Monday, May 31, 2010

The Weekend Parent

I knew this day was coming. I dreaded it since the day my son was born. I've been anticipating it for quite some time. My wishful thinking made me believe that it was still many months away.....but no, my kid's language skills have suddenly sharpened- seemingly overnight too. And he is now able to repeat everything he hears! Someone save me!

Just how bad is it? Well, yesterday my son said "oh crap" when he tripped on a rock. Later that day he called me a "douche puddle" (the phrase my husband and I use instead of "douche bag"). BUT I'm still hanging onto my steadast yet unrealistic hope that those phrases were just a temporary blip and that they won't make it into Jacob's permanent vocabulary. We've been trying really REALLY hard to watch our language around him, but it's so difficult to break old habits!

Then one time when I was changing his diaper, Jacob pointed to his "wee wee" and said, "BONER!." Yeah, oops. How did he learn that one? I mean the kid is 21 months old! He also likes to point out everyone and everything's "butt-butt." Maybe he's gonna be an ass man? That one I'm kinda ok with. I mean it's a legitimate, anatomically correct bit of knowledge, right?

Then today Jacob was opening all our boxes of crackers and snacks and pouring them onto the floor. I looked at him and said, "No Jacob. Bad boy!" Probably not the choicest words at the moment but it's easy to judge in hindsight. He ran out of the room, laughing and saying, "No! Mama bad boy!" Touche Jacob, touche.

Aside from that drama, the weekend was great. We went down to Seaside, Oregon then to Cannon Beach to celebrate the three-day weekend, our elopment-versay and my birthday (I turned 21 for the fifth time, thank you very much). The weather was rainy and grey, but hey, I'm a Seattleite so that's nothing new to me. From having grown up in predictably drizzly weather, knowing how to have a fun day in the rain is part of my DNA. Although, I admit if the sun had come out, our "fun" trip could have been an "amazing" trip.
Anyways, since I had a baby, family vacations are less about location and more about family. We could have stayed at the local Super 8 just five miles from our house and still have had a blast. Just spending the entire weekend as a family, with minimal interruptions, is pretty much all I could ever ask for. It's so fun to take Jacob to new places or to old places that become "new" all over again. It's fun to watch him learn, to try new things and to learn new words (mostly). At a restaurant this weekend there was a poster of different types of fish. Jacob was fascinated by it. He took his little shovel and pretended to scoop up the "ishies." Then he ran over to where my husband and I were sitting and proudly fed his catch to us. He repeated this over and over for about fifteen minutes straight.
Since Jacob was born, our weekends are just so filled with love and laughter. It's almost unbearable how amazing it is to have a wonderful kid in your life. It also makes it so hard to think about going to work tomorrow. Long weekends like this make me reconsider my life as a working mom. I get so caught up in the fun that I forget about the days when I was dying to get out of the house to start work again. Today, after an amazing 64 hours with my son, I'm kind of longing to stay home with him all day, to watch him grow and to teach him new things.
The grass is always greener, perhaps. And perhaps once I step into my office tomorrow, I'll be glad to be back. When I start to miss him I'll just imagine him as he was this evening, sitting in his kid chair (which he placed on top of the couch) singing the "abc" song while doing "itsy bitsy spider" hand motions.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Price Of Advice

Being a baby lawyer is all kinds of fun. You can (well, sometimes) rely on the fact that you are new to this whole "law" thing and people will (sometimes) cut you a little slack. Like, hypothetically, if you were to draft a proposed order to accompany one of your motions but you create a signature line for the partner where the Judge's signature line is supposed to be. And the partner signs it without double checking your work. Then the Judge uses your proposed order, which the partner has already signed for her, and the partner ends up looking like (1) a really big, careless idiot or (2) a pompous ass. Then to rub salt in the wound, opposing counsel emails all counsel on the case to make fun of the partner. Wouldn't that (hypothetically) be horrifying? At least a partner just might overlook this mistake if it was made by a newbie lawyer (please?).

