby or taking the bar exam?!

A: The bar exam, absolutely. Humans gestate for only 9 months or so. The bar exam is this horrific event that you start preparing for 3 years in advance, and then realize 3 months out (when you start bar review) that those 3 years were completely wasted, and you know absolutely nothing useful for the bar. (Oh, crap!)

Also, they give you an epidural when you birth a baby so you can't feel the pain. I guess you could get one for the bar exam too, but being numb from the abdomen down won't help you much; it's really the brain that hurts, and the bleeding ulcer. At the end of the birthing experience, you get a baby (and a sore vajayjay, or abdomen). At the end of the bar exam, you get... nothing. You get to wait 2 more months or so just to find out if you passed or if you have to do it all again. And if you passed, then, congratulations! You get to practice law! Only, you don't actually know how to practice law because no one ever taught you that. At least with the baby, all it does is eat, sleep and poop, giving you time to figure out what the hell to do with it for the next 18 years. Upon being licensed to practice law, you get to work yourself to death until your student loans are paid off, which is probably 25 years at least.


Q4: Do you regret not taking a semester off/spending more time with your child when she was first born?

A: Dear God, no. I think that's the only semester of law school I actually liked! Going to class was a really nice break from being home with the baby, and coming home to the baby was a really nice break from law school. Even so, I took a lighter load that semester because I knew it would be tough (I also had my comprehensive exams for my graduate degree). I had a lot of time at home with Cora with the reduced schedule. And it was all tough, but still really good. My grades didn't suffer (anymore than usual). Even though I was tired, I realized you really do learn to function on little sleep. Trust me, I find that hard to believe now, because if I get less than 9 hours sleep a night, I think I'm going to die from exhaustion.

But I'm also not someone who buys into the whole can't-be-away-from-the-baby-ever thing. There's a lot to be said for time away and time for yourself (something I am very much struggling with now that I'm staying home/working from home two days a week with a toddler). Just because you pop out a baby, doesn't mean you stop being a law student, a spouse, a friend, and whatever else you are. I've always been of the philosophy that you add a baby to your life, you don't restructure your life around the baby. But at the same time, consider that, after you're finished with law school, you'll likely be working your ass off at some slave-driving law firm. If you pop out any more babies, you might not get the time to just sit around and snuggle with a baby. You might not get a maternity leave at all (I'm going to be in that boat, considering I'm likely to still be self-employed my next go-around). So taking a semester off might be your only opportunity to enjoy new motherhood with no other distractions.

But, no, I don't regret it. It was a great time and very rewarding, both as a parent and as a student.

*

So, that's pretty much it for now. When I get the chance, I'll write about my current state of career-life imbalance, and how solo practice sucks. Hopefully I'll be starting my new part-time gig soon. In the meantime, I'm doing work for the solo in exchange for office space, and for a law school friend to help out her and her dad. And of course, my own case load.

Still feeling a little lost in my own career, wondering where I'll end up, and if I'll be happy continuing to do what I'm doing now. I don't think I will if I can't find a way to better manage my time and compartmentalize my life from my work.

MILP Roundup #168

Is at Butterflyfish. PT-Lawmom next week. Then here.

Monday, September 6, 2010

MILP Roundup #167

The Weekly MILP (Moms In the Legal Profession) Roundup** is hosted on a rotating basis at the PT-LawMom, Attorney Work Product and Butterflyfish blogs and is usually posted no later than Monday morning. Next week Butterflyfish has it.


-R- had an uneventful day.

PT-Lawmom is on a roll, doing everything while sick in bed.

Momttorney shows the faces.

Butterflyfish is jumping.

RG is the birthday girl.

LL is celebrating 5 years.

CM is celebrating 8 years... by vomiting.

Jenny sees Gaga (and gets a response).

Cristy has her first daycare experience.

Izzie begins 2L.

Dinei is also back in law school.

Shan is having fun with classmates.

LC is doing homework.

Cowgirl in the City finds it moo.

Dakota takes a family trip.

The Erbgarden has also been on vacation.


If you would like to have your blog added to the MILP blogroll for weekly review or would like us to consider a specific post, drop the hostess(es) an email or leave a comment at their respective sites.

