I've always wondered how on earth lawyers manage to not fulfill their CLE requirements and then get suspended from the bar for it. We need 12.5 hours each year, and the annual convention alone yields 20 and only costs between $200-$300. Well, after spending 3 days doing this nonsense, now I know how: IT SUCKS.
Now, a few of the CLE's were really good. I attended one on administrative legal proceedings (in particular, defending professional licenses) that was fantastic, and today our keynote speaker was Frank Abagnale (that was totally awesome and well worth the three days of hell to get to see). However, there were some that were awful (yesterday's ethics speaker who broke out into a lounge act at the end -- seriously, dude started playing the piano and singing), and some that were just OMG effing ridiculous. For instance, yesterday afternoon's "Dealing with High Conflict Clients" had NOTHING to do with actually dealing with those clients, and instead was focused on diagnosing their personality disorders, like narcissism, and talking the not-crazy client into giving the crazy party everything they want just to keep the peace (yeah right), and was much too focused on domestic relations, never mind that crazy clients exist in all areas of practice. But it isn't my problem what brand of crazy they are; I'm a lawyer not a shrink. I just need to know how to deal with them when they're my clients, and that CLE sure didn't tell me. Needless to say, the natives were restless. Then one dude starts in on the speaker, and his criticisms really were valid, but then the dude makes some dorky comment about how he himself is a narcissist, just ask his wife, har har. At which point the moderator, who had gotten up and walked across the room to the dude to get the microphone for him when he started commenting/criticizing the speaker, even though said microphone was 5 feet from the dude in the first place, interjects with a smack-down of "Or you could ask the woman standing here holding the microphone for you rather than holding it yourself." (Oh snap!) After that whole snarky showdown, most people bailed and the few who stayed continued with some frank WTF comments about the presentation, until the presenter finally gave up and ended 30 minutes early. I stayed to watch the rest of the clown show, played Zombie Farm on my iPhone, kept my comments to myself, and wished I'd chosen "Real Estate Transactions 101" instead.
The New Lawyers portion, which separated us from everyone else today other than for the keynote speaker, was completely useless, other than the "how to avoid malpractice" segment. Everything said, had been said over and over and over again throughout law school. Seriously, if you're a screw up, you're a screw up; hearing the same material for the 20th time will not make you any less of a screw up. The "legal writing" portion of it was in particular the most stupid. (If you have to be told at this point in life that you shouldn't use contractions in formal writing, you should give up, you suck at life.) And worse, since they made us sit through 2 hours of the bar association propaganda this morning, I missed the one panel I was really excited about, which was the one on child custody issues with gay and transgendered parents. I was so pissed to find out we were stuck in the new lawyers nonsense during it. They recorded all the panels, but I don't think they make them available for free. Sucks.
Oh well. There was still lots of good in spite of lots of fail. Time with friends I haven't seen in awhile, and time spent schmoozing (and going all fangirl on the FBI agent during the electronic discovery panel). Some really good information to pull out among all the useless. And we did get free ice cream yesterday, that was awesome. I think I gained 100 pounds this week, but oh well.
There's more to blog about -- lunch with a creeper dude; a gorilla; parking fail; The War on Pedestrians; my awesome networking skillz; fascist rent-a-cops; obnoxious fellow lawyers; fat girls in mini-dresses; and most annoyingly, the unemployment office trying to screw me out of benefits because I was laid off two weeks before the end of the current base period. But I've got to get some sleep -- Cora has baby ballet tomorrow and then we have a cookout to attend. More calories, hurray! At this rate I'll be a contestant on Biggest Loser instead of getting my ass kicked at [a certain training camp in Virginia for agents who investigate stuff for the federal government]. I have plenty of free time now, so why the hell not.
I keep going back and forth from feeling optimistic and confident to just pissed off about the whole being unemployed thing. In addition to the "we're fucking you over" letter I got from unemployment, I also got a notice that the government will give me pell grant money to go back to school (no they won't, Husband makes too much money). Suck on it, Government. I have more degrees and licenses than I currently have wall space on which to hang them. I just want a damn job. I want someone to pay me, on a regular basis, so that I can in turn pay off the useless degrees I already have. And I'd like to have health insurance and the occasional pretty pair of shoes. I don't ask for much in life, really.