But the best part about being a baby lawyer is the misadventures of asking for advice. Asking coworkers for advice is probably the thing you will do most often in your career. (The only way to avoid this is if you did NOT fall asleep every day in civil procedure, you had a really good civil procedure professor AND you are a super genius who has memorized every civil procedure case you have ever read before conveniently cataloguing it and storing it away in the file cabinet in your brain). My point is, asking for advice is unavoidable.

The first thing you will realize when you are a new lawyer is that there are BAD people to ask for advice and GOOD people to ask for advice. The second thing you will realize is that all advice, though freely given, comes at a price. On any given day, all you can do is decide what kind of price you are in the mood to pay. My firm sometimes seems like a showcase of attorneys who are too smart for their own good. When this is coupled with the fact that most lawyers generally feel underappreciated and unrecognized, a newbie seeking advice will inevitably and obliviously run headlong into the Perfect Storm.

The following people, who I somehow ALWAyS end up asking for advice, are perfect examples.

Me: "Can I ask you a quick question?"
Associate I Can't Believe You Don't Know: (looking smug and pompous) "Okay."
Me: "Under set of facts x,y,z, should I worry about the defense of improper venue?"
Associate: "Wait, really? You don't know this? I'm a little worried. Didn't you take civil procedure?"
Me: "Yes. And I know there probably isn't an issue here but since this is my first case, I just wanted to double check and run it by someone else."
Associate: "That set of facts has NOTHING to do with venue. Seriously?"
Me: "Ok thanks. I just wanted to make sure. Thanks again."
Associate: "Improper venue involves ..... goes on to provide a full civ pro lecture but strategicallly pauses his "lecture" to let me fill in the blanks aloud like I'm a five year old"

Then there's the really smart person who for sure knows the answer but never fails to go all Socratic Method on you.
Me: "Do you have a quick second?"
Associate Socrates: "Sure."
Me: "I'm working on a subpoena to a non-party in this case and I just wanted to make sure I'm doing everything I need to do. So to give notice do I need....
Associate Socrates: "What does the rule say?"
Me: "Well, from what I remember, the rule says....
Associate Socrates: "Here is my rule book. Go ahead. Recite the rule outloud."
Me: "Ok, it says to serve notice on a party according to rule 5(c). Isn't that just sending a copy to the party's attorney?"
Associate Socrates: "What does rule 5(c) say?"
Me: "I'll look it up.... but, also, how much time do you like to give the non-party to comply with the subpoena?"
Associate Socrates: "What does the rule require?"
Me: "Yeah, I'll go look it up. Thanks." (NOT!)

Then there is the overhelpful Associate.
Me: "Wow, I'm working on this tricky case involving insurance coverage in a UIM case. Have you dealt with this issue recently?"
Overhelpful: "Oh actually, 20 years ago, when I was in lawschool, I wrote a law review article on that issue. Here, I'll send you my article. Oh and also, there's this blog that gives some good advice too, I'll send you the link.
Me: "Gee, that's great. Thank you."
Overhelpful: "One time, I had a UIM case that involved a phantom vehicle. Be careful if you have a phantom vehicle, the plaintiff has to provide all kinds of special documents."
Me: "Ok. thanks. I'll remember that if I ever encounter that."
Overhelpful: "The statute requires the plaintif to ...(goes on and on). But before you even get that far, the plaintiff has some initial burdens of proof. So you want to watch out for that. Oh I jsut remembered another article I can send you. It's written by this really amazing professor.
Me: "Well, actualy I think I have all I need now..."
Overhelpful: "In my case, we had to find a special expert to... (goes on and on). Oh and make sure you look at this statute too. You'll also want to....."

Ten minutes later, I'm back in my office when I suddenly get a call from....Mr. Overhelpful. Guess what? He has even more irrelevant advice!

While dealing with overhelpful and underhelpful advice givers may be a pain in the butt, it's usually unavoidable when you're a first year associate (and perhaps for the rest of your legal career). So be cautious before you decide who you are going to approach. It depends.... Do you want to feel like a five year old, do you want to feel like you're back in lawschool being walked through the nuances of the law by a tiresome professor or do you want your ears to melt off the sdie of your face from an overabundance of irrelevant information?

