Thursday, August 31, 2006


Did anyone catch that new show Justice last night?

It was so fake that I'm not sure I can stand to watch it. But I'll
definitely have to watch at least a few more episodes... you know,
just to see if I like it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Perplexing: 3 & 4, of 4

I was working a full day in court.  I had been spending a lot of time in that courtroom, so I became buddy buddy with the court staff that week.  There was one officer in particular that I rely on to change my clients from the "not ready to see the judge" to "ready to see the judge" status.  Essentially, I rely on him so heavily to make my job happen that he could REALLY make or break my day. 
He and I get along well.  I am not in any way attracted to him, but he makes me laugh, and he definitely makes work more enjoyable.  He's middle-aged, married, children.  This court officer had mentioned that we should lunch together.  I always lunch with my coworkers, because it's valuable time to pick their brains and benefit from their years of experience.  I didn't think much of it, because it's not uncommon for court officers and attorneys to lunch together. 
But something changed... he was doing a lot of, um, TOUCHING me.  Rubbing my arm, my back, petting my hair, etc.  To make a short story long, I started avoiding him and he kept getting more passive aggressive with me.  It made me nervous, that I rely so heavily on him in order to get my work done, and he was clearly not pleased with me.  Things were awkward, until we had a confrontation. 
"I don't see what the problem is," he hissed several days later, as I passed him in court.  The way the officer reacted made me believe that I made the right decision.  There was definitely something weird. I was being super friendly to him, because I could tell that he was not happy with me.  "I just wanted to have lunch, that's all.  I don't like eating lunch with all those other people.  It could have been just the two of us."  When I left court that day, I think we were ok.  He asked me for a kiss on the cheek, and I reluctantly complied.
Coworker Jack snorted in disgust when I told him about it afterwards.  "You don't want to hang out with him but then you stick your tongue down his throat?  No wonder you're having creepy guy problems.  I don't feel bad for you."
Way back in February, one night at a bar, I was hard-core macking on a guy that I thought was totally hot.  We chatted for a good part of the night, on and off.  I was really, really hitting on him.  It was messy.  I was messy.  Anyway, several times, he patted me on the head.  Yes that's right.  He PATTED MY HEAD.  How patronizing!
I saw him again recently and mentioned to a friend that I thought he was hot.  My friend, on a later date and unbeknownst to me, told him that I thought he was hot.  What does he say?  "Whose your friend?  Her?  Yeah, I'm single. Tell her to come up and talk to me sometime."
I saw him shortly thereafter, and then my friend disclosed the aforementioned conversation.  So I caught this guy looking at me a few times, but I just walked out in disgust.  Yeah, you're hot.  But you know what?  I hit on you once and you PATTED MY HEAD.  I'm so over it.
One commenter asks, What's the big deal?  Well, there's isn't really a big deal.  I'm just sort of annoyed.  I've had a pretty good summer, once I went through the withdrawal of dating anxiety.  At some point, I guess I came to rely on having men drama in my life.  On Memorial Day, I finally resolved to just STOP.  Just take a break.  Get all the bad vibes out of my system.  Get my head on straight.  Reach some sort of emotional equilibrium.  Enjoy myself.  And you know what?  It worked.  I had a fun summer.  I hung out with friends.  I went to baseball games.  I took some time off.  I read books.  I watched movies.  I hung out with my roommate and the dog.  I spent a lot of time outdoors.  And I really, really enjoyed it.
Perplexing #s 1-4 all happened in the SAME WEEK.  I started wondering, is it me?  Is it something I did?  Did I somehow do something that makes people think I'm in love with them?  What am I doing that's so inappropriate?  Am I doomed to lead a life of awkward interactions like these?  And what about #2?  Was I wrong?  Or was he actually interested in me?  Why didn't he come back?  Did something come up, or did he never give it a second thought?  What the fuck is #4's problem?  Is this change of heart a mere ploy to get some action?  How could it be anything more than that?  There can't be any genuine interest.  What am I supposed to do next time I see #1? 
The only reason I wrote about all of these things is because I was annoyed.  I managed to have a good couple of months and straighten myself out, without any of this weird anxiety.  Suddenly four people interfered with my chaos- and anxiety-free emotional state.  It was uninvited.  And suddenly I found myself doing exactly what made me take a break to begin with - I began analyzing, fretting, worrying, examining, thinking.  I was knocked off my wagon of emotional peace and contentment, and I don't like it one bit.

fever pitch, indeed.

The Red Sox are all banged up.

