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.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Girly things

I don't know how I ended up with such a girly girl for a daughter, because I was a tom boy and I always preferred playing with the boys than the girls. If I end up with a girly girl for a son, I'd totally understand that one. But an actual girl? Just don't get it. Cora's a purse-carrying, shoe-loving, baby-doll holding, tea-party hostessing, dress-twirling little princess. Today, I learned about a Saturday morning "baby ballet" class for two-year-olds, starting in March. I still plan to enroll her at the ballet theatre for which we volunteer once she's three, which is the standard age the kiddies start lessons. But I was excited to learn about baby ballet, because I think Cora will love it (she loves dancing, and watching dancing), and now I have something to do with her on Saturdays. Husband's excited about it too. It's his fault she's so girly. For instance, when I dress her for daycare, she's wearing pants, shirts and sneakers. When he dresses her, she's wearing pretty little dresses. Daddy's little princess.

Speaking of girl time, Cora's "fairy godfather" and my mom came to Small Town yesterday to hang out (and for my mom to apply for jobs here, since she's still unemployed, and hasn't had any luck finding jobs in The City). He planned on taking Mommy to a drag show in the neighboring small city across the bridge (he frequents the bar scene there), but we decided to stay in and watch Twilight. I'd never seen the movie, and neither had Mommy. I once attempted to read the book and couldn't make it past the first chapter, so I should have known that the drag show would have been much more entertaining. It is quite possibly the worst film ever made, based on the crappiest story ever conceived. (And that says a lot, considering I've seen The Postman.) Even the hawtness of Robert Pattinson could not save that film from being a pile of crap. Sparkly stalker vampires + teenage angst = Vomit. Not that I'd kick Edward Cullen out of bed or nuthin', but our hawt and dirrrty sexual encounter would have to be followed up with a restraining order and a wooden stake. Oh wait, apparently a traditional staking ain't good enough for sparkly vampires. Yeah, so, can't wait to see New Moon.

I finished Season One of Veronica Mars a few days ago. Now THAT is a fantastically written and beautifully acted show involving teenagers and angst. I love how the clues were there all along to solve the overarching murder mystery, but it wasn't obvious enough to solve it up until just moments before Veronica solves it. And it's definitely an "oh shit" moment. Fabulous. Veronica's definitely a better role model for young girls than the swooning Twilight chick who thinks it's hot that the patronizing sparkly stalker vampire shows up in her room at night to watch her while she's sleeping, follows her around, bosses her around, and even tries to fasten her seatbelt for her. WTF? But, I guess Veronica is the girl you want your daughter to be -- strong, clever, and independent. Bella is the girl that unfortunately many teenage girls are -- weak, mopey and co-dependent. I was probably more like Bella than I care to admit, and dated a guy that was overprotective, controlling, and constantly imagined himself to be the hero to the damsel in distress. However, at least I did recognize it, and eventually got out of it. It certainly isn't something to be romanticized. Edward's a creeper. Gross. If you're gonna hook up with a vampire, it should totally be Eric Northman from True Blood. Yum!

If this post concentrates too much on talking about totally hawt guys I'd do really naughty things with, it's probably because living in a different city from one's husband puts a big damper on one's sex life. (Ha, and waking up this morning in bed with a gay man is even more depressing.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Grown-up time

Since we started our crazy schedule of living in two places, two hours away, having two daycares, we've made every effort to spend as much time together as a family, since we're each away from Cora two days a week. We don't get sitters anymore, we take Cora with us whenever we go out, and we stay home after she goes to bed. In other words, we've become totally lame.

So, this past weekend, we actually went out. On Friday night, our friends watched Cora for us while we went out to dinner, drank beer, and then went to the annual "Nudes" art exhibit. On Saturday night, I had my mom come over at bedtime and I went out to have drinks with a few friends from graduate school. It was a lot of fun. And next Saturday, I'm having drinks out with the law school girls.

It's definitely upped my spirits. It's been awhile since I've gone out and done stuff without the kid. The two nights a week I don't have Cora, I generally sit around the apartment and watch stuff from Netflix. And then Husband works Saturday and Sunday nights, so I stay home with the kid, and usually don't go out because it seems dumb to get a sitter just for me to go out.

What lowers my spirits is the fact that it's going to snow again tonight. Effing snow. We had a nice weekend of 50 degree weather, I guess it was too much to hope it would last. I'm always so much happier in the summer.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

MILP Roundup #134

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

What's up, Legal Moms? Apparently, lots of babies!

First, let's all congratulate LL on her GIRL, who is still unnamed.