Whatever you do, CHOOSE WISELY.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Welcome To Family Time On Steroids

I live and breath for the weekends to come. I know everyone else in their right mind does the same so this doesn't make me unique in any way. But STILL. I'll say it again. I LIVE for the weekends. Weekends at my house are so completely wonderful and a major contrast to the stressful work week.

During the week, I only get to be with my family in passing. And when I'm with them, I'm usually pre-occupied with other stuff. You know, IMPORTANT THINGS- like whether I can get away with wearing my favorite shirt to the office twice in one week. Or whether we have enough diapers to get through the week without resorting to turning them inside out (don't worry, I'm not that gross- I only turn the wet ones inside out). By the time the weekend comes, I totally miss my guys and I'm starving for family time. Considering how little we hang out during the week, by the timd Friday afternoon hits, we have a lot of catching up to do. So that's why I love weekends. Weekends are 48+ straight hours of family time on steroids. It's unadulteratedly awesome.

Today we couldn't decide whether to take Jacob to the children's museum or to the aquarium. At the last minute, we settled on the museum- I thought he would like something more hands on. But 2 minutes after we walking through the doors, we knew we made the wrong choice. Within our first 2 minutes there, Jacob was already flipping HIS LID in excitement over a lame-ass 4 foot long fish tank. Seriously Jacob? A handfull of goldfish swimming around in muddy water is really that amazing to you? But it must have been because there he was screeching, "Mama! Fishy! Two Fishy! Fishy, MaMa, FISHY!"

He was totally freaked out by some of the exhibits at first. Like the big whale mouths you could climb into... I wasn't afraid though, I had to show Jacob how it was done (please ignore my freakishly flat ass, thank you- oh and the dark blob at the bottom, that's the shadow of the monster that hunts and feeds off the souls of the flat of ass).

He also didn't like the replicated forest exhibit complete with bat-sounds and, gulp, bugs. EW. You can see how excited he was about this exhibit:

But eventually, we did find some things that were right up his alley.

I think this kid has some serious potential to be a bus driver.

But not a fireman. He refused to wear the flame resistant gear. Not a police biker, he can't reach the peddles. Not a produce manager, he kept trying to eat all the produce. Oh and he wasn't in love with the hard hat either.

So, bus driver it is then?

The museum was a little more lame than I had remembered. But, thankfully, Jacob had no prior memories to compare it to. And, in the end, he got what he truly wanted.

Also, we couldn't resist leaving the Seattle Center without letting Jacob go on a few rides. Last summer we took him to the state fair and the ride people wouldn't let him go on the carousel. I had a melt down and literally started bawling all over the place in the middle of the sidewalk, "My baby just wants to ride the carousel! They won't let him ride the carousel! WAAAH!!"

Yeah, it was one of those mommy-weakness moments when you feel your kid's pain. Except my kid was only 11 months old and he was completely oblivious to the fact that he couldn't ride the carousel. But don't even try to explain logic to a mother who is standing up for her baby. So, this time around, watching Jacob finally enjoy some carnival rides was like a major accomplishment for me. At first, I was worried he would be afraid. But he LOVED the rides!

We totally wore him out. And, of course, he wore us out too.

You have no idea how hard it is to return to work after a family time on steroids weekend. I may start to convulse, foam at the mouth and sweat wildly as I experience Jacob withdrawl over my morning post-commute coffee.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Boy Meets Wagon: Love At First Sight

On a whim today when Jacob and I were both at Walmart in our jammies getting breakfast ingredients (my goal in life is to be on, I bought a Radio Flyer Deluxe Family Wagon. It is like the MOTHER of all wagons. This thing is intense, it even has seatbelts (wagons shouldn't have seatbelts!)! It has a detachable canopy, two raised seats, cup holders, storage space and one of the seats converts into a table.

