Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why, Bill???!!

My boss does free consults if people call in. He recently got one I just had to share.

"How can I help you?"

"Uh, yeah, so I got one for ya."

"Okay... tell me about your situation."

"I took care of this guy's dog for FOUR MONTHS. Do you know how much that woulda cost him if he had to kennel it?"

"Are you in some kind of criminal trouble? This is a criminal defense firm."

"Well what I want to know is, see, I took care of this guy's dog for FOUR MONTHS."

"I see..."


"Uh huh..."

"So I wanna know if I go git a sign and write 'Why, Bill?' and just go stand out in front a his house, if that's breakin the law. Can I git arrested?"

At this point in the office a crowd has gathered. The other partner and myself are stifling giggles as much as possible.

My boss informs the guy that he has a right to free speech, but if he's trespassing or if the guy calls the police and they ask him to leave he may end up with a disorderly conduct charge. They love using that as a catch-all in our state. He says that some things just aren't worth the risk and maybe he should just write a letter telling the guy how he feels.

We are still trying not to crack up. The guy reiterates his desire to WHY BILL the guy in front of his house. My boss again tells him that he has a right to free speech without the cops interfering, but that while free speech is important there is still risk involved. Even if he goes to court and wins it will cost him money and time etc.

The guy relents and hangs up.

The other partner tells my boss, "You are MURDERING our right to free speech! MURDERER!"

We all laugh and now pretty much any time anyone asks me to do something I do a very dramatic, "WHY BILL?!?! WHYYYYYYY!?!?"

Preschool? ALREADY??!!!

Yesterday I had the bright idea of checking in with the daycare/preschool in Brian's building on campus. We had put Abigail on the waiting list there over a year ago, and hadn't heard anything. Not surprising, there are very few facilities and 30k students, plus who knows how many university employees.

However, in the past year Brian has switched departments from the medicinal chemistry department to biology, which just happens to be the department that runs the daycare. I looked on their site and realized that contrary to what I previously thought, university employees do NOT get priority wait list placement. BIOLOGY employees do. Since we now fit in that bracket I sent an email over to check our position on the list and inform them that he works there now.

Suddenly, we have a spot if we want it! Which I think we do, but I am suddenly terrified. I could use some advice from ya'll on this one. They have a strict sickness policy, which, due to have the-best-babysitter-of-all-time I've never had to deal with before. Abigail loves her SO much and I hate to pull her out of that, but she is also very advanced for her age and I think a pre-k environment will really help her bloom.

We're trying for another baby so it's possible we could get our sitter back working for us full time down the road, but she'll have to find another job in the meantime.

The daycare looks great. It's a co-op, so I go in and help out a few hours a month and that secures RIDICULOUSLY low tuition. 8am to 6pm for only 700 bucks a month. It's awesome. We pay around 900 right now. It also includes lunch and a snack. The program looks great, they're big on being diverse/tolerant/Green. All things I am a fan of.

The biology building is a two minute walk from the law school, and my hubby will be right upstairs. It seems like a no-brainer but I am scared of the change. Help!

I was thinking maybe we could give our sitter a bit of money per month to just handle emergencies, but that's only assuming her new job is just finding another kid to watch. If she goes out and gets a different job altogether, I just don't know what we'd do. She is THAT good. I really want her to watch the new baby but I'm not even pregnant yet.

THIS is what parenting does to you. Makes you worry about every little thing. I really wish I could call my mom and ask her opinion, but she's on chemo and today is a sick day. Damn it.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Be The Change You Want to See

Okay, I am losing it. Well, I was.

I started writing much bigger checks to my babysitter when the internship started. I don't know how it happened. My boss would pick me up at 8, we'd be in court all day, and then working (and having a ton of fun) in the office until 6. Or 7. Suddenly I realized that we were eating out all the time, which was really hard on us because the university screwed up our first two paychecks. I was super happy but Abby was missing me so much that she stopped sleeping through the night. I felt tired and grumpy and frustrated (and hungry). People kept saying things like "get used to it." As if all lawyers work 10 hour days. Guess what? MY BOSS DOESN'T WORK 10 HOUR DAYS! And he isn't even asking me to do it, I just sort of started working that many hours on my own.

Because I LIKE the job. I love it. I could live in that office if I had no other responsibilities. The problem? I am not getting paid to do this. My boss appreciates me and compliments me all the time, but he only pays me for 10 hours a week for the business-building work I do. Like creating a Wordpress blog for him and coding it to match his existing website. Or doing bookkeeping or collections work. I'm not getting paid to work a 50 hour week so I really shouldn't be doing it.

I resolved that I will not work more than 8 hours and if it's slow I will duck out early. Because you can ALWAYS find things to do, but I'm there to help, not to change his life. Yes, I would like to grow the practice to secure a paid position eventually, and yes, I do love it. But I need to keep my family a priority and remember that these years with Abby are already going by so fast.

