Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thank you all for the nice greetings and birthday wishes over the last few days. By the way, another reason for you all to put it in a comment in the blog? When I got those e-mail notification thingies about new comments I remember I have a blog, and then I remember to update it! This one's going to be a doozy!

This was our first Christmas spent away from Josh's family. It was just us and the cat...and my friend Mark and his brother came over for dinner. It was low key, it was casual and it was actually pretty darned nice. I had wondered if inevitable family drama was that certain je ne sais quoi of a proper Christmas but actually you can do jeeeest fine without. Plus you can get the presents portion done by noon, as opposed to 5 a.m. We had some (store bought) appetizers of spiced olives, hot phyllo hors d'ouevres, rosemary chips and Max Brenner chocolates (provided by Mark and Chris) and then for dinner we had herbed roast beef, scalloped potatoes gratin, yorkshire pudding and tomato and onion salad. For dessert I made chocolate orange pots de creme which even Josh said were good, and he's not a fan of the chocolate/fruit combos. If Mark sends me a picture of the food I'll be sure to add it in here.

I went back to work yesterday (yup, on my birthday!) because I actually did have work to do and a status conference to attend at court. I don't know if I'll ever quite get over the fact that court is nowhere near as glamorous as I grew up thinking it would be. Even once in law school, when you haughtily think you've left all your Law & Order illusions behind, you cling to some of those fantasies...then you actually go to court repeatedly and realize what a gong show the whole thing is. Yesterday we spent the first fifteen minutes at court being verbally bitchslapped by a very irate client (something that the movies and T.V. don't quite prepare you for). Then the judge arrived and we all stood, as is proper and at one with my expectations from movies and T.V., so we were back on track. Then the "hearing", consisting of setting a date for the next status conference, took place over the next three minutes. The most disconcerting thing was that once the date was set? The judge sat back in his chair and started shooting the shit with his clerk and stenographer. None of that "all rise" and making a dignified exit or anything. Then the attorneys sauntered off from their podium and started chatting too, all while the judge was still lounging about in his chair and for all I knew court was still in session since no one had said we were adjourned. ??? Weird. Where is my pomp? Where is my circumstance? Why did I sign up for this if not for the trappings??

I've mostly gotten over the angst of my job being nothing like Hollywood. It just sometimes rankles. It's especially annoying with the pro bono ("for the public good", i.e., free) work because the whole point is supposed to be that you're helping people who need it. It kind of crushes your illusions though when you realize that half the time your client thinks that you're God and that you're going to get the Supreme Court, the U.N. and Bono to champion his case because you're Just That Good, and the other half your client hates you and thinks that you must be crap because you're working for free. I'll always do the pro bono work because I just think it's the right thing to do, and the firm is very encouraging of it, but damn is it ever demoralizing sometimes, especially in the criminal context because you really have such a slim chance of actually winning. There's no fighting the good fight, crusading for your poor innocent downtrodden client against all odds and making a powerful legal argument that makes the judge weep with its eloquence. There's just fighting for fair process in the end. Whether that leads to fair results, I can't even say because I don't know what that looks like yet. I'm not sure if I'll ever know, really. That's why we have Hollywood, though, right?

Anyway - another year older, another year wiser. My cousin started this new birthday listing thing this year that tells us whenever there's a birthday in our (very large) family via e-mail, so I got a lot of birthday wishes this year. Always a nice thing. My mom and stepdad sent me flowers at work! That was exceptionally sweet. I've never gotten flowers at work before (yes, probably because I've never worked before...shaddup). It felt awfully grown up. They are really gorgeous too - red roses and white lilies and orchids! I felt terribly guilty though, because delivered flowers are sooo expensive. Even a small, simple arrangement of wildflowers cost an arm and a leg. Then last night we went for dinner with my officemate Nina and her husband Chris, which was totally exciting in and of itself because all through school no one was ever around to celebrate my birthday - not even just a casual dinner or anything because everyone just scattered over the holidays. Not only did they have dinner with us but they picked up the check, which was so incredibly nice. We are so lucky to know cool people here already. We're even invited to a New Year's house party, which was really unexpected and nice.

All the best to everyone in 2007! *Hugs* and as always thanks for reading!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's 8:07 a.m. on a Wednesday morning and I'm lounging on my couch, unshowered, just coming off my most recent period of madness at work. Normally I leave the house at around 8:45 to get to work for around 9:30 but I'm treating myself to a late start today. Fortunately we aren't forced to have any real set hours at work so no one really cares about when you get in. Definitely one perk of being a so-called professional ;).

Last week I got put on a new assignment, which brings me up to five cases - three paying clients and two pro bono criminal cases (one appellate, one that will likely end up as a plea bargain). They all sort of just vomited on me last week, with every single one becoming active. That doesn't happen too often but when it does, frankly, it's just not cool. I had a few 14 hour days in there, plus a 12 hour day on Saturday. It's probably still not over, but I'm not above taking advantage of a quiet moment or two in the middle of it all. It could definitely be worse - my girlfriend on a bigger case billed 100 hours over six days last week. She was working until 6 am every day, going home to shower and sleep for a few hours and coming back. Total madness. I'm already stealthily thinking of my exit options...not because it's overall such a horrible place to be, at least not in the short term, but I just don't understand how anyone could keep this up as a lifestyle choice. They must have more fortitude than me, or at least be able to turn down assignments with more good grace, because I haven't discovered that trick yet. I'm a people pleaser. I tried to book off two vacations days - that's right, days - and am cancelling both because there is just too much going on for me to be gone for a day at a time. No wonder so many of us turn to drink!