So this morning when we woke up, Jacob had no idea what a wagon was. Now wagons are the center of his world. The entire car ride home, Jacob kept chanting the word "wagon!" in five second intervals. And, just to be clear here, that's "wagon!" with an exclamation mark because if a kid spotted Santa Clause being pulled by a pack of flying raindeer over WalMart with a full bodied snow man seated beside him in the middle of July, that kid could not possibly sound as excited as Jacob did this morning.

I can't tell you how afraid I was to return home from my "egg buying" errand this morning with a $100 super deluxe wagon. I was sure my husband would freak. But, to my pleasant surprise he got it out of the car right away and had it put together before my eggs for my pancake roll up were even scrambled! Jacob went nutz-o!

He spent three consecutive hours just climing in and out of the wagon and alternating between it's two seats. It didn't get old ONCE, when each time Jacob stumbled or tripped out of the wagon, my husband and I exchanged giggles and said, "he fell off the wagon again!"

Jacob still has to learn the concept of "pulling." He likes to "push" the wagon like a shopping cart and this doesn't always turn out well. He likes to tell us whenever he wants to "push the wagon." The problem, however, is that his pronunciation is a little less than stellar and I SWEAR it sounds (clear as day!) like he is saying "pussy wagon." My husband wants to inscribe those words across the back of Jacob's wagon- but, well, I'll let you guess how well my super conservative Catholic mom would love to take Jacob for wagon rides around the parish parking lot if that were the case....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sidewalk Rage

As part of my commute, I walk almost 4 miles a day. When you walk that much, you want the activity to be as efficient as possible. For me, walking is purposeful. I'm definitely not out to take a leisurely stroll, I am purely trying to get from point A to point B.

Because I commute solely by foot and by boat, I never have to drive. You may think that this is totally awesome. In some ways it is. I never have to deal with stop and go traffic, congestion or, more importantly, horrible drivers. BUT, don't be jealous just yet because I have to deal with something much worse...slow walkers! And I'm talking molasses slow here, people.

Slow walkers are my biggest pet peeve of all time. Ok, I'll admit I am an unusually fast walker. I have long legs and I like to get where I am going as quickly as possible. I think I walk twice as fast as the average person. But this makes the Slow Walker even more annoying for me. I seriously think some people are incapable of walkng and talking on the phone at the same time. Everyday I have to shuffle behind people with phones up to their ears moving at approximately the pace of a cervix during the child-labor process.

And somehow, wherever there is ONE Slow Walker, there are three to five other Slow Walkers walking shoulder to shoulder. Seriously. It's inevitable. It makes passing them completely impossible without playing leap frog- which, as tempting as it may be, is not a very appropriate game to play with adult strangers.

You may not believe this, but walking slow behind a group of unpassable slow people is PHYSICALLY PAINFUL to me. Each time I have to do it, a little piece of my soul dies and I want to throw myself through the nearest window or in front of the nearest moving vehicle (which hopefully isn't a bike cop). Why the hell can't there be a passing lane for walkers?

My other pet peeves are people who talk too loudly or play a musical instrument on the ferry. Shut the hell up. No one wants to hear you! Ooops, I should have warned you all that I'm in a bad mood....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Killing Me Softly

I know, I know. He's my kid so of course I think he's cute. I couldn't be objective no matter how hard I tried. But still... this little boy completely rocks my world. Everyday he totally ambushes me with more unexpected cuteness.

Like last night when he pretended his books were "nacks" (snacks) and kept pretending to gobble them up. Then he proceeded to give our cats, the couch, the TV and me all a "bite." When it came to feeding the inanimate objects, he even made the gobble noises for them.

Or when he sings the Happy Birthday song for no reason other than it's one of two songs he actually knows. But when he sings it, he belts out on repeat, "Happy, To YOU!" because he can't say "birthday" yet. (the other song he knows is the theme song for the show Two and a Half Men- he sings, "manly man man, oooooohh").

Or when for the first time last night, he grabbed his cheek and said, "piiiiiinch" after I've done the exact same thing to him a million times. That same night he also, completely out of the blue, said "knock, knock" while "knocking" on my head.