Plus if that kitchen floor doesn't get mopped soon I think I will need to hire a criminal defense attorney because I. WILL. KILL. SOMEONE.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Should I Go to Law School? Part Two

Last semester I posted about deciding whether to go to law school or not. You can find it here. Now that I have some internship experience to draw from, I thought it might be good to do an updated version of the topic. I know many of you are recently accepted and trying to decide whether to make a seat deposit or not. I remember this time last year sitting in your place, and feeling completely panicked and hopeless. I called every person I knew and asked for their advice. Most of them said the same thing; "I can't tell you what to do." My mom really wanted me to go, because that's what I had always said I wanted to do. Friends said it seemed important to me. I looked back and tried to remember. HAD I really been that certain that law school is the place for me? I began seriously compromising my dreams to justify my fear of law school. The expense of it, all a gamble given the current legal job market, began to weigh heavily. I'm getting law school much, much cheaper than most people do and it's still a lot of money to owe at the end. I worried that I would be endangering my family's well-being by taking this risk.

A friend told me that he would kick my ass if I didn't go to law school. The language startled me, because he seemed so much more passionate about it than I felt after months of listless pondering. His passion was fueled by memories of me, waxing on about the law and what I hoped to accomplish by working in the field. I decided to go for it.

From the moment I sat in the (very uncomfortable) wooden chair in the moot courtroom of the law school during my first day of orientation, I knew I had made the right decision. Now, with my 1L year behind me, I can still say that I love law school.

Was it difficult during the first year? Absolutely. Sometimes tedious. Sometimes frustrating. Often overwhelming. I thought I would love Criminal Law when it came time to take it, and ended up really hating it. It's the field I want to work in so I was very disheartened to find that I enjoyed Property and Constitutional Law immensely, and hated the very thing in which I planned to work. I decided to take an unpaid internship for an attorney in criminal defense. I would let the practical experience determine if I was in the right place. I knew right away that it totally is.

Many attorneys complain about tedium such as doing legal research in a big firm. There is a lot of paperwork and it's long, long hours. I knew right off that big law was not the life I wanted. I found something I was passionate about and tried to direct my studies that way. I love criminal law. I love defense work. Meeting people and hearing their stories, going to court, and doing the best I can to improve the system is exhausting but very fulfilling.

To decide if you want to go to law school you need to have an idea of what kind of work you enjoy doing. If you've never had a job and are going directly from undergrad, I highly recommend working the summer before you start law school. It does not need to be legal work, but do SOMETHING. I knew that I don't like to be micromanaged. This tells me I will prefer small firm work or owning my own business. Working for the government such as legal aid could be okay, given you can generally manage your own cases, there just happen to be a lot of them.

I also knew that I liked dealing with criminal matters, and took some criminal law classes in my undergrad to explore this area.

If you don't find an area of law to be passionate about, and decide what kind of environment you flourish in, you will do yourself a major disservice if you spend the money for law school.

Don't borrow a ton of money for law school with no idea what being a lawyer is like. Get in touch with volunteer mentor attorneys from your law school (they may be willing to meet with you before you accept admission) and ask them what an average day is like. What do they hate about their job? Have they worked in other types of law? Go tour a law firm and see what they typically assign their interns to work on. Do some research and make sure this is the kind of thing you can do for the next ten years at least, because if you accrue the student loan debt and can't go work somewhere else making comparable money, you're going to be stuck in law for quite a while.

For me personally, I LOVE my job. I love what I do every single day. I am the type of person who will pitch in and do whatever people ask without being annoyed or bored. I'm happy to file, take dictation, fill out paperwork, generate and edit documents, get coffee, whatever.

If you aren't that type of person you will have to learn to be, but some people just can't handle grunt work. Now for me, being a self-starter with a personality built for owning my own business, grunt work is just par for the course.

I guess what this rambling is intended to convey is that you should really know who you are before you consider law school. This doesn't mean that you have to be closed to changing who you are, but that you should make decisions based on building a lifestyle for yourself. It would be a mistake to make a major decision like this and be stuck in a lifestyle you hate solely because you accrued 100K (plus) in debt.

Good luck, feel free to comment and I will reply.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Today was the last day of the Pride Festival in Salt Lake City. What an experience! I volunteered to help man the booth for the OUTLaws club, which is the LGBTQ club for law students. We run a free legal clinic once a month for LGBTQ issues like custody, divorce, medical directives, wills, discrimination, etc. We have a lot of great attorneys out there who donate their time, but we need more clients. We really got the word out today, I even made those who didn't have cash to donate promise to tell five friends in exchange for Mardi Gras beads, buttons, and candy.

Pride was awesome, and a great place for people watching! I saw one queen who was wearing the most amazing outfit. It was made of that plastic astro-turf stuff that people put on the porch of their trailer or patio, and was a full gown. GIANT platform shoes and a hat made of a giant piece of wood. The wood was done up like a front yard with a white picket fence going around the edge. It even had a pink flamingo. It was epic.

I love that the law gives so many opportunities to serve. Hopefully the traffic at the clinic will go up, because I know there are people in Utah dealing with legal issues related to their sexuality and gender who are unaware of the resources available. The attorneys who volunteer are wonderful and really want to help.

Today one of my lesbian classmates was saying that she loves Pride because she gets to feel so "normal." I asked if that meant that she feels normal being around other gay people. NOPE! She meant that she gets to feel normal because she doesn't dress like "those" people! There were some real statements being made and it was fun to laugh about how fierce and brave they all were while simultaneously cringing. One guy was wearing flip flops and tightey-whiteys! NO JOKE.

In any case, it was a great experience. I managed to avoid those protesting the festival, so for me it was just a total love-fest. It's great when you get to feel like you are making a difference.