Gillian is trying to figure out where to put her bundle, in the house and in interviews.

Cee is itching for more, but carefully planning.

Googiebaba is just waiting for hers to arrive!

Other moms are having birthdays...

Jenny's birthday is saved by love from her law school chums.

LC's birthday is full of love from her great kids.

And in other news...

SFL is sifting through the crazy of Citizens United v. FEC.

Butterflyfish teaches finances.

Dakota is currently a nomad.

-R- is on week 2 of her job, and rockin' the argyle socks.

Magic Cookie is rockin' sock pockets.

Newlawmom learns that studying doesn't matter. (I suggest drinking more instead!)

Momttorney is waiting out the results of an MRI.

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, January 18, 2010

Fiction and Nonfiction

I just finished reading Courting Kathleen Hannigan by Mary Hutchings Reed. The book is a little over two years old. Of course, when it came out, I was busy in law school, while largely pregnant. So, I'm slowly getting around to my reading list, and this one had been lingering near the top for awhile now. It's a great read, I highly recommend it. It's engaging, and kept me up way too late Saturday night finishing it. And unfortunately, the message is still very applicable for female lawyers today, and I recognize plenty of the characters in the book as being caricatures of real people I know.

The main character (and the author) graduated from law school in 1976, three years before I was born. Reading this book reminds me that I am only practicing law today because these women came before me. (And, of course, it being MLK Day, also reminds me that the sexism, racism, or biogtry we might face is nothing compared to what past generations faced, and there are doors open today that nobody could walk through previously. We should certainly be thankful for that.)

But, even though they broke into a male-dominated profession, and effected a great deal of changes, we still have a long way to go. Whether you're an ivy league-educated go-getter who won't be satisfied until you hike to the top and break a few glass ceilings on the way, or you're a mediocre graduate from a mediocre school who is just happy to be getting a paycheck and standing up in court, there's still plenty of sexism to face. It's just usually more subtle now, and you don't realize it until you're in the middle of it. For instance, from the outset, it might not seem like a big deal that a midsize firm doesn't have any female partners, even though they consistently hire female associates. Fifty percent of law school grads are women now, so it should be a level playing field, right? Just a matter of time until all those women make partner, right? Except too many women are pushed out of this profession in frustration and disappointment, and never make it to partnership. Or they're denied partnership, leave the firm, start over somewhere else, only to find they won't make partner there either.

It's what happens when it becomes apparent that you really aren't part of the club. When "client development" events involve golf, and if you don't play golf, so your job, rather than mingling with the clients, is to be the beer wench for all the men playing golf. At Mid-Size Firm's golf scramble, the senior women associates simply refused to attend. The junior women associates, however, were the beer wenches, and forced to wear matching outfits. Ugh. And sure, there are women who play golf, but I only know of two, and neither are lawyers. I know dozens of women who don't golf. I don't play golf. (And not for lack of trying on my part, it's just that the last time I was at the driving range, I'm pretty sure they had to reseed the grass.) It reminds me of when I worked in corporate sales at the now-defunct computer superstore, and my boss would often take clients out to a strip club. Seriously. He even ended up hiring a salesman who was a bouncer at the strip club, so he could get free passes and such. Gross. So, I guess, in theory, I could have gone with him to wine and dine what were also my clients, but, while I'm no prude, spending an evening with strange women's bewbs shoved in my face is not my idea of a professional atmosphere in which to strengthen client relationships.

Anyway, back to the book. One thing about the book is the fact that the woman suing for sexual discrimination is simply a horrible human being. She is a brilliant attorney, and incredibly hard-working, but she's a heinous bitch. The main character, Kathleen Hannigan, particularly hates her. But she can't deny that the woman should have made partner in the firm, on the basis that there are men just as awful as her who make partner, thus causing a rift between her loyalty to the firm and her loyalty to a greater feminist cause/telling the truth.

This bugged me about the story because, even though she was obviously discriminated against, I just didn't want her to win. Douchebags should not make partner, anywhere. If you verbally abuse your staff, not to mention your superiors, and are repeatedly insubordinate, you should be shown the door, not given partnership. So, while I appreciate the sentiment that when women exhibit this behavior they're bitches, and when men exhibit that behavior, they're aggressive and motivated, I just think it makes them all douchebags. Here's a better policy: no douchebags. Unfortunately, since douchebags have already risen to the management of firms (mostly men), that's unlikely to change. But hey, maybe a few public shamings (like from this guy) or disclosure of wrongdoings by a mistreated secretary will make douchebags rethink the way they treat underlings, let alone colleagues and clients. Maybe someday we can convince society that just because you're a lawyer, or a doctor, or someone else of grand self-importance that you still have to treat others with respect. Maybe we can start with policies that punish people for acting like bratty children instead of professionals, undermining the respect of our profession.

