Roller CoasterOctober 21, 2012
I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been a roller coaster lately, and that remains the case. Let’s look at this week:
Monday: I started my day ridiculously overwhelmed with an impossible list of things to do. It was my first day in after a solid week in the Virgin Islands, getting home on Friday night at midnight, I rebelled over the weekend and did only about 10 hours of work, instead of 30, deciding to deal with what was left on Monday. This is what was left:
- Responding to no less than 3 outstanding motions on the trial (Virgin Islands) case;
- Deciding whether or not to depose a major witness;
- Preparing to defend my own client’s deposition – my first defense of a deposition;
- coordinating affidavits and stipulations re: third party documents within the discovery deadline;
- Preparing witnesses and witness outlines for a totally different case which I hadn’t looked at in a long time and in which I was running and arbitration on THURSDAY.
- Making miscellaneous phone calls and follow up on the other 7 cases I’m on, after being gone for the entire previous week.
While working my way through this list, it became clear to me that on the trial case I had royally fucked up. I missed a filing deadline on a motion. My response had been due on Friday, and this was Monday. Maybe in many circumstances this wouldn’t be such a big deal – you seek leave for a late filing, and that’s that. But this particular case wasn’t going to allow for that without some real credibility issues, for reasons not to be going into here.
So I had a moment of feeling like my life was over, my job was over, and that I sucked. In the end, I talked to the partner, he shrugged, we fixed it, and all was well. (It helped that during the previous week I’d been working 20 hours a day in a place far away from home . . . it’s not like anyone thought I missed the deadline because I was playing tiddlywinks).
Tuesday. I defended my client’s deposition. Over the phone. Everyone else was in the Virgin Islands, and I refused to go. So I was likely nothing but a screechy “objection!” coming out of a box on a table. But it went really well, and I really liked defending. It put me in a good mood, and I liked that I finally could stop saying “I’ve never defended a deposition.” Wheeee!! I also then started to do some minor prep work on my arbitration. I don’t think I yet understood just how much more I had to do, so I went home on the early side (i.e., 6:30).
Wednesday. I started prepping for my arbitration, the one that was set for the next day. By noon, I was freaked the fuck out at how much I had to do and how little time I had to do it in. I had 6 witnesses. I hadn’t prepped any of them. I hadn’t drafted outlines. I started prepping my main witness at 9, thinking we’d be done by noon, but instead we ended at 1:30, and that was because she had something else to do. Another main witness was (get this) – the most senior partner in my firm. Yep. I had to put my boss on the stand. Holy shit.
I finished with witness prep by 5, and then started typing up/finalizing outlines and marking exhibits and doing other prep. I had dumped a huge copy job on my assistant at 3 p.m., and was so very grateful that she just made it happen. I am very, very lucky.
During that prep, another senior partner came into the conference room – while I was prepping the Most Senior Partner – to say “did you hear? We won that other arbitration!” It was a case that was dryer than dry, and that he laid at my feet and said things like, “It’s your job to make sure that not even a period is out of place!” and then when I’d say, “well, did you read the other side’s brief?” he’d say, “uhhh, no. I’m relying on you.” And we won. Most Senior Partner was impressed, and Other Senior Partner pointed at me and said, “it was her!” Most Senior Partner said (after Other Senior Partner left the room) “Huh. You’re getting a lot of experience here.” I said “Yes, and I’m really loving it.”
I left the office that night at 11:15. I got home at 11:45. I don’t know if I slept, or if I instead just went through my witness examinations in my head all night.
Thursday. I went in super-early (6:30) to finish prep, and to incorporate ideas from the night’s tossing and turning into my witness outlines. My main witness and I met at 8 so we could run through her testimony. She was nervous. I was going to be conducting an arbitration with the most senior partner in my firm watching — I was nervous. I didn’t finish with that prep until 9:30, and the arbitration started at 10. So the appropriate thing was to get pissed at my assistant and bark at her (after her heroic efforts the day before) for daring to ask me about another case. Ugh.
The arbitration went really, really well. And it was kind of fun. (It helps that this particular arbitration was essentially a trial without rules. I could ask what I wanted, use documents I wanted — whatever. I hope it didn’t create bad habits.)
I got back to the office at 6 p.m., and had fun telling my peers about the day. Then I turned into a bowl of jelly made out of exhaustion and headed home.
[my plan is to draft another post as soon as I'm done here, to talk about the amazingness on the home front that happened on my way home that night. My girls rock.]
Friday. I could have been more efficient. I know that. I had deadlines that day, and I met them. But I also had deadlines on Monday, and I didn’t really start on that. I had fun with people at work. I chatted a lot. I worked on other cases, despite the Monday deadline on the trial/Virgin Islands case.
I was also still on a huge high about the home front. Did I say my girls rock?
Saturday. I know. Sad. I worked all day on a motion for summary judgment, and I didn’t finish. I had evening plans with friends from Big Firm that are bigger friendships than just that old job, and I wasn’t willing to let go of it. So I wrote the partner and said, “you’re not getting this draft today, it will have to be tomorrow.” I was tired and run down with my friends. I was happy to see them, and the baby that comes with the package, and to catch up with them about what we’re all doing as we leave Big Firm and try to leave and hope to leave . . . but I was so tired.
Sunday. Sadder. I got home SO TIRED on Saturday night, and I still had to get up early on Sunday and go back to the office to finish this major motion and all of the accompanying documents. But when I went to leave the house, I realized I didn’t have my building i.d. Because I rushed out so fast the day before in order to make it to my gathering with friends, I’d left it in the office. I wasn’t sure I could even get into the office without it on the weekend, so I looked at getting onto Citrix, but I’d left the goddamned document open the day before, on the computer at work, so I couldn’t access it from home.
Fortunately, I got into the office.
And I worked until 4:30 and finished the motion and proof read it and sent it to the client and the partner, but I didn’t love the motion, and I was so tired, and I was mad that it was Sunday and I’d barely seen my family, and I’d hope David and I could go to a movie this weekend, and now it was too late, and I’m just SICK AND TIRED OF THIS.
But then the partner liked the motion, and it turned out no one was home all day (so I didn’t miss anything), and the work I have left to do is going quickly from the couch, so now I feel okay.
See? A roller coaster.
Once I file this motion tomorrow, I really should have a reprieve from this insane schedule.
I was telling a colleague that I thought that I will be able to breathe after tomorrow, and she started looking at me funny. We were in a room with all of the lawyers, but I didn’t know why she was looking at me with a weird look. But she happens to be the lawyer in our firm who handles assignments. She started pointing at another partner and telling me to SHUT UP. Apparently, there was another case coming up . . . and I was one of the associates on the table as being assigned, but she’d told him I was too busy knowing what was going on in the past 2-3 weeks. And now here I am saying, “I’m going to be so free as of Monday!!”
I shut up, and the new case went to someone else.
I am hoping that after tomorrow’s filing, I can take Tuesday off. I have a call at 3 p.m., but I think that’s easy to do from home.
I love my job. I love how much I’ve been able to do. I have fun with it. But can’t it be just a little bit spread out? Do I have to have so much at once? Arbitrations, depositions, deadlines, freak outs, dispositive motions, all within a week?
It’s hard. But I still love my job.
And I miss my family.
And I miss breathing.