**Hat tip to the “original” Roundup Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground and Thanks, But No Thanks

Thursday, September 2, 2010

For the Future L's

I received an email asking me to link to a sweepstakes give-away for a free LSAT prep course. Yay, free! I personally haven't used the course, but I'm confident that at worst, it was worth the money you spent, and at best, could get you into a school worth paying $50K a year for (like Harvard), instead of a third tier toilet (like Regent... unless Sarah Palin gets elected President in 2012 and then a Regent diploma will be gold and a Harvard diploma more like tin).

Anyway. The Contest:

We are giving away a free LSAT course in our Back-to-School Facebook Giveaway sweepstakes. If you think your readers would be interested, they can enter for a chance to win here:
http://knewt.ly/fbgiveaway. The contest ends September 10, 2010.


Here's a little more background on our LSAT prep course:
  • Live and interactive web-based classes
  • One-on-one attention from world-class LSAT instructors
  • All 60 LSAT PrepTests
  • Live office hours and 24/7 academic support from LSAT experts
  • 6,000+ explanations and sketches
  • Flexible 1-year membership
  • Guaranteed 5-point score increase
Students can also go to Knewton.com for a free LSAT Prep trial and diagnostic practice test.

So, there ya go. If you're wanting to take on some six-figure debt and go to law school, definitely take an LSAT prep course. It could get you into a much better school or, more importantly, get you some scholarship (that way if you're lucky enough to find employment after law school, you can pay your loans and your rent! Win!).

I apologize for the lack of posts lately. Solo practice is insane. Absolutely insane. And I have yet to figure out how I exactly I will ever make money at this.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Employed!

I got the part-time coordinator job I interviewed for on Monday. Yay!! Totally excited and definitely not the career path I thought I would be on six years ago when I applied to law school. I also never thought I'd be an employee of my alma mater, eek! But very excited and looking forward to a job I think is actually kinda perfect for me.

I will also continue to practice law part-time and looks like I will also be doing some contract work for a friend's law firm. Plenty of stuff going on, so hopefully it earns me the dolla billz. Because I owe quite a few dolla billz to the student loan people.

I think at some point my new dream is for this job to become full time so I get benefits from the university and I get to go back to school for free and get my PhD in history and when I retire, write really boring books on really boring topics that no one will ever read. That would be lovely.

Of course, there's still the government job to investigate stuff, but considering I keep losing and gaining the same five pounds, and my knee has been killing me, I'm not sure when exactly I'll be passing that fitness test. Oh, and the husband expects me to gestate another human soon, which is total crap. Next marriage, I'm going for someone with a uterus! Stupid men who can't grow children, bah.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

MILP #165

Is at Butterflyfish. Here next week.

Also... VERY IMPORTANT: If you are part of the MILP roundup, and you did not receive an email from me last night, would you please send me an email (protoattorney at yahoo)? This means I likely could not find your email address. Thanks!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Juggling and ponies

I'm still juggling this whole practicing law/working at home/raising a toddler/trying to build a practice thing with a healthy dose of insanity. It's exhausting. I'm so ready to go punch a time clock and send that kid to full time daycare, it's not even funny.

Coming up with things to do is difficult, especially at the point it was so effing hot, just stepping outside to get into the car makes me need a nap. We've gone to the pool several times this summer, but sometimes, it's just too hot to even do that. So we've gone to the library, to the pet store and to the indoor playgrounds.

Last Monday, I took Cora to this indoor bouncing place, along with Cora's friend J (and her mom and little sister). It was pretty empty on a weekday morning, which was nice, because hoards of screaming children is my own personal hell. (I can only spend so long in the Chick Fil A play area before I start twitching.) At one point, while the girls were playing skee ball, two little boys came up and asked if they could have a token because they wanted to play too. I'm like, WTF? No, go ask your mother for a token. Scram. Get off my lawn.

However, sometimes you can get away with taking a toddler to adult events. For instance, a well-connected friend of mine got us the hook up for free tickets to the grand prix event (jumping horsies) at the horse park's new arena. The arena was built in anticipation of the horsey games next month, that will engulf our already traffic-congested city, and since I plan to stay far away from the horsey game madness, it was a nice opportunity to get to see the arena. We also managed to crash the VIP event (my friend's mom is on the horsey foundation's board), where there was free booze. (I didn't partake, I was the DD. But Husband was certainly happy with it.) There was also important networking to be had. Let's just say, I don't normally run into the governor's wife, shake her hand and introduce myself, at the events I commonly attend. Anyway, Cora, of course, was completely thrilled by all the jumping horsies. Each one's name was "horsey" and after each rider completed the course, Cora clapped enthusiastically and then announced that it was now "horsey's turn!" If a horse knocked down a pole on the jump, she'd lament "Oh no! Fall down!"


