Sunday, September 20, 2009

Adventures At A Law Firm Cocktail Party

My first official act as a future employee of the Firm was to drink a beer in the office hallway. Ok, technically, I attended a two hour long all attorney meeting FIRST. Then I attended the all attorney cocktail party immediately following. Silly details.

As I sat in the all attorney meeting, several things occured to me:

1) Out of the 22 attorneys working at the firm, only 3, including me, are female. One of the female attorneys works at our office in another state. So in our Seattle office, I will be working with about 15 male attorneys and only one other female attorney. I know this shouldn't shock me considering all I know about practicing law and gender roles in society but it still DOES shock me. Maybe it's particularly bad because it's a litigation firm- which equals extra stress and less flexibility for family.

2) Real attorneys are people just like me. I was super nervous about attending this event. I've worked as a summer associate for two years at this firm and never really had a chance to attend a work social event. I was so worried I would have no one to talk to and nothing to say. But the second the cocktail party started, I was determined to start chatting with everyone. By some miracle, it wasn't even awkward. In fact, I discovered that I wan't nervous at all, I was having FUN.

3) When I start work I won't be the newbie. In fact, I think I already went through my new associate hazing. I already had to embarrassingly confess my childhood nickname to all the partners at an attorney meeting and I already had to take BS from that annoying associate. Remember the guy who introduced himself to me as "Jim" on my first day this summer when his name was, in fact, not "Jim." And I only discovered this after I made a fool of myself in front of a partner? Well, this time that attorney approached one of the other new associates and told them his name was "Jim." I was like- YES! I'm not the butt of the joke anymore!

4) Holy Shit. I'm going to be responsible for actual cases. People 's money and the revenues of big companies will depend on me? I had one of these moments during the attorney meeting when the partners talked about proper case management. I seriously started to freak out. It reminded me of the time I was pregnant and had to watch the birth video. "I HAVE TO DO THAT?!" "WHAT IF I FAIL- OR DIE?!" "WHAT IF I GIVE BIRTH TO A TURTLE?!"

The best part of the cocktail party was when an office assistant went around taking candid pictures of people socializing. There are at least five pictures of me in the background trying to take a bite out of other attorneys' cakes as they are in deep conversation with someone. I also tried really hard to hold a different kind of glass or bottle in each picture so it looked like I was pounding down the alcohol. Ahhh, I'm such a responsible and contributing member of society.


Butterflyfish said...

disappointing -- with a title 'adventures at a law firm cocktail party' i assumed there would be nudity.

Just kidding. I am glad that things are working well for you!

Eliza said...

Glad to hear that things went well. I am glad I wasn't the only person to still be a little shocked when I realized that I was one of only 2 people in litigation. It still feels weird.

Anonymous said...

way to go!
i hope to attend a real-life party one day to remind myself why i volunteered for this.

LEO said...

Ha, I totally have those #4 moments when thinking about being an actual lawyer...I never realized how closely connected they are with giving birth. Genius!