Friday, August 7th, 2009

My Proud New Lawyer Moment

I can complain.  I like to complain about work and I spent a good part of the week complaining about jury duty.  Yesterday, was a perfect storm of complaints about both (dear friends, sorry and thanks).  In the end, I wasn’t needed today to serve jury duty but that meant I had to appear in court to cover something for work.  Fine, right?  It wasn’t going to take long and relative to sitting in the jury assembly room for 8 hours it seems like not such a bad deal.  

I couldn’t find a lot to complain about except this.  I hate that my profession is, in large part, a giant boys’ club.  I just want to scream give me a break, seriously.  It’s like the whole Sotomayor thing.  By not voting to confirm her you’re telling me, because I am fully aware of her judicial record, that the ONLY candidate you wouldn’t find biased is… I’m getting off track here.  

What happened is that I was there on a simple dismissal.  The other side failed to appear and the whole thing took me about 10 seconds in front of the judge.  Meanwhile he heard all of these motions ahead of me because the shiny, big-firm guys whine and cry and get their cases heard first.  Had I known ahead of time that I knew that particular judge’s clerk I would have whined and cried too of course but I just hate it when the whole boys’ club thing smacks me in the face.  Hate it.  But that’s all the bad stuff.   

Having to sit through everyone’s motions hearings I had the pleasure of observing a former classmate.  He was appearing, evidently with a supervising attorney co-pilot, on a show cause hearing.  Basically, that’s a hearing to determine whether the other party should be held in contempt for failing to respond to a request for information.  Generally, a very routine matter.  I’ll admit that this was slightly more complicated than your average show cause hearing BUT it still took about twice as long as it needed to and I loved every minute of it.  15 minutes and 7 exhibits later, the judge sent the parties out in the hall to exchange the information.  The same information that would have been exchanged had he simply said, your honor the defendant is present I’ll conduct an oral examination.  7 exhibits, 7!  Better still, he was clearly well prepared, had written a detailed outline of everything he wanted to say and followed it very closely,  speaking loudly and clearly even though the judge had already clearly gotten the point.  It was just like LRW and it was awesome.  

I realize that most of this probably doesn’t mean a lot to most of you but this is why it’s awesome.  I may not work at a big fancy firm but I also don’t have anyone to hold my hand.  Show cause hearings are old hat for me at this point.  I love that this guy who sat next to me for a whole semester of securities regulation and looked, the entire time, like he just could not be bothered with anyone who was not as big time as he was is light years behind me.  Sure, 10 years from now he’ll be wealthy beyond my wildest dreams but I was never headed to a big firm in any event.  I’m on my own, I manage my calendar, prepare for and try cases all by myself.  Sure, I have supervision and people who mentor me.  I still agonize over upcoming trials and hearings but I know that I have developed a certain level of comfort in dealing with judges and opposing counsel that this guy just didn’t have.  He just didn’t have it.  Ok, I’m done tooting my own horn.  This kind of thing just doesn’t happen that often.  Love it.

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