Little lady

After the event, Cora was still awake and in a very good mood, so we decided to take a chance and take her out to a local restaurant, where normally we would never take our toddler. (The water boy was completely befuddled by filling up the sippy cup.) When we got there, Cora was still happy as a clam, and asked if she could have ice cream. So, while the guys drank more cocktails, Cora indulged in chocolate ice cream at 10pm. (Which I spoon-fed to her, so her dress wouldn't be covered in it.) By the time we got home it was 11pm, and she had fallen asleep in the car on the way home. She was still smiling as we got her changed into pajamas, and all the next day continued to chatter on about jumping horsies. We got some really adorable pictures of her, which my friend sent to his mother, and they want to have Cora out to the farm to visit their miniature ponies. I'm not sure riding the ponies will happen though. Cora was pretty freaked out by the carousel last week at Monkey Joe's. Like completely terrified in an epic way.

Anyway, more fun with toddlers... So, I've been volunteering for this program that's sort of a nonprofit partnership between the university's hospital and a public interest legal program. It serves the families of children who are patients at the hospital and clinic, concerning legal issues that effect the health and well-being of the children. I've done a few landlord-tenant cases for them, and I've got a defamation defense case in district court coming up. It's really awesome, and I mentioned to the attorney there that if they get the grant money they're seeking and can hire a full time attorney, I'd love to be that attorney. Well, nothing on the grant yet, but she called me last week and asked if I would be interested in taking the part-time coordinator position, which has been filled by social workers in the past, but she feels would be better served by having an attorney in that role. It's a variety of tasks, including sorting through the referrals, dealing with Medicaid/insurance issues, educating the physicians and staff on recognizing legal issues, fund-raising, advocacy and even lobbying. The hourly wage is decent, and it would still give me the opportunity to actually practice law. I'd be a "temporary" university employee, which is basically a permanent employee that doesn't get benefits. But I would potentially be writing the grant proposal to fund myself a full time position, which would be totally awesome. So I said absolutely! She said she would try to sell me to the doctors making the decision.

Today I had to bring Cora into the clinic for a shot, and her office is in the clinic, so I told her I'd be in about 3pm before Cora's shot to drop off the files I'm finished with, and pick up the new ones. Well, when I got there, she said she wanted the doctor to meet with me and discuss the job. I'm like, uh, crap, what? I've got my screaming toddler (I'll get into that in a minute), I'm wearing slacks, flip-flops, no make-up and a rather low-cut shirt, and my hair has not been flat-ironed, so it looks like a total nightmare. I won't even begin to describe the fail that is my manicure. Anyway, but they're all, oh don't worry about it, we know we just sprung this on you, and we knew you would have your child with you, we just figured while you're down here, we could talk about it. For nearly an hour. And Cora was a raging mess. She was (literally) throwing herself on the floor screaming, sobbing, snot running out of her nose, it was awful. She didn't have a nap, and the one day she probably would have taken one, we didn't have time. And of course, I had to sell myself for the job, while at the same time trying to calm down my screaming demon child, and keep my cool and, you know, not throttle her in front of potential employers, which is what I felt like doing. Sigh. It definitely tops the list of "worst job interview ever."

So, finally, we got out of there, and headed over to her pediatrician's office, where she calmed down when she got to play with some of their toys. She had another meltdown when we had to leave the play area and go up to the desk to give the new insurance card. One of the ladies asked if she could have chocolate, and gave me two Twix bars. This improved Cora's mood immensely. It was as though she became a different child. Suddenly she was smiling, and happy, and polite; back to her usual self. Then we went back to get the shot. She laid down on the table, and cried for only five seconds when she got the shot, and then she was fine. She was thrilled with the Elmo band-aid, and then thanked the nurse. The nurse gave her four Princess and the Frog stickers, which Cora was just over the moon about, and thanked her repeatedly. Then we marched off to the parking garage with our stickers, and Cora told me about the "bug bite" and how "it hurt the leg." She asked to hear "Poker Face" when we got in the car (she's a big Lady Gaga fan, which Husband thinks is parent fail, but whatever, he has no taste), but she fell asleep before the song even finished, and was snoring loudly in the back seat by the time we got home.

