The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sentimental First Year

Today marks one year to the day that I began as an associate at my law firm. Time sure does fly. Most of you who know me (or know where I work) are aware, there is some looming uncertainty about the future. I refuse to allow today to be about that. Today is about the fact that I work with an amazing group of people doing things I truly love doing.

My first year has broken all the stereotypes that people warned me of: the first year is always miserable, I will be doing nothing but reviewing documents, Partners treat first years like dirt, etc. Not a single one of those stands true at my firm. (Aside from one or two partner-blips.) I am well aware that not many first years can say that they are truly happy at their firm. I can. Whatever lies ahead, I consider my first year as a lawyer to have been a great one and I am thankful that I have been lucky enough to have the experiences I have had.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008


I am feeling the brain-fried levels of stress I felt during my first ever law school exams. (Like when I made a grilled cheese sandwich but forgot to remove the plastic wrapper.) Yeah.

Yesterday, partner handed me edits on one of the summary judgment motions. I get to a page where there is a long indented quote from another judge in another case. Judge cites multiple cases and legal conclusions that we rely on very heavily. Partner simply writes "justify". In my head (and in the confines of my office), I got pissed. Really? Why the hell do we have to justify this? The damn judge said it word for word. Do I really need to pick it apart and analyze it? I do not have time for this shit today!

Or maybe he meant force justify the font.


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Why I have not written...

I looked at my "To Do" list and realized I was having some trouble prioritizing. It seemed like everyone wanted his/her stuff done immediately. I spent all week watching the pile of assignments grow all the while trying to warn these partners that I was already swamped and beginning to drown. That was falling on deaf ears. My time sheet Wednesday reflected ten matters that I worked on and Thursday's had eight. It is admittedly difficult to make forward progress on any task when you can only give it small snippets of time. It's called spread too thin.

In an effort to prioritize my weekend time, I sent emails to three partners with big deadlines. Granted, I have mutliple other "hot" cases that I am sure will make next week even more hellish - but I will fight that battle when it gets here. Yesterday, I was merely worried about my Saturday and Sunday.

To one partner, I asked what sort of time commitment we are looking at this coming week for our Daubert motion/summary judgment motion (due the 15) . He said we should discuss because he fears it will be "too tight for comfort."

To another partner I asked when he would like to file the summary judgment motion and complaint that we just decided today we would file and that I will be drafting entirely on my own. His response was simply "Monday."

I then headed to third partner's office. While I love working on this case and with these two partners, I also know they are super-time consuming (the case and the partners). I wanted to walk into her office already armed with my schedule in my other pressing cases. When I explained my conversations with other two partners I might have seen tears in her eyes. "Law-Rah, I need you the entire weekend and every day next week. You don't seem to understand, you are THE ASSOCIATE on this case." (This is partner speak for "it is your responsibility to bear the brunt of the work.") I sat there quietly trying to figure out how to tell her that I am "the associate" on all three of the cases without making her feel hers was less important.

Thankfully, one of the other two partners walked in to talk to her about my time. It was a fascinating conversation to watch. "Well, does yours have an external deadline?" "Well, mine is a first amendment case." "Well if we file Monday we are likely to get the whole case thrown out and client will be ecstatic." "Well, I can't get anyone else to help because client is already angry about the bills." "This is very important for her professional development." I just sat there. Fascinating. In the end, it worked out fine but of course I lost a good half hour going through the process.

So here I am, about to head to work for 9am on a Saturday. I should be miserable about this. But I can't help but think that things could be much worse. I could have no partners fighting over my time. I could have no one giving me work. I could be nervous about my job security. I'm not.

That, my friends, is why I have no time to blog. Miss y'all!