Monday, August 28, 2006

from fake to nonexistent

There's a new trend now.  Clients and other ignorant folk used to be hatin' on the PDs by insinuating that we were not real attorneys (um, if I'm a fake attorney, are my law school loans and bar review loans fake too?  Because that would totally ROCK... no more payments on those 'fake' loans!  haha!) 
Recently, however, I've encountered a new development.  It's happened enough that I just have to rant.  The conversation goes something like this.
Fake attorney [me]:  I see you have an open case.  That was pretty recent.  Who represents you on that case?
Client:  No one.
Me:  Well, someone represented you.
Client:  No, I didn't have a lawyer.
Me:  Yes you did.
Client:  No, I didn't.
Me:  Yes you did.
Client:  No, I didn't have no attorney, I'm telling you!
Me:  Ok.  So let me get this straight.  On the last court date, you were in this courtroom, right?
Client:  Yeah.
Me:  And you went out in front of the judge, right?
Client:  Yeah.
Me:  You saw the judge, yes?
Client:  Yeah.
Me:  And when you saw the judge, there was someone standing next to you, right?
Client.  Yeah.
Me:  And that was the same person who was speaking to you in your cell just like I am now, right?
Client:  Yeah, yeah.  But that wasn't a lawyer, that was a public defender.
So I've gone from being not a 'real' lawyer to not being a lawyer at all.  Didn't have a lawyer?  YOU DIDN'T HAVE A LAWYER?  Who do you think got you out of jail just in time for you to get your ass arrested again?
Didn't have a lawyer.  Hmph. 

Friday, August 25, 2006

Perplexing: 2 of 4

The night before my awkward incident with Nick, I was at the same bar with all of my coworkers.  We were all enjoying a much-needed night out.  I went up to the bar to get myself another drink and had to delicately wedge myself between the bar, a chair, and another person.  That other person was a familiar face from around the area in which I work, but I didn't say anything.
His back was facing me when I approached the bar, but he turned to me as I was waiting to get the bartender's attention.  I saw him look at me for a moment and then he said, "The bartender's name is Rich."  [This was a different bartender from the one that asked me out.]  I was startled, and sort of stammered, because I knew the bartender, the bartender knew me, and I certainly frequented that bar more than this guy.  I can say that because I'm there often enough to know that he is not.
Rich looked over at me and called out, "Hey WOTL!  Another round?"  Indeed.
The guy at the bar told me I looked familiar, where did he know me from?  And at that moment I realized...  Ohhhhhhhhh.  Yes.  This is how these things start, right?  He was kind of sizing me up, wasn't he?  Turns out we sort of work together, remotely, in that he works in the courthouse and I work in the courthouse.  We struck up a conversation and chatted while I tried to look vivacious and fetching.  Not someone I'd seek out, but he seems relatively normal.  Looks like a regular good guy.  Not manicured, not flashy or fancy, just wearing sneakers and jeans and a decent shirt.  The conversation came easily and was enough to keep me interested.  Which left me with no other option than to leave.  [Right?  I've heard that hard-to-get is the most successful tactic.]
I wrapped up the conversation and returned to my table, where it had not escaped my coworkers notice that I was engaged in conversation with a male.  I shrugged, and played indifferent, but I was wondering, is he interested?  Is he single?  Would he take me out on a nice, normal date?  Will he come over and talk to me?
I walked over later when I realized he wasn't going to infiltrate the ranks of my office to talk to me.  We chatted again, again it was pleasant, and again I realized that I guess I should play it cool.  I spent the rest of the evening with my coworkers, this time trying to position myself in a way that would permit him to approach me if he wanted to, in a way that hopefully wouldn't make him uncomfortable or require him to be brazen.  Seeing that he wasn't going to come by again, I went over to let him know that I'd be leaving, and to say goodbye.
Then he asked me the question that made me really believe that he had some hint of interest in me.  "Will you be coming back next week?"  I said yeah, probably, at least for a little while. 
One week passes.  I go back to the bar, despite the fact that I have a bad cold, have gotten no sleep all week, and have to be at work early for a long day the next day.  I wear a cute outfit, I accessorize, I'm having a good hair day.  The only reason I went is because he asked me if I'd be there, and if he was going to show up, I wanted to make sure I was there.
He never showed.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Perplexing: 1 of 4.