Anyway, in some respects, part of me feels like I'm hiding out here in Small Town, because the idea of going back to The City to work in a midsize firm, and being the beer wench while the male associates get face time with the clients and rise up through the ranks, just does not appeal to me. At the same time, if no one fights the fight, nothing changes. So I constantly struggle with whether I will ever go back and rejoin the herd. I rather enjoy the autonomy of a small firm. One boss, no other associates to compete with, no one being a dick to me on a daily basis. But, we'll see. I've never been much of a trailblazer, but I generally don't have a problem playing with the boys. Even if it means I'll have to take up golf.

MILP Roundup #133

PT-Lawmom has it. You want it.

You'll find it back here next week.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ending a Very Long Two Weeks

The past two weeks have been exhausting. Crazy clients, crazy lawyers, crazy assignments. Fortunately, The Boss went to Motion Hour today, so I can chill at the office for a little while and look through the stuff piled on my desk.

Last night, I finished up a response memo to a summary judgment motion on one of our lower-value cases, being defended by expensive attorneys. The not-so-fun thing about plaintiff's work, is you don't get paid by the hour to respond to the 40-page boredom produced by the defense lawyers who do. Yes, thank you for citing every single case in our state's history, when just a few would have done nicely. This is a memorandum in support of a motion for summary judgment, not judicial history, get over it. Boring. My response was half as long, more direct, relied on fewer cases, but the cases I chose were exactly on point. I wouldn't say it was the most stunning piece of work ever written, but it'll get the job done. No summary judgment for you!

In other news, I have a new policy. If you're a douche, I no longer accept your phone calls. You will have to send written correspondence, so that when I respond in writing, tactfully but firmly, I have the opportunity to scream motherfucker! at you, without the unpleasantness of you knowing about it. That's the southern way, ya'll. We're always polite, even when we hate you. We just vent about it later behind your back.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Could we speak to someone who knows what they're doing? Like, you know, a man?"

When I was 18, I started working for the [now-defunct] computer superstore, at its local grand-opening. Although I would eventually move to corporate sales, I started out at the "upgrades counter," selling computer parts to customers who wished to upgrade their machines, or build their own from scratch. This included harddrives, motherboards, processors, RAM, even CPU cases. It involved at least basic knowledge of computer hardware, which wasn't really a problem for me since I'd gotten an excellent education in computer tech work in high school, and built plenty of computers from spare parts.

However, I wasn't prepared for the amount of sexism I would face by customers, particularly by other women. The most obvious occurrence was when a woman, probably about 15 years older than me, came in asking for more memory for her computer. I asked for her computer model, looked it up in our reference book, and quoted her a price. We are out of stock, but we can order that for you, ma'am. She blinks at me, turns to my co-worker standing next to me, a guy who's my age and wearing blue fingernail polish, and asks him the exact same question. He picks up the exact same reference book, looks up the exact same computer model, and gives her the exact same information. Oh, okay, thanks, let's order that.

WTF? But it was a pretty steady stream of that sort of thing. No one believed tech information coming from a girl. I had many customers complain to managers when I would give them advice on technology issues, because they were just appalled by the service of a stupid teenage girl. (Fortunately, most of the managers would stick up for me.) It certainly didn't improve when I moved to the tech department to actually do repairs and upgrades (out of the frying pan, into the fire). Finally, I transferred to corporate sales where I traded my red polo shirt and khaki pants for short skirts and tight blouses and could sell anything and everything to dirty old businessmen oogling my bewbs. Embracing sexism for my own personal profit, I suppose. By age 20, I was promoted to department lead and we had the highest sales and profit margins in the region, and I had personally landed several larger accounts. (Until CompUSuck shut us down, that is, to make corporate clients place their orders over the phone to a call center out of Dallas, like that wouldn't piss off our corporate clientel who required a significant amount of hand-holding. Fail.) I had given up on doing tech work because I didn't really like it, but part of what I didn't like was how people treated me. Like I couldn't possibly know what I'm doing, because I'm young and female.

I hadn't experienced that yet as an attorney. No one here has treated me with anything other than respect, other than one old geezer thinking I was the court reporter, but oh well. I have girlfriends who are constantly asked if they are really attorneys, and then get comments from clients like, surely you're too young to know what you're doing, you don't have any real-world experience, etc. I don't know of any male attorneys that get that, but I suppose if you look young enough, it happens. (My husband looks about 10 years younger than he is, and he got that quite frequently as a nurse when it meant he looked 15.) I guess I don't get that much because I'm not really that "young" anymore. There are attorneys my age who have been practicing for 6 years.

