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...


... 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