And when we saw tractors on the side of the road and I said, "Look Jacob. Tractor!" And he corrected me, "No mama. Two tractor." OR when he correctly identifies and names the following: articulated truck, dump truck, garbage truck, excavator, grader, planer, skid steer, double drum compacter bulldozer, tractor, van, and jeep. I mean, the kid's only 20 months for heavens sake! That just goes to show the power of a little boy's obsession I guess.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The "Job Market Sucks And I Don't Know What I'm Doing" Syndrome

I'm paranoid. Each time my phone rings, each time I see a new email in my inbox, each time a partner pops his head into my office, I think I'm being fired.

I attribute my constant fear for my job to the deadly combo of knowing there are very few jobs out there, living through the current recession and feeling constantly inadequate. I love my job. I LOVE it. But sometimes I feel like I don't deserve it. I feel like I'm such a drag on the firm because I require constant hand holding. I make a lot of mistakes and I can barely, if ever, meet my billable hours. I feel like there is a job axe murderer out to get me. And anyminute, my career is going to be hacked to pieces. A part of me thinks that I only feel this way because all the partners seem constantly busy and stressed out lately. They all seemed stretched to capacity. As a result, there is little room for my error and even less room to stop and ask them for guidance.

The looming feeling that disaster is around each corner is grating on my nerves. It's this constant sickness that silently eats away at my confidence and my gut. I feel unworthy. And I can't help but think that any minute my bosses will also realize this fact. Then I worry about what will happen if I do lose my job. I could never get another job in this market, not without more experience. I'd have to go into laon forebearance again. I'd have to sell all my clothes to feed my kid (oh tragedy! Not the Frye boots!)- ok, it's not THAT drastic, my husband has a very stable job- but I'm a worry wort. It's what I do.

I've come to accept that all I can do is my best. I have to hold my head up and just focus on the tasks right in front of me. I have to hope that the partners will not focus on my inadequacies and my mistakes but, rather, see me for my dedication, hard work, and passion for litigation. I have to convince myself that this paranoia is all in my head. One good thing about this paranoia is that it sure as heck makes me appreciate my job.

Most importantly, I have to realize that I, just as much as anyonelse, deserve my chance to grow into my new role. At one point in time, all superstar lawyers were in the very position that I am currently in. After all my hard work in lawschool, as a summer associate, and studying for the bar, at the very least, I deserve a chance to prove myself, right?

Today especially, I needed a little extra boost. So, when picking out my outfit for work today (which, thankfully happened to be casual day), I donned on my "power piece." A power piece is that one piece of clothing that makes you feel completely unstoppable and confident. It lets you be you, without apology or reservation. Ok, some of you may just cringe at this next part power piece is..... my cowgirl boots! Yup, cowgirl boots at the office! I wore them with my Paige jeans, matching leather belt with fancy beltbuckle and a fitted button up shirt from Banana Republic. In spite of the curious sidelong glances from people in the elevator, I felt totally awesome all day long. I felt like I could kick major butt! It jsut about canceled out all my career fears and paranoias.

You know what? There is nothing better in the world than to feel comfortable in your skin, without any reserve, knowing your outward self reflects your inner self. (I may have just met my weekly philosophical quota).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Swearing In Court

Wednesday was my swear-in ceremony. I originally had my heart set on being sworn in at the fancy downtown seattle courthouse with its marble floors and walls and all its prestige. But considering that my family wanted to attend and that, like me, they live across the water from Seattle, I opted to be sworn in at the small, local courthouse.

Turns out, I'm so glad I did!