But... then it happened. I had an incredibly unpleasant conversation yesterday with an attorney from a large city, and finally, I did what I knew I shouldn't do, which was transfer the call to The Boss because I was going to lose my composure. (Of course, The Boss told him the exact same thing I told him, and all was fine.) I should have stood my ground with the guy, but I took it way too personally, and if I continued the conversation, I was going to say something incredibly ugly back to him and it would have been counterproductive. I shouldn't have gotten upset about it. The guy's a jerk, and he's out-of-state so he doesn't care who he pisses off, he doesn't have to work with any of us here.

Anyway, it's been a bad week, and it's only Tuesday. We fired two of our problem clients yesterday, both ones I'd been working with, both clients I had successfully managed until an intervening third party screwed everything up (a social worker and an out-of-state attorney, respectively). So, I feel a little defeated. And tired, thanks to a toddler that refused to sleep last night. I've got a ton of work to do, and trying to find the motivation to do it in this momentary slump in my bad-ass lady lawyer confidence.

But Husband will be here this evening, and there will be alcohol. And he will get up with the kid if she chooses to not sleep again tonight. I will be well-rested, self-medicated and my calm restored.

Monday, January 11, 2010

MILP # 132

... is over there. You'll find it at PT-Lawmom next week. Then it shall return here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Things That Annoy Me.

1. Snow. I hate snow. Unless it gets me out of work, which it doesn't unless there's a blizzard, and I don't really think staying home from work is worth dealing with a blizzard. So, yeah, I hate snow.

2. People who ask for my advice and then completely ignore it and do the stupid stuff we both agreed they shouldn't do. I always thought this would be limited to my personal life, but apparently it extends to my professional life too. But hey, if you want to completely screw up your case and have it explode in court in a big ball of epic fail, you know, whatever. Just don't even think about suing me for malpractice afterwards, because I have a long paper trail of I-Fucking-Told-You-So.

3. Attorneys in other states who continuously question me. If you aren't licensed in my state, don't tell me what I'm doing wrong as a matter of state law. And not just me, but several attorneys on opposite sides of this matter who have come to a settlement, reviewed these documents and agreed they get the job done in compliance with our state's law. You were only supposed to get our mutual client to sign the settlement documents and give him his settlement check. And if you gave him that check without getting those documents signed, I will come find you. Don't think I won't. Your state doesn't have snow.

4. Snow. It's worth mentioning again.

Things I Like:

1. Being badass and putting obnoxious people in their place. Don't screw with me. I'm covered in snow and pissed off.

2. Spending time with the Husband, Kid and Dog tonight. That makes the day a lot better.

3. Veronica Mars. I just started watching Season 1 last night. I don't know why it took me so long to watch this show, it's fabulous. Even if it does unfortunately have Paris Hilton in a couple episodes. Yuck.

4. Being busy. No time for too much brooding, there's work to be done!

Monday, January 4, 2010

MILP Roundup #131

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

One minute to midnight, one minute to go,

One minute to say good-bye before we say hello.

Let's start the new year right, twelve o'clock tonight.

When they dim the light, let's begin.

Kissing the old year out.

Kissing the new year in.

Let's watch the old year die with a fond good-bye.

And our hopes as high as a kite.

How can our love go wrong if

We start the new year right?

Irving Berlin

Happy New Year! It's a brand new day, new year and new decade, and the Moms in the Legal Profession are on their way to bigger and better things.

Except those of us dieting, such as Butterflyfish and I. We're trying to be smaller.

PT-Lawmom is starting the year off right by getting her bills in order, and celebrating her birthday with her man.

Dakota is making major changes to her family structure, and hoping for the strength and grace to pull their family through those changes.

LEO reviews a year of Timmy and looks forward to the year to come.

Momttorney is savoring the inches, rather than yearning for miles.

Googiebaba is appreciating the kindness of neighbors.

LC is spending some quality time with a sick daughter, and muses on the complexities of being the mother of twins.

Cee's munchkin will grow up with a complex understanding of tort law, and the roar of the platypus.

LL shows us it's important to have conference calls on mute when there's vomiting in the background.

Gillian isn't having much better luck, with Epic Harddrive Fail.

But, regardless of how well your New Year is going so far, here is -R-'s New Year's Baby to ring it in.

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