Friday, December 09, 2005

on being an attorney: growing pains

Yesterday was a crazy day, and I ended the day frustrated and tired, but in a good way!  I then decided not to keep my appointment to join the gym and instead went and drank beer with coworkers, and it was totally worth missing the OC and Reunion to do so.  Beer never tasted so good.
Today I have a whole bunch of cases that will be doing things I've never done before.  It'll be a long day and I can't wait to see what sorts of stupid things I do to embarrass myself today.  Nevertheless, I'm really happy to be working some new legal muscles.
I confessed to a coworker yesterday that I was getting frustrated because although I think I'm getting much better at asking questions, it seems as though I'm getting answers to questions other than the ones I ask.  This happened to me twice yesterday.  The first time it happened was in a group discussion regarding the use of a particular strategy.  I suggested that it's best to look at it as though it is an actual defense in the cases in which this procedure would apply, so you are considering that course of action just as you would any other defense - and then figuring out which one is best for your client.  The attorney leading the conversation then immediately warned us that we should never use it frivolously, that once we start using it on all of our cases then no one will believe us when it actually is the case, and that it's a bad idea to get in that habit.  I'm pretty sure that's not what I said, and I felt crappy that her response insinuated such.
Then I was asking another attorney that if there's no disposition on a particular date, at that time then... and he cut me off and told me not to let people rush me along or pressure me into a disposition.  He gave me very good advice regarding how to make sure the court doesn't rush me into doing something inappropriately or without enough consideration.  After giving some very good advice, he then took me to meet the next client.  However, I had another very specific procedural question that I never got to finish asking, and to which I still don't know the answer. 
I'm not complaining though.  I am very happy that all of the attorneys are so patient with us and so insistent upon us asking questions.  It's become a joke amongst us new attorneys, this question & answer phenomenon.  We've all experienced it and we're learning to consult with one another frequently to compare notes about what we learn in a day, because we all have the same blank slate and it's nice when someone who is equally in the dark can help you figure out how to piece our accumulating knowledge together. 

1 comment:

Blonde Justice said...

Hang in there! Things will get better!

Make some friends in the office, that might help. I can't believe how many new attorneys in our office sit in their offices by themselves, or only eat lunch with other new attorneys. Don't they get that it might be worthwhile to say Hello to the people who already work here?

Having a good group of friends makes everything else easier.