I live in such a close-knit, friendly community. My husband and I used to work for a local government agency so we know many of the elected officials and other connected people. It's a great feeling to know the people around you and to feel connected to your community. While I hear the community of legal professionals seems small almost anywhere you go, it is especially so in our county. When I decided to be sworn-in at the local courthouse, I asked my old employer, the first partner I ever worked for, if he knew anyone who would be willing to perform (is that the right verb?) my oath. He suggested a judge right away and arranged the whole thing. It turns out that the judge knew my mom from highschool. The judge was also friends with my dad's boss, the Mayor of our city. So the Mayor asked to attend my ceremony. Can you believe it? The Mayor of my city attended my swear-in ceremony! I felt so important!
Also in attendance were my parents, my brother, my parents-in law, my sister-in law and her family, my husband, son, my old boss and his paralegal and legal secretary. It was quite the turn out, especially for an individual ceremony. I was pretty nervous to appear in front of the judge and take my oath, especially since I was the only one taking it. When the Judge started to read the oath and asked me repeat after her, I thought it would be tacky to just read off the paper in front of me. So, instead, I tried to keep my eyes on the Judge and rely on my auditory skills and memory to recite after her. This worked out fine until about halfway through when the Judge started to recite a phrase that seemed to continue on forever. "Oh shit," I thought to myself as she was mid-sentence. When she finished, I'm sure she saw the fear in my eyes as I had to scour the paper in front of me to try to find that last sentence.

After an awkward minute of silence, I finally found it and tried to repeat it back with all the confidence I could muster. But my nerves were already shot. As I tried to pronounce the word "judiciary" my whole mouth seemed to go numb and my lips fumbled over each other. I just couldn't pronounce the word. Instead I recited, "Dujici...jiducia...judiciary!" My guests got a good chuckle out of that one.

Awesome. My first appearance before the court as an attorney and I almost turned it into a circus. But the Judge was kind enough to pretend that it didn't happen. And I have to say that I felt the power behind the words when I swore to uphold the Constitution of the State of Washington and of the United States.

After the oath, the Judge let my parents give speeches (on the record! I have proof that people said nice things about me). She let me give a mini-speech, which I was totally unprepared for. I ended up thanking everyone in the room except for my husband (sorry husband!). She noticed and let my husband have the final words, but he was too choked up and teary eyed that he couldn't say too much. It was really sweet and, it turns out, his hug said everything.

The Judge then came down to where I was standing to shake my hand. She had all kinds of pleasant and friendly things to say to me. She was the nicest person ever! She told me the legal profession was one of the best and most challenging professions out there. She encouraged me and congratulated me on my future career. Then my old boss made a joke about how he hopes to someday convince me to practice law on the "right" side of the water (my own town rather than Seattle).

It was such a great morning! I usually hate being the center of attention but I felt that this was the pinnacle of all my hard work and sacrifice. For the first time, I actually saw and felt the result of all my efforts over the past 3.5 years. But one of THE BEST PARTS of the entire morning was when the Judge let me take pictures of Jacob sitting in her chair. Here he is banging her gavel (this picture is so going to be framed and put in my office!):

(Please don't judge me that my son still uses a binky! We're trying to wean him off but it's too easy to stick it in his mouth when he starts to scream.)

Monday, May 10, 2010

From Work to Illicit Love Affair In 3 Seconds Flat

At work, Legal Secretary and I often talk about how cute we think one of the associates is. Then we pretend to argue over whose secret work-boyfriend he would be. Today I was helping that associate respond to discovery requests for one of his cases. I walked into his office, handed him my draft responses and asked him a question about whether we are required to produce a certain document or not.

He took the draft from my hand and said, "Oh, good question." With a smile he nodded, "I'll come for you later," and continued typing a, most likely, super urgent email (because he's important like that).

Of course when he said, "I'll come for you later," he meant that he'd come and find me later to answer my question. And the way he said it was totally innocuous. But the way my ears heard it, of course, it sounded like he wanted me, with every depth of his being. My imagination ran his voice through a deep, sultry sound filter. And, for a second, we were teleported right into the middle of an action-packed spy movie. In my mind, he had no time for romance at the present moment because he was tracking down a dangerous assassin. But at the same time, he had to make a concerted effort to contain his strong longing for me.

"I'll come for you later..." his gravelly voice projected, a streak of blood running down the side of his face from a gash in his forehead. He quickly wiped it from his eyes with the sleeve of his three-piece, bow tie suit. The sweat in his dark hair glistening and his chiseled features softened, but just for a moment, as he caught my gaze. And then off he ran, gun in hand, into a smokey building. His dusty trail leaving behind a strange mix of foreboding and heart racing anticipation for guessed it...."later."