I had plans this evening and she was still napping when I left, but Daddy took her out for ice cream after dinner. When I got home at 10:30, I heard her in her room talking, I guess her sleep schedule was all messed up. So, I went in and snuggled for awhile and told her about how I'd talked to [my friend] tonight and we were going to go see the ponies the weekend after next. She asked if they would be jumping, before going back to sleep.

Monday, August 16, 2010

MILP Round Up # 164

Is at Butterflyfish.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Just keep swimming

Swimming swimming swimming...

I swear, insurance adjusting is looking better every day.

It's been a rough week. Full of fail, including epic technology fail (suck it, AT&T). Ugh. Next week, I've got two domestic violence hearings, two days in a row, and one is in my hometown. There are a few personal reasons why I really don't want to step foot in the courthouse in my hometown, but I just need to suck it up and deal with it. I don't have time for personal demons; I've got too much shit to do.

Cora will be going to daycare all 5 days next week, because I've got those two hearings and a lot of other work to do and, frankly, we're spending way too much time together and she's been getting on my last damn nerve. She is in this phase where she uses this whiny voice all the damn time, and it is like nails on a chalkboard for me. So, we clearly need a break from each other. I need a break in general. I haven't stopped since I lost my job, I haven't just taken a day and relaxed all by myself. I desperately need that soon, or I am going to completely lose my mind. I'm shooting for a day off next Friday. I have books to read!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

MILP Roundup #162

The Weekly MILP (Moms In the Legal Profession) Roundup** is hosted on a rotating basis at the PT-LawMom, Attorney Work Product and Butterflyfish blogs and is usually posted no later than Monday morning. Next week Butterflyfish has it.

First, it's been a week of legal wins with the confirmation of Justice Elena Kagan, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California's opinion in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, overturning Prop 8. Celebrations noted here and here!

(New MILP) Cristy is working on random things.

CM is cooking.

LEO is crafting.

There's a different kind of hard work to be done at the Erbgarden.

Izzie has baby pics.

Cowgirl in the City isn't gaining.

Jenny fights passive aggression and models.

Shantelle has no need to reference her state's landlord-tenant laws.

Dinei has super cute baby pics of a baby going home soon!

LL's BabyClaire is two months old.

LC's had a very busy week.

Dakota's DC adventure continues.

If you would like to have your blog added to the MILP blogroll for weekly review or would like us to consider a specific post, drop the hostess(es) an email or leave a comment at their respective sites.

**Hat tip to the “original” Roundup Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground and Thanks, But No Thanks

Saturday, August 7, 2010

He's Just Not That Into You

I'll admit, my feelings are a little hurt that [it would appear] I did not get the job I interviewed for a couple weeks ago. The guy said they were going to hire someone "quickly." I would assume that someone isn't me since it's been two weeks and I've not heard anything. I even called to follow-up and emphasize my continued interest. Nada. I briefly considered continuing to call in desperation a la Swingers, but my desperation hasn't quite sunk to that level yet. Yet.

As for solo practicing, I finally ended up with a family law case. It's a mess, the client's a mess, and it's all going to give me an ulcer. I doubt my ability to practice family law long-term, because eventually I'm just going to stroke out. Too much stress. I just don't think it's worth it. But for right now I don't really have a choice, I need to take whatever comes along. For instance, I have an out-of-state client on a traffic court matter, and a warning order attorney appointment. Some quick easy money. I'd like a higher volume of quick easy money, and less volume of emotional turmoil. I still haven't brought in any actual money, since I had so much in expenses, so I still can't pay myself a salary from "the firm." Hopefully this month will change that. I've also got bar dues and insurance premiums to pay.

Sometimes I think back on my secretarial job when my only responsibilities were typing, printing, copying and filing, 40 hours a week. Making more money than I'm currently making, which is minimum wage (fuck you, unemployment). I wonder why the hell I was so stupid as to leave that and go to law school, thinking it would just be a simple promotion and a pay raise. I'm not sure it was either.

