X chromosone for sale

I had lunch today with my friend, Karen, who's a fourth year associate at a larger firm in town. She also happens to be 7 months pregnant, but looks as if she was due yesterday. I was amazed by some of the stories that she told me about the reactions of other attorneys to her pregnancy. The one that I found to be the most memorable was her description of a conversation that occurred as she was walking out of a judge's chambers.

A few weeks ago, she was covering a pre-trial conference for one of the partners in an outlying county. The conference had occurred in the judges's chambers with two other attorneys (both men) and the judge (also of the masculine persuasion), none of whom she'd met before. After the conference she, the two attorneys and the judge were walking out of the judge's chambers when the following conversation ensued (right in front of the other attorneys):
Judge: So, Ms. X, you're pregnant.

Karen: Um, yes.

Judge: When are you due?

Karen: March 11.

Judge: So, you're taking maternity leave?

Karen: Yep.

Judge: When are you coming back?

Karen: Um...mid-June.

Judge: So, you're taking three months leave, are you? Now that's got to be inconvenient for your firm.

Karen: (long pause, then sweet smile) Oh, they won't even miss me, judge. I don't do that much around there anyway.
Makes me want trade in one of my "x" chromosones.


What does your secretary do for you?

Happy Feminist's comment regarding my prior post about my talk with my secretary got me thinking. HF mentioned that her secretary prints out and files her e-mails. Not in a million years would this ever happen with my secretary. I'd rather have she-who-is-inept focus on the big stuff and try to get it right, rather than have a lot of little stuff distracting her. I think it must be a function of her ineptitude.

All that I require of SWII is that she 1) get my mail 2) file mail and other assorted documents, although I'll file some of that myself if I happen to have the file on my desk, just to avoid mis-filing, which is a regular occurrence 3) open and close files 4) type letters and memos that I dictate and 5) organize my files by creating typed folder labels for various sub-files within the main file (she does this very unwillingly--she would prefer that I create the sub-file myself by writing the name of the sub-file on the tab, or, alternatviely, that she be allowed to write, rather than type, the name of the sub-file).

She does not print and file e-mails, take phone calls, schedule appointments, pull files, or willingly and of her own volition organize files or open files with standard sub-files (I have to request them each and every time or she doesn't do it). That's all that I can think of offhand.

In any event, Happy Feminist's comment made me wonder what other people's secretaries do for them on a regular basis. I'd really like to hear from those of you that are associates in law firms on to this issue. It will be interesting, albeit depressing, to learn what I'm missing out on.

So, please, please, let me know: What does your secretary do for you?


A little ditty about jack and...

I've decided to talk to my secretary tomorrow afternoon. Friday afternoons are always a good time to have "talks." People are happy that the week's over and if the "talk" doesn't go quite as planned, you've got the weekend as a buffer. I envision a building bridges, what can we do to work better together sort of "talk". I'll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, here's a little ditty about Jack and...Ms. Olsen.

A close friend of mine from the DA's Office, Jack, who's now in private practice was on trial today. It was his first criminal trial as a defense attorney. I happened to be in the court house, so I stopped in to see how it was going and caught the tail end of it.

I'd heard a lot about the prosecutor on his case, both from former colleagues at the DA's office and from defense counsel, although I'd never met her. It turns out, she was a piece of work.

There are two types of prosecutors: those with perspective and an eye toward building bridges that could lead to a career outside of the DA's office down the road, and hardliners with tunnel vision who only see themselves as career prosecutors and take themselves way too seriously. She was the latter and that became painfully obvious during Jack's closing argument, when the following exchange occurred:
“Members of the jury. You’ve now heard all the evidence. And, you'll soon be hearing Ms. Olsen's summation. But, realize that it will be her interpretation of the evidence. And, quite frankly, I could see how some of you might find her to be quite convincing. She’s a very fine attorney—”

Ms. Olson stood up quickly. “Objection, your honor!”

“Overruled.” Said the judge dryly. “You may continue, Mr. Bernstein.”

Jack grinned and spread his arms magnanimously, “Well, whether she likes it or not, she’s a good attorney.” Some of the jurors snickered.

Jack smiled impishly, absently ran a hand through his dark hair as he collected his thoughts and then continued, "Ms. Olsen would like you to believe that my client is guilty of petit larceny..."
Rule #1: Never object during a closing absent extreme circumstances. Rule #2: Think before you object, even if the objection is technically correct. She made an ass out of herself, and alienated the jury in the process. And, guess what? She lost. Here's to hoping that I do better tomorrow afternoon with she-who-is-inept.


All hail queen opinionistas, melissa lafsky

UPDATE: Now there's a poll re: O's outing. I seem to be in the majority according to the poll results.

Just an aside to acknowledge the unmasking of Opinionista, aka Melissa Lafsky.

Her identity was revealed yesterday at Gawker. The official unveiling, professional photos and all, can be found in this article from the Observer.

Her bio from the cache of her old law firm's web site can be found here.

Her first few posts on her "new" blog can be found here.

And, if you'd like some dirt on the Queen, you can find it here.

