Posts Tagged ‘lawyers’

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Kids + Legal Mumbo Jumbo

March 28, 2012

Mouse’s braces came off today.  One of my favorite things about that was that Lemon was so excited for her.

At dinner, we were talking about Mouse’s arrival at the high school in the fall.  In the context of the girls’ similar appearances, I laughed and said, “Mouse, you should go into the high school as [Mouse] [Suz’s last name], and Lemon, you should stay [Lemon] [Ex’s last name].”  They got a kick of out that.  “Dude!  You look like Lemon!”  “Oh, yeah, we’re good friends, and she even slept over my house FOR THE PAST 15 YEARS!!”  HA HA HA!!  Say the girls.

But then Lemon said, “you know, now that your braces are off, you kinda do look more like me.”  Mouse agreed.

Other funny braces conversations:

Lemon:  “Was it wrong of me to think I looked WORSE when my braces came off?”

Mouse:  “I know!  I thought that, too!”

Me:  “Why?  Like you’re missing jewelry or something?”

[not saying “you know, you do look weird.” because she does.]

Lemon:  “No, it was like my teeth were too big.”

Mouse:  “YES!!! And [a boy] told me to ‘take off those creepy fake teeth’ – and I told him, ‘I got my braces off!'”

Then they were a bit wild, and during the wildness, decided it was the perfect night for a HOMEWORK PARTY!!!!  WOO HOO!!!

These things.  They melt my heart. I want these girls to be friends. And here we are.  It was not always the case.  The middle grade years were hard.  Hatred may not have been an exaggerated term.

But now?  Lemon is having friends over this weekend.  They’re having a Lord of the Rings Marathon.  Lemon and her friends thought, “Hey! It would be fun if Mouse watches with us!”  And they invited her. And she said yes. And they are all excited.

Big sigh.

_______________________

So — Work.

I’ve already made clear that this move from BigFirm to New Firm, which is a “Medium Sized Firm,” has been a great one.  But I just want to talk about it for a minute.  Another minute.  Because I have already talked about it.

In the Big Firms, filing deadlines are stressful events.  You have a senior associate, and a mid level associate, and maybe 3 junior associates.  They are working off a rough outline provided by a partner, or a Partner.  They got maybe 10 minutes of said partner’s time, and hoped against hope they were going in the right direction.  If not — they wouldn’t know until the eve of filing.  Deadlines loom, and still no feedback – but then 12 hours before— feedback!  Rewrite! Not good enough!!  Revise!!

My friends and I would say, over and over “It doesn’t have to be this way . . . ”  we know about deadlines 20-30 days in advance. Why does all the stress happen in the 12-24 hours before said deadline?

But now!  I am at a medium sized firm.  And I have better partner access.  I have more control.

Tomorrow is my second filing.  Last time and this time, I’m home by 6:30 the night before. The brief is DONE.  For real.  I will do a final proof in the morning, before a post-lunch filing goal.

We are golden.  It is remarkably stress-free.

Ahhhh.

 

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Pre-Acceptance Freak Out

January 28, 2012

Friday was a busier day than I anticipated. I thought I’d have my 10 am informational interview, and then a restful day at home, maybe with a phone call or two.

But my 10 am “informational” interview felt more like a real interview, and then I checked in with a friend who works at that firm for a while.  He ended up being close with one of the associates at the offer firm, so he put us in touch to chat.

I went home, spoke to this associate for an hour, and then called next week’s firm to see if I could move things up, and then had real work to do, and then decided to engage in negotiations with the ex to get child support up to snuff. Then I freaked out, a la paycheck calculator.

Here are some of the results:

  • Associate at offer firm gave a very nice and candid view of the firm. I ended up even more excited to work there. It was good.
  • Next week’s interview can’t be moved up: the firm is in talks with a senior person to come in as a partner. They were thinking if he does come in, they’d bring me in as a junior person to support him. But timing can’t be rushed, and the area isn’t my first choice (and isn’t – really – what my resume indicates I would do, so …. ????). I’m keeping the Thursday lunch on the Calendar for the sake of the “longer view.” it’s not going to be an option for me right now.
  • The Ex was less resistant than I anticipated. I’d done a good job for the past year or so in prepping him for the reality that I would not be at big firm forever, and therefore wouldn’t be able to continue to discount child support forever. I think we can avoid court.
  • But the paycheck calculator was mean to me. 

This will not be easy. I’m nowhere near having to make huge changes, like moving out of my house or selling my car, but the series of little changes are going to hurt. 


A friend joked today, “you won’t be able to run out and get the newest iPhone and iPad anymore!” not that I’d need a new iPad. Mine is great. But if the iPhone 5 comes out ….  


No, seriously. The clothes budget will be an issue, the food budget will be affected. Things like $200 athletic fees for sports will start to hurt. 