Solo practice is difficult, particularly without support staff, because it's having several jobs (and, I reiterate, not yet getting paid). Not only do I practice law, but I'm bogged down with administrative tasks, so that everything takes a really long time. Printing and copies and envelopes and filing and billing and going to the post office and the bank and answering the phone/making phone calls. Whew. Also, working on advertising and making contacts so I can get referrals. It's all very time-consuming. I really wanted a day off today, to have to myself, but it just didn't happen. I had work to do. I still have work to do. I need to get more efficient.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Whirlwinds

Lots of stuff has happened since I updated last. Those of you who are Facebook friends, or friends in the non-cyber world, know most of this, but here's what's up:

1. I passed the Phase I exam for super-awesome government agency that investigates stuff. Now I just have to let them know when I can pass the fitness test, then I'll qualify for an interview. However, if I get invited for an interview, I have to be 100% sure I want to be a kick-ass government agent investigating stuff, because they pay all the expenses to get me out there to interview and such. It'll take some soul-searching, because I wouldn't be returning to home state after government agent training camp. Big commitment. Soul searching. Moot if I don't get my fat ass to the gym and manage to get my 1.5 mile run in under 14 minutes, and do 14 proper pushups.

2. I am currently helping out the solo practitioner I discussed in my last post. In exchange for a few hours of office work a week, she is letting me use her office to meet with my own clients, giving me referrals of stuff she doesn't want/have time for, and is teaching me stuff. She does a lot of federal criminal defense work, which is awesome, particularly considering the above-referenced potential career path. While I'm assisting on those cases in a pro bono capacity, there's a possibility she can actually get me some money and bill me out as a paralegal. I'm not holding my breath, but that would be cool. Of course, then I'd just have to pay back the unemployment people, so it's probably not worth the hassle. Since I found absolutely nothing saying so, I am assuming that the exchange of services does not count as earning wages, since I'm not being paid.

3. I've got two paying clients signed up! One a referral from my new office-mate, and the other a referral from an acquaintance. Since I've now got escrow checks for retainers from two different clients, I have to submit my IOLTA form and withdraw the money I had to put into that account to open it up. I'm very excited about my clients. First, neither is domestic relations. Both clients are defendants, in matters that manage to combine business, torts, property, administrative law and civil rights. The matters are complex enough to be interesting, but simple enough to not scare the hell outta the baby lawyer. It's nice to look at a case and while, not entirely knowing everything about the area of law, knowing enough to make an educated guess as to the issues, and then doing the research and finding out you're right. Yay. And I really just like dealing with areas of law that involve money and not, you know, the welfare of children. It is 10,000 times less stressful and doesn't keep me awake at night. Second, once I start working on their cases next week, I only have to bill 3 hours of work to not claim anything for unemployment. So they can go get stuffed.

4. Why Unemployment can go get stuffed: I had to sit through an entire afternoon of complete waste-my-time-bullshit on "How to Find a Job." There was an audio-visual presentation. Then the guy made us copy all of our "job hunting" information onto the form and then made me write down phone numbers for all the places I've applied. Excuse me? If they actually call any of those attorneys, I definitely won't get the job. In fact, I might never work again. Assholes. Yeah, because I love going from earning $1250/week with paid health insurance to only getting $290/week and having no health insurance (oh, and never got my COBRA forms either) so CLEARLY I must not be looking for a job. Fuckers.

5. Also on my shit list are jackasses I have the misfortune of knowing who sitting around with nothing better to do than bitch that people on unemployment are lazy and could find a job if they really wanted one, and posting about it on Facebook, knowing full well that I just got laid off and my mother had just lost her benefits, and the job she thought she just got, fell through. I've unfriended people over it. Particularly one law school classmate who is a complete douche. Fortunately, Congress stopped dicking around and passed the additional extension so we aren't bankrupt yet. Yes, I'm sure there are people who aren't really looking for jobs and enjoying the paid vacation because they're getting enough to survive. That's not me. I really would like to have enough money to pay my student loans, and to put the money back into savings I had for Cora.

6. The car fiasco. I got a fair settlement for my car, but not really enough to buy a new one. My car was a 99 Corolla LE with 119,000 miles on it. It was fully loaded; sunroof and all that jazz. The most comparable thing I could find was a 2002 Corolla LE with 90,000 miles on it, no sunroof. It's also missing the keyless entry thingy, which is annoying and will cost a chunk of cash to replace. It's also an automatic instead of a standard, which I guess is good since I won't need to replace a clutch anytime soon, but I hate driving an automatic. I don't like the car as much. I liked my old car. This one smells odd and it's louder. But whatever. I paid $600 more for it than what the insurance company valued for my car. Which meant $1600 (since I had a $1000 deductible). Plus tax title and shit. So, $2400 more. Which drained my savings, which wasn't even my money, it was Cora's money. But what can you do. I needed a reliable car, husband's working odd hours. And of course, there was the annoyance of dealing with used car salesmen, which I'm still dealing with. They continuously lied to my face. Even about things that didn't matter. Even about stuff that I could verify. After repeatedly calling them on their bullshit, the guy asked me what I did. I told him I'm a lawyer. You think that'd stop the bullshit. Nope.