Needless to say, it will be interesting to see what she'll blog about now that she's no longer an associate in a firm. Good thing you've got my blog to fall back on when you need that associate-getting-shit-on fix, isn't it?


I suppose that's one way to get in

Fiance never ceases to amaze me. I love him dearly, but he's such a...guy.

Last week, while I was at work, he arrived home from his job to find that the front door wouldn't open. We recently moved into this house, which was built around the turn of the century, and the front door is very old and has a handle on it with a latch, as opposed to a door knob. We learned only after this incident that the latch can become inoperable if a button on the inside of the door near the dead bolt is pushed in, thus making it impossible to open the door from the outside, even if the deadbolt has been unlocked.

Fiance was unable to get into the house, since the only other door is located in our one-car garage, and I have the only door opener to the garage in my car.

So, he was effectively locked out of the house. What do you suppose he did? Did he 1) use either his cell phone or a neighbor's phone to call me at work 2) kill some time at the mall until I got home or 3) break a basement window and crawl through it?

If your answer was either 1 or 2, then you obviously don't know my fiance. He didn't have his cell phone with him and apparently couldn't be bothered to ask the neighbors if he could use their phone. And, I guess he just wasn't in the mood to go shopping either. So, being the self-reliant and practical man that he is, he broke.into.our.house.

Can someone please explain this to me? Was this just a strange variation of the more typical male behavior of refusing to ask for directions under any circumstances in order to appear wholly self-reliant? Or is he a peculiar speciman of a man in need of serious therapy? I'm on the fence...


Good point

Mentor Partner is my favorite partner. He's thoughtful, intelligent, an excellent attorney, and, obviously, my mentor. We practice law in a similar fashion, which is one of the reasons that he's my mentor. We're both very thorough and careful practitioners. And, we also share fairly liberal views on both social and political issues. I've learned a lot from him about the practice of law and life in general. Which brings me to my point...

The other day I was in his office, and expressed my annoyance with a pro-life protestor who was standing near the back entrance to the courthouse holding a sign with a graphic photograph of an aborted fetus on it. The man seemed to be particularly gleeful when young professional women such as myself passed by him and went out of his way to wave the sign in our faces. He seemed to feel that we were in particular need of this gruesome reminder since, presumably, all women who chose a career were unmarried harlots and viewed abortion as some sort of recreational pursuit.

After I finished my tirade, Mentor Partner peered at me for a moment over his reading glasses, as he is apt to do. He informed me that he could understand my consternation, since he was pro-choice as well, but that he always tried to see things from the perspective of his adversary in any situation. And, he then asked me the following question: if I truly felt that abortion constituted government-sanctioned murder, wouldn't I do everything in my power to stop it? And, was holding a gory sign that depicts the murder such an objectionable means to accomplish my goal?

Mentor Partner is so smart. For the first time, I was able to understand where the annoying-sign-holding-guy was coming from. I still don't agree with him, but he doesn't annoy me as much as he did.

I plan to apply this lesson in the future whenever I encounter assholes on the other side of a case--or down the hall in the corner office.


I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date

Perhaps I've given you the impression that I don't enjoy working at my firm; I do. And, for the most part, it's a pretty good place to work, all things considered. Working in a mid-sized firm in a mid-sized city is bearable and devoid of a lot of the negative aspects that make Big Law in a big city so unappealing to me and hoards of other young attorneys.

But, (and there's always a "but", isn't there?) partners are partners, and lawyers are lawyers, no matter where you go. And it's those unavoidable truisms that make my job so frustrating. The partner's time is always more valuable than my own, both literally and figuratively. And they're always in a rush. They can't slow down for anything, and therefore, neither can I.

Consider the following, which occurred yesterday:

I knocked on the door and then stuck my head into Generic Partner's office.

"You wanted me to stop by?"

He glanced up at me. "C'mon in Moi."

I sat down in one of the chairs in front of his desk and waited expectantly, pen poised over my notepad.

“I've got a quick research assignment for you for the Schneider file.” He grabbed the file just as Random Partner stuck his head into his office.

“Generic--we’re going downstairs for drinks. You coming?” He didn't even look my way. I rolled my eyes imperceptibly. Sometimes it amazed me the way partners acted as if I weren't in the room; it was as if I were invisible.

“Yeah. I’ll be right down,” replied Generic Partner.

Generic Partner looked back at me. “You know what? Why don’t you walk me to the elevator and I’ll tell you about the research as we walk.”

I suppressed my exasperation and wondered how the hell he expected me to remember the specific issues or even the file number if I couldn’t write it down.

“Sure thing." I replied with all the pep that I could muster. I scurried after him down the hallway toward the elevator, like an obedient puppy, listening carefully, nodding my head dutifully.

He stepped into the elevator. "Great, Moi. Can you get it to me by the end of the week? Just a short memo on your findings?"

"Um, yep. Sure. End of the week," I replied. As the doors shut, I leaned against the wall and sighed. Then I jotted down all that I could remember about the assignment. Next stop: his secretary's desk to get the file number. And then back to my office until the next time-pressed, or just plain old thirsty, partner beckoned.