Then I snapped out of it and his office door slammed shut, just a rice-cracker width from my nose. I took a moment to collect my sanity. Then I walked down the hall to my office, face a-flushing.

Then I told the Legal Secretary. And she was totally jealous.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day: "Passion Rekindled"

Last year was my first mother's day and I was right smack in the middle of law school finals. I remember my first mother's day very well: sitting on the floor of my bedroom in four day old sweats typing up a last minute 20 page paper on financial institutions. For my adult life (or at least since I'd gotten pregnant), I'd kinda dreamed about how awesome my first mother's day would be. I imagined all kinds of different things: nights out, cheesy cards, a huge bouquet of spring flowers, maybe chocolates or some handmade art (ok maybe farfetched with a 9 month old kid). But it most certainly did not involve exams.

My husband had kept promising me that we'd go see a movie I wanted to see as soon as finals were over. But eventually, mother's day got pushed to the background and forgotten about. I was disappointed and let down. And, apparently, in the past 12 months, I had complained about it enough times because for Mother's Day this year, my husband went ALL out. It was like a double Mother's Day. It was all a surprise and it was all awesome.

First, my husband arranged to have my son stay with his grandparents for all day Saturday and overnight. And I was more than a little skeptical when he told me to pack my gym clothes. But he took me to the gym and we both got in a good workout- which was a great idea because I felt less guilty splurging on dinner and drinks later (he's so smart!). Then we went to see Iron Man 2. Sadly, it was not nearly as good as the first one (which I LOVED) and didn't live up to the hype. But I still had fun spending a lazy afternoon at the theater with my husband. Then we walked along a waterfront park and had yummy bakery cookies.

Then, he drove me to a fancy resort where he booked us an AMAZING room and treated me to a nice (and pricey) dinner. After dinner I got to relax in the hottub (I LOVE hottubs)!! There is nothing in the world better than slipping between fresh, crisp hotel sheets after a refreshing soak in a hottub. And, not to brag or anything, the hotel room had 16 foot ceilings!!! (my husband claims they were 20 feet- we've got a good bet going).

Maybe I'm super easy to please but nothing gets me more excited in the entire world than sleeping in a hotel (ok, maybe a giant pool filled with hershey kisses and cowboys). I don't know what it is, but I love everything about hotels. The adventure and excitement of being in a new place. The nice clean rooms. The big tv that you can watch and change channels WHILE IN BED. The smell of newly cleaned hotel bathrooms. And slipping between two crisp bed sheets. Then there is the possibility of room service (we never get it, but KNOWING it's possible is totally awesome) and going out to eat. Hotels are simple amazing!

The place was so fancy- in a swanky, rustic lodge kinda way. I felt a little guilty for being the center of so much attention and money spending. But my husband claims he got a good deal on a "Passion Rekindled" resort package. So, our passion has officially been re-kindled.... four times to be exact...

And then I got to come home to this guy...

And this beautiful, sunny day...

Ok, third time's a charm:

P.S. Ever seen someone wear a swim suit with cowgirl boots?

The only other shoes I had brought were heels so I was stuck wandering the resort wearing a fashion nightmare- you should have seen the wedding guests in the reception room when I tried to steal a piece of cake wearing this, it was priceless!.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Case Management Is Not My Friend

I kind of miss my days of summer associateship. Those were the golden days. More than decent pay, my own office, interesting and diverse projects and, best of all, no responsibility. Partners and associates would hand me random little projects on very specific issues in different cases. I'd complete my projects between the hours of 9 to 5 and then go home for the day, worry free, oblivious and happy.

Being an associate is a WHOLE 'nother story! I have cases. Real, actual cases. And clients. Living, breathing clients. Clients with real issue whose interests and bank accounts are at stake. The clients have all kinds of questions too. Unique and complex questions. And, most likely, I have no answers- only recommendations- and the recommendations I give cause me to think in beffudled, circular riddles and second guess my interpretation of the law.