The brakes were clearly bad on the car, and I told them I wasn't buying the car unless they fix the brakes, even though they swore the first thing they did when they got the car was do an inspection and they fixed the brakes. So they were supposed to be fixing the brakes while we're signing the papers. Turns out the shop's closed. So, they say they'll fix the brakes on Monday. I go to the shop on Monday, it isn't done. I wait for an hour, the mechanic guy says there's nothing wrong with the brakes, they had put on all new brake pads, and it's just the type of brake pads. You just have to brake so much harder with the type of pads we put on. WTF? I mean, seriously. Do I have STUPID stamped across my forehead?

At that point, I'm like, fuck it. I don't want them touching my car again, I want the brakes fixed and I want it done right. I have it in writing they were going to fix the brakes. They told me they put new brake pads on. I also have it in writing the sale is subject to inspection by my mechanic. So, I take it to my mechanic and tell him what they told me about the brakes. He starts laughing. Yeah, there are no new brake pads on the car. The rear ones are still fine, but needed all that cleaning/rotating stuff, and the front brake pads have less than 20% left on them. I pay for new brake pads and install, etc. and he gives me the "new" brake pads the dealership put on the car. (They apparently meant "new" as in "never been on this car before" as opposed to "new" as in "never been used before." Assholes.) Anyway, the car now safely comes to a stop without having to slam on the brakes and just hoping for the best.

I plan to write an extremely nasty letter to the dealership, asking for a check in the amount of the brake service, and then plan to sue them in district court when they ignore me. I know it's not enough money to really be worth it, but since they will have to hire an attorney in order to defend the case, because they can't just send a representative as that would be the unauthorized practice of law, it will cost them more to go to court than it will to just pay me for my brake pads. Even if I lose for some reason, (maybe some boiler plate language on the back of some page that negates the agreement about the brakes), it's still satisfaction there. I will also be giving them as much negative publicity as possible on every rating available.

I mean, seriously. Brake pads are like $70. They couldn't just say, hey, the car needs new brake pads. Needs new wiper blades too. The car is sold as is. The brakes need work, but brake work is cheap. That's as low as we can go on the price. It's $70! Why lie about it? Why stand there and lie to my face? Because they're used car salesmen. I don't think they'd know the truth, if it actually came out of their mouths.

7. Why lawyers are better than used car salesmen: I've been doing pro bono work for a local non-profit that is affiliated with my University's children's hospital. It is set up to provide free legal services for those who have children being treated at the hospital and need assistance. It is remotely possible that they will be actually hiring an attorney in the near future; they are applying for a big grant, and if they get one, they'll have enough to get an attorney and a social worker. I told the lady I was super interested, even if it's part time, because I would love to do public interest work (and actually pay my bills).

Most of what I'm doing is landlord-tenant. Here's a funny thing: I LOVE Landlord-Tenant, and I'm really good at it. I nailed my own landlord a few years ago before I even went to law school (from a past apartment complex where we lived before we bought our house), and this past winter I helped a friend get out of her lease and get her deposit back from her slumlord. The laws aren't really crafted to protect the tenant, but because of that landlords tend to do some really outrageous stuff because they think they don't have any responsibility to their tenants. And it affords me the opportunity to write nasty letters to slumlords, quoting them the law, and telling them what they're gonna be doing and how if they don't, they'll be getting the smack laid down on 'em, bitches! Only a little more polished and professional. I'm hoping to get some cases involving denying insurance benefits, because I'd love to get into with some insurance companies. I hate dealing with that stuff when it's mine, but on behalf of other people, the fangs come out.

8. Speaking of fangs: True Blood is awesome this season. That is all.

9. Interviews: I've had two interviews so far. One with my own car insurance agency for an adjuster position. They'll be adding another adjuster in January/February. Dunno if I'm ready to give up the practice of law to take a job I didn't need a law degree to even get. It would be one thing if it was a litigation adjuster position, but once the claims end up in court, an office in the midwest handles those claims. But at least it's a fall-back option. Otherwise, great pay, great benefits, not a lot of working hours.