We like Calistoga Springs sparkling water, the orange flavor. David tends to buy a case of it now and again, bc it’s cheaper by the case. I was having a glass last night, and wondered “can we keep buying this?” I asked him how much it was, and he really didn’t know. “do you think we will have to look at things that closely?” he asked.  Yes. Yes, I do.


I may need to have Lemon quit her voice lessons.


And the  there’s my other hold out – Third to house and car – the housecleaners. A $200/month expense that I just can’t imagine giving up. I’d rather cancel cable. Having a lower income doesn’t mean I have a lesser job. (Odd as that may be, but the reality when you start out in BigLaw). I don’t have any more time to scrub and polish. The housecleaners don’t tidy – they keep up with the floors, the bathrooms, the dust bunnies under the radiators. And they force us (because all of our personalities require force) to keep up with our personal messes on a twice-monthly basis, so the dust and grime underneath the clutter can be addressed.


Before we had them, I was a sad lady. A mad lady. Weekends were unhappy times because I was resentful that I spent the week working and then the weekend cleaning. So maybe I’d sit on the couch and pout, instead of cleaning, and things were yucky. Then we’d plan to have friends over, and I’d have no choice but to tackle the weeks’ (or months’) worth of grime, and I’d go on a rampage. Cleaning and bitching would go hand-in-hand. I would, essentially, turn into my mother. And like the generations before them, my kids and husband would hide in corners somewhere or leave the house. 


I can’t think of anything other than these housecleaners that has increased the quality of my life to this degree.  Maybe my iPhone. Maybe – but it may have detracted, really, because of the, well, distraction.


So I will tenaciously hold on.


And we will tighten the belts and see how it feels.


And David is still on the job market. It was easier for me because the legal market here is picking up, but other markets are still slow.  I also am currently employed, and he, in contrast, has been managing the home for the past 5-6 years. He got a masters in that time, too, but even that is somewhat in the past. And in the time that he’s been looking, he kinda caught pneumonia – so, things have been slower.


Once he’s settled, I think we will be even closer to ok. 


And so – there I am. Freaking out, but still optimistic. Could be worse, right?


I could have to move … And I do not.

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Job Search Diaries, III

January 26, 2012

The third installment in my chronicling of looking for a new job.  Here is the first, and the second.

Two interviews in one day is hard.  I wasn’t wrong that a 4 p.m. interview would be very, very hard.

I also had a decent amount of work to do today, for my current job.

Tough day.

Anyway, as predicted, the 11:30 interview was meh.  I met with a partner from another big firm, who referred to the environment as “a pressure cooker” on multiple occasions.  Frying pan —-> frier, not my idea of an intelligent move.  I liked her, and the work itself doesn’t sound horrible, really (nice qualifier), but – well – meh.

Then at 4, polar opposite.  Minimum billable hours: 1600.  Huh?  Is that even full time?  A 30 hour work week (assuming no vacation).

But it was also in the ‘burbs, and requires a daily drive, and is super-tiny, and doesn’t really have a copy machine. Most importantly – it doesn’t seem to have opportunities for growth/promotion.  I don’t know – I can live without a copy machine, but the vibe didn’t feel right to me.  I know a few people who have interviewed there in the past and in this current round, and they “really liked it.”  I wonder if we were in the same place?

So now we have the Trial Firm, The Pressure Cooker, and The Burb-Firm.

What’s next is an informational interview with a very well-respected medium sized firm, and then an initial partner interview with another smaller firm.

But then, the huge News Flash:

I got an offer today!!! 

From the trial firm.

I am a happy camper about this.

First of all, I am excited about this firm.  I keep soliciting opinions from others, to make sure my  impressions aren’t off the wall,  and they all are coming back positive.

Second of all – I’m not gonna be unemployed!!  Even though friends and even my career-dude have been pretty consistent with “there’s no shame in applying for unemployment . . . ” I didn’t want to do that.  My rent is $2500. Unemployment is $653/week in Mass.  Okay – I can cover the rent with that (I didn’t think I could – but just now googled it for the first time) – but I can’t buy FOOD!!!  (Okay, so David just pointed out that I could get food stamps, maybe — HOORAY!) BUT — there is no aid that covers car payments, or student loans (well, except for deferments). But WE’D STILL BE SCREWED!!

So a job offer is very welcome.

The fact that this one comes with a major (i.e. 50%) pay cut, well, doesn’t detract.

I’ve been working at one of these crazy-paying law firms for 5 years.  I’ve made a lot of money, but I haven’t done enough with it. We have some savings, but we should have more.  If I continued with this salary, would I have more savings?  Maybe not.  Probably not.  Despite the stupidity of that answer.

I’ve always known that the big (ridiculous) salary wasn’t forever. Not-forever is now.   That’s fine.  We can do this.  My resulting salary is a good one. It goes up even more every year.  There are bonuses, decent benefits.

Things will be fine.

[College?  What is this word, college?  i do not understand.  Is this a word from my language?  Please.  Leave me alone. I need a fucking job.]