I've been on a hiatus from dating since Memorial Day weekend.  I decided I need to stop and just shake off whatever vibes I had that were attracting troublesome men.  I have to say, it's been a pretty enjoyable summer without the stress of dating.  I got to July 4th and realized, wow, it's been a while, why not go all the way to Labor Day?  And with Labor Day approaching, it seems that I've almost made it.
I am at a loss to explain how it is, then, that I have attracted the attention of (almost) all the wrong men in the past two weeks. 
It started with my favorite bartender.  I love him.  I adore him.  Sometimes I stop in just to say hi.  He is a very bouncy, affable, friendly guy.  He has always remembered my name and what I drink.  I occassionally give him a hug, recently a kiss on the cheek.  My intentions were always platonic, since he's older and I assumed he was married.  I stopped by the bar to say hello to some coworkers but wanted to spend the afternoon shopping outside since it was so nice.  Nick offered me my regular drink, I declined.  Then he insisted on buying me a drink and offered all sorts of delicious frozen concoctions and, remembering my 'drinks with umbrellas' goal, I accepted.  I had two cocktails that tasted like pure magic and got me good and buzzed.  So I gave him a big hug and kiss on the cheek and thanked him for taking such good care of me.
He joked, "When are we going on a date, WOTL?" and I chuckled.  Realizing that he was looking at me for an answer, I hurriedly answered, "Sure Nick, we'll hang out sometime."  Then, attempting to change the subject, I said, "What are you up to this weekend, Nick?  Any big plans?"  Anyone else in their right mind would realize that this is the ABSOLUTE LAST THING you should ask as a follow-up question.  But I still thought he was joking.  He turned around and handed me a napkin.  Oh yes.  It was his phone number.  Shit.
My coworker Jack, who is my partner in crime at the office, just rolled his eyes when I went back to my seat, all flustered.  "You press your boobs right up against the man's chest and expect that he's not going to try to get some?  Maybe you should STOP MAKING OUT WITH HIM if you don't want him to hit on you."  True that.  Note to self.  Stop being friendly and affectionate to men, even in a platonic way.
Installments 2-4 to follow.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I am a real attorney.

I'm still new enough that some of the usual occupational hazards really get to me.  Like, the "public defender vs. REAL attorney" illusion.
I have a very difficult client.  He is young, with a level of teenage recklessness and disregard that would lead me to tackle him rather than take the stand in his own defense.  (I know, I know, it's his choice, I can't prohibit him from it, yes yes, blah blah blah, but all you PDs out there know that you secretly desire to glue some clients to the seat rather than let him/her take the stand).  This case was on the trial track and was transferred to me.  Ick. 
So, I have to prep this case.  Is it a good trial case?  Do I beg / plead / cajole the DA into making an acceptable offer?  Do I have everything I need in this file?  I try 3 times to meet my client.  He stands me up every time except the third time, when he waltzed into my office FOUR HOURS LATE with no phone call, explanation, anything.  Luckily, I was in the office that day and had the time to meet with him.  We sat together for over an hour, analyzing and discussing his case.  I think the police were pretty rotten to him.  I think they used excessive force.  I also, however, think the case is a loser for my client.  I think there is a very good chance of conviction, as the only witnesses in this case are two police officers. 
I discuss the current plea deal with my client and recommend he take it.  It's not bad, but not great.  He was supposed to call me and talk to me about it.  I call the DA and wrangle out a better deal.  Excellent.  Now I feel better about my legal opinion as to what course of action my client should take.  I think this is a very good plea offer, although I still think the cops are jerks.
Today I show up and tell my client what the new offer is.  I also tell my client that I called him and was disappointed that he did not return my call to discuss his case.  Then he tells me the news I love to hear on the day of trial after exerting this level of energy - he's waiting for his attorney to show up.  His parents decided to hire an attorney instead.  His attorney, he tells me, told him that I would be more than happy to give up his case because I don't have enough time to take care of my cases.
My jaw hit the floor.
It's one thing for a client to want to hire an attorney because they believe that.  I'm fine with that - you're right, I have a lot of cases, and if you can pay for an attorney, then you should.  However, I believe that the defense bar should be a little more respectful of my work ethic and professionalism.  To tell a client that I'm screwing him because I'm too busy with other things is not something I would ever expect from another attorney. 

Saturday, August 12, 2006

...but am I a good PD?

I'm A PD wrote a post that leveled me. Her post made me realize exactly what it was about my job that made me feel so anxious. I've been feeling so insecure and always struggling with the belief that maybe deep down I'm not good at this job, or good for my clients, and I think I'm a PD hit the nail on the head here. There's no way to tell. There is no objective measure, or list of characteristics that make someone a good public defender. Which means that people like me, who have always received good grades and tested well and been on honor roll, etc. are left to flounder in our grey area of evaluating our performance.

I think her words say it best for me:
there's no objective way of measuring whether you are 'good' at doing your work. You expect to lose cases; you expect your clients to hate you and do an unreasonable amount of time; you expect judges to yell at you; you expect polite society to suspect that you are a naive enabler of evil in the world. What you don't expect is the sinking and persistent feeling that you are actually bad at what you do.

Friday, August 11, 2006

too much info.