And (literally) across the street, is the law firm I had my other interview with. I know half the attorneys there, I used to work with them. Most were from Crappy Midsize Firm that pushed me out during my maternity leave. At least part of the reason I got pushed out was because one of those attorneys (now working at this new firm) had left with a few associates and staff and took all their clients with them, so, hurting for money, the partners cleaned house to get rid of anyone making too much money (i.e. me, the guy whose name was first on the door, etc.) and who they felt wasn't contributing enough to making them rich and paying for their multi-million dollar houses, because they're greedy bastards. (Former Named Partner was in a better position than I was, told them to screw off, took all of his clients with him that, for some reason, the others thought would stay with their firm, and took two attorneys with him as well. They miscalculated, thinking he would take a huge pay cut to go "of counsel" and let them milk his clients dry. Oops. A few other associates left during that time as well, taking their own clients and even some of the partners' clients too. It was quite nasty to say the least.)

Anyway, so it's insurance defense. But it doesn't sound like sweatshop insurance defense. The billable hour requirement is 1800/year, but I was assured I wouldn't be held to that in my first few years, because they know how difficult it is when you're a new associate to bill that much. I can bring in my own clients and keep 50%. Vacation time isn't really set. They say two weeks, but if you've got your billable hours in, they aren't monitoring when you work/your every move. It's a casual office. Everyone's wearing khakis and jeans and flipflops. You are expected to keep a suit in your office in case something comes up. There's lots of travel, but I expected that. All insurance defense firms in the city travel to smaller counties across the state. As long as I'm not on the Bluegrass Parkway at night, don't think I'll have a problem with that. I like that the firm's not downtown; it's literally five minutes away from my house, and five minutes away from Cora's daycare. No stupid parking issues, no traffic jams, no construction, and I could even go to the gym (which is in the same center) before, after or during work.

I think the interview went well, but I'm always afraid to get my hopes up. I've had great interviews and not gotten the job, and interviews where I just sit there and think, "Wow, this person is soooo not into me," and then get a job offer. I think the firm would be a good fit, and I'd enjoy the work. It's insurance defense, but it's... interesting. If I get the job, I'll extrapolate a bit more on the type of litigation.

10. Readjusting. I've called an emergency girls' night for this evening because it was either I hang with my girlfriends and drink heavily, or I have to call upon my friend who's a pathologist to convince a jury that Husband hit himself repeatedly over the head with a shovel, and there was no foul play involved in his untimely demise.

Friday I completely lost my shit. Husband is driving me crazy. He hasn't started working nights yet, which will help considerably, because then, I won't see him as much. It's getting as bad as it was last summer. We cannot spend that much time together, and he cannot be home that much with nothing to do. He is driving me crazy. CRAZY. I've been really really busy, with juggling a lot of stuff. Job-hunting, interviewing, law firm development, networking, meeting with clients, doing research, being at the office helping my office mate, doing the pro bono work, dealing with the car issues, dealing with the unemployment bullshit, dealing with my mother, my great aunt died (who was like a grandmother to me) and I couldn't go to her funeral in New York because we just didn't have the money for both me and my mom to go, plus we'd have had to take Cora, so we gave Mom money to go by herself instead, and of course, I'm home with Cora on Mondays and Tuesdays, and had her most of the evenings this week, because Husband was working and then he was hanging out with the guys Thursday night. It's been crazy. I was up until 1am on Thursday night getting work done, because I just haven't had the time otherwise. I have a half-written article for Ms. JD that is overdue, and I need to find the energy to finish. I just haven't had any time, nor have I had any time for myself. I hadn't watched any television all week. I'd been in the middle of S3E3 of True Blood for two weeks, and hadn't finished watching it (even knowing there was the totally effed up neck-twisting vampire sex scene at the end of the episode to look forward to). I haven't been to the gym in two weeks. This is literally the first afternoon I've had to myself in two weeks.

And I've spent it blogging! But I needed to. I needed to clear my head and figure out what the hell happened the last two weeks, because it's truly all a blur. Now I can move forward. Hopefully I'll know something soon about the job. And if I don't get the job, I continue moving forward with my law firm, and I'll just need to get the website launched. Hopefully I won't have to draw anymore from unemployment either way, and can be rid of that hassle after next week.