The more experience I gain in the field of law, the more I realize that it's not about ANSWERS. Because there never ARE answers. It's about coming up with recommendations that have the most likely chance of success and crafting arguments that are most likely to pursuade a judge or jury. The law is a big open battle-field and laywers are left to run amok, punching and kicking each other over ambiguous caselaw.

But that's not even the hard part. The hardest part about practicing law is case management. When I was a summer associate, I just had to do the projects as I was instructed and I left all the big thinking to others. Now, I have to manage my cases: make sure all deadlines are met, all motions are responded to, all due diligence has been conducted, all court rules are followed, and craft and carry out strategic plans of attack. It's crazy and confusing and I have no choice but to learn through trial and error as I go. Saying it's stressful doesn't quite describe it.

I have a hard time remembering where I am in each case as I go back and forth handling the issues that pop up in each of my cases. I get all my file numbers, the facts, client information and litigation history mixed up. I'll be knee deep in a motion or report on one case when a partner will shoot me an email asking me the status of X of my other case or asking if I've done Y yet in yet another case. I have several "Oh shit" moments each day. And.... I only have FIVE cases! Seriously. The average number of cases per associate in my firm is like 15 (some even have 21).

I feel a little bit doomed. BUT I feel like I'm learning at an exponential rate each day. I mean when you know little about litigation and then get thrown into a number of cases, all you can do is learn as you go. And I'm learning. Boy, am I learning! If only I would learn in three years of law school what I learn in ONE DAY of practicing law.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Welcome! Now Pay Up Suckers.

Congratulations on passing the bar! To be admitted, please complete the new admittee licensing form along with your payment in full of the following:

Licensing Fee
Lawyer's Fund For Client Protection
Local Bar Membership Fee
Supreme Court Wall Certificate Fee

Wow. Seriously? Why didn't someone warn me that the legal profession was a really bad night club with strict entry requirements and a hefty cover charge? I've already shelled out over $600 to take the bar exam and another $115 to register my computer for use during the exam. Not to mention the $3,000 I paid for Barbri and my $120,000 legal education.

People in my profession sure are good at squeezing money out of other people.

No wonder there is such an income disparity in our country. It really is true that you have to have money to make money. Good thing I didn't buy my truck because it is seriously going to take my downpayment to just be admitted into the practice of law.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Little Thin Envelope Containing The Fate Of My Career

After suffering through the long walk to the mailbox with an over-active pulse, a chest-pounding heart and a flood of tingles spreading throughout my limbs, I reached in and pulled out the thinest envelope ever. Seriously? My heart fell. I must have failed if the envelope is this thin! I just stared at the typed letters of my name across the front and assured myself that it would be ok either way. My hands were shaking so badly that after I broke the seal and pulled out the letter all I could make out was the word "Conratulations" in the first sentence.

OMG. I PASSED the bar exam. I immediately called my family, sent a throng of texts and then got on Facebook to make the news opublic.

I can't tell you what a relief and what a load off my mind this is! Unlike most lawyers I've talked to in the past two months, I did not know that I passed after I completed the exam. I've had many doubts and fears about my results, all the while, remaining cautiously optimistic. But now the horrid wait is over. I officially passed! I can come to work on Monday with my head held high.

I feel so damn good. And that's an understatement. But I also feel for the people getting not to happy results today, I can't imagine what is going through their minds today. But one thing is for sure, IM NEVER TAKING ANOTHER BAR EXAM EVER EVER AGAIN! Even if my dream job opens up in another, non-reciprical state.

I still feels like a dream. A nice, warm, fuzzy, happy dream!

Ok, now time for BEER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ooops, I mean beerS!

Bar Exam: Results

(sorry for the teaser)

Will be here any minute of any day (our mail lady is not very consistent).

I have set up camp in front of my mailbox (hot chocolate- check. laptop- check. snacks-check. bottle of rum for the results- check. sleeping bag- check). I've accepted the fact that I will not be productive or mentally present until that envelope comes. This could either be the worst weekend of my life or the best weekend of my life.

That envelope better come today or I'm gonna go Godzilla on someone.