I'm sure it's only a matter of time before this experience becomes my own.  Nevertheless, I think that these mothers' desire to know more about the sperm donor than they already do is just creepy.  I think it's ridiculous to call for regulations or for policies that share more extensive information about sperm donors.  Here's the deal.  If you want to know who your donor is, what his family is like, what he's like, what the medical issues are... then FIND HIM AND MARRY HIM.  Or at least, FIND HIM AND LET HIM IMPREGNATE YOU.  It seems silly to me to expect so much information from a venue such as a sperm bank.  Furthermore, there's never any way to tell whether your child is going to be perfect or not.  Whether your child's biological father is your husband, or ex, or a some guy you met at a costume party, or some guy you picked out of a catalog... conception is not risk-free.  Even if you pay good money for it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

today's news

 "[T]he ABA voted to declare that it ``opposes, as contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional system of separation of powers, the misuse of presidential signing statements by claiming the authority . . . to disregard or decline to enforce all or part of a law the president has signed, or to interpret such a law in a manner inconsistent with the clear intent of Congress."

The ABA also urged Congress to pass legislation giving courts greater jurisdiction to review signing statements in which a president asserts that some parts of a bill unconstitutionally infringe on his executive powers and need not be obeyed. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, has already filed such a bill."

Maurice Clarett, the only athlete an antitrust attorney could ever name, was arrested again, this time with guns, while wearing a bulletproof vest.  Alas, how far he has fallen from the sterile spotlight of my antitrust textbook.

All your internet searches really are being scrutinized.


Friday, August 04, 2006

who's the reactionary?

I received the following comment from an adoring and loyal reader:
hey dumb ass, guess what, we have removed over 500 WMD's from Iraq. Have you been there? of course not.. you just want to run your liberal mouth, and put down everything about this country, while marines like me, fight and die, so that you have the freedom to do it. THANK GOD, BUSH HAS THE BALLS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
I feel compelled to respond.  I don't know what post this is in response to, because I just get them on my email, but I find the comment deliciously trite. 
Dumb ass.  That's "overeducated Dumb Ass, Esq." to you, buddy.
We have removed over 500 WMD's from Iraq.  Have you?  To be honest, I was unaware.  What do they look like?  What are they capable of doing?  I think it's fair to say that the US government might have made more of a deal about actually recovering the things they said they were going to find and never did.  Unless, by WMD's, you mean "guns."  In which case I can assure you that the streets of this country are a veritable war zone.
Have you been there?  of course not... you just want to run your liberal mouth  If the choice is a) go to Iraq and b) run my liberal mouth, then I'll choose B.  You apparently chose to do both.  Or maybe just the running the mouth bit - you're unclear as to whether you've been in Iraq either.  I support your right to choose, or not choose, as the case may be.
Furthermore, while I have never been in the service, I am a proud member of a family of military members.  You are my brother, my uncle, my father, my grandfather.  I've never been ashamed of my family's service to this country.  My family is in the conflict fighting overseas right next to you.  There is a difference between supporting my nation's decision to embark on such a significantly lethal path and supporting the troops.  I don't oppose you as a human being (well, I didn't before you were so rude - ) but I do believe that I'd rather our soldiers be somewhere else.
and put down everything about this country, while marines like me, fight and die so you have the freedom to do it    It's easy to walk around, screaming and twitching about people who put down everything about this country. "Put down everything about this country"?  You say that because I disagree with you, and I challenge you to identify examples of this assertion.  I don't believe that my country is perfect, but that does not mean I do not love my country.  I do not have to refrain from advocating changes in my country, my government, my society, or my community in order to love it.  That is where people like you become confused.  I gush on and on about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, how I love them, how if I could fill my bathtub up with law and criminal procedure and swim in it, I would... come now.  I love this country.  I fight for it every single day.  You fight for this country with guns and force.  That's your thing.  I fight for this country by protecting people from the chaos and corruption and error in the legal system.  I fight for this country by making sure that the country does not tear from its citizens the cloak of freedom and civil liberty guaranteed by our founding fathers. 
Everyone has their own way of participating in their society, and the beautiful thing about our democracy is that we often exercise our rights without even noticing.  Everyone has a different way of defending freedom, and I defend freedom by literally keeping people free.  I've represented several dozen individuals who have either already fought for their country or are trying to enter the service but cannot because of their pending criminal case.  You know, all those poor and uneducated kids that the Army likes to recruit - I fight every day for their right to enter the Army and fight for their country.
THANK GOD BUSH HAS THE BALLS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT  God has nothing to do with this war, but as a Bush supporter, that distinction would be lost on you.  As for Bush's balls, well, I'd suggest removing them from your mouth and advise you to get back to work, soldier.  The war is far from over.  There's a lot of work left to be done.  I wish you good health and your safe return from Iraq.  Or Nebraska.  Wherever you are.