Exact Approximations

Friday, October 28, 2005

He Doesn't Know When to Fold'Em

One of my roomates is also a close family member. Someone I love very deeply and want very badly to help. I also want to shoot off his foot. His good one.

Every Thursday, he gives me money for his portion of rent, food and to pay me back for various supplies I fronted him for his job. We have been behind on bills and the weekend cash infusion was very, very important this week. It contained, among other things, the money for Daughter and Nephew's (who lives with us) school pictures, Halloween candy, co-pay for my blood labwork, groceries and the gas money needed for work and to make the 400 mile round-trip to visit Boyfriend's Son, (a.k.a.: Soon-to-Be-Step-Son, YaY!)...

Roomate comes home last night and says he needs to talk outside. I follow. He proceeds to inform me that he lost all of his money on ONE blackjack hand at the Reservation. He had 19 and the dealer had 14. He put down his entire $400. Dealer pulled a 6.

I am going to scream, kill someone or shoot a foot. I really, really believe that would be super-relieving.

In other news, still no talk with The Boss. I'm frustrated, but that frustration took a slight bump. Maybe more on that later this afternoon after I pick up my pain meds.

Why am I poorer now than before law school? More importantly, how could that guy pull a 6!?!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Bated Breath

That's the correct spelling. Naysayers see here.

I put a note on The Boss' desk, requesting time to talk. We shall see how it goes... In yesterday's fit of job dissatisfaction, I posted my resume on a legal jobs website. This morning, I awoke to three emails in my inbox, all from recruiters wanting to meet with me. This is likely standard practice, but it made me feel wanted.

On a funnier note, I posted an ad seeking part time or temporary work on a local jobs website a couple weeks ago. Probably I shouldn't be taking on more hours, but I am trying to raise the money for my bar exam fee. I got a reply yesterday that said "No need to send a resume, just tell me, in short, your name, experience, qualifications, etc." I googled the name and contact info, and found that this man heads up a company that gets investors to buy property, convert it to condos and then sell for profits. Easy enough.

Armed with this knowledge, I offered this response:

"In short, you want to hire me.

However, you probably don't realize that just yet , so here is a bit more: I am 26 years-old and my name is Lex. If you're looking for someone who can show property, meet with potential investors etc., I have a nice car, am well-spoken, have an education and understand the importance of ego-stroking. I'm also a rather attractive woman who I suspect potential investors would not mind spending time talking with, not that my vanity or inappropriate hiring criteria would ever come into play.

I have lots of legal experience, having been through law school and worked at a couple of firms. Most of that experience has been in the field of employment and medical malpractice law. But I could find the answer to almost any legal question in a short period of time. I can also handle annoying children and the drooling elderly, which may seem to be an overly random piece of information, but I assure you it comes in handy. I also have substantial experience organizing events: I worked in the Bay Area organizing food drives for Alameda County and have headed up numerous clubs and fundraising events while I was a career student."

He emailed me back 15 minutes later, asking my salary requirements and availability.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Dancing Queen

Hm. gay bear? I mean, I have a tendency to appreciate and want to sleep with beautiful women, but... Well, never mind. I guess I am Gay Bear. 10 bux says it's because I picked Abba as music of choice.

Gay Bear
Gay Bear

Which Dysfunctional Care Bear Are You?
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Fear and Loathing in the Office

Today is *this close* to being the final straw at work.

I woke up this morning and ran straight to the bathroom vomiting. My doctor has me on birth control pills... something about the hormones working to dissolve my ovarian cysts. I'm told that birth control pills work by making your body think it's pregnant. Correspondingly, I now suffer from morning sickness. Bunk.

Alas, I wasn't about to let a little hucking stop me. There was a mediation today for a case that I spent the last week devouring. Not our strongest case, but I was excited. Mediations are a great place to learn what opposing counsel thinks are the strengths and weaknesses of their defense. If the trial date is near enough for settlement to be a real possibility, you can get a feeling for how much risk the other party believes they will be exposed to in the event of trial. So I drug myself out of the bathroom, wiped my face off, threw on a power suit, applied lipstick and hurried to work.

Shortly after I got there, the clients arrived. I introduced myself, went through the standard pleasantries. All went well. I went to my office to read through my notes on the expert deposition testimony. When it comes time to head to the mediation, the office manager tells me The Boss wants me to stay behind. I have no idea why and was given no reason. I was left to make up my own. They ranged from my own idiocy and ill appearance to the possibility that the clients weren't comfortable having a strange girl there. The latter would make sense given the subject-matter of the litigation. Either way, no one felt the need to tell me.

I went directly back to my office and applied to 3 other firms. Out of anger, frustration.... I dunno. Thing is, I really like the people here. I like The Boss, I like his Bossy Office Manager, I like the Bitchy Paralegal. But I don't see where I fit in. I talked with the legal secretary about an idea Ann left in the comments yesterday, suggesting I present a well-thought out project that I could lead and develop. Legal Secretary thinks it's risky. The Boss likes things done "just so," and straying from that is, I'm told, frowned upon. I still haven't decided to toss the idea though....

So the dilemma is that we do work I can be proud of and my co-workers are good peeps. But it may well be career suicide to stick around at a job where I am getting so little responsibility and training. No one wants to be the attorney three years out of school who is looking to go lateral - only to find that you have just as much experience as the most recent batch of newbie grads.

All apologies for the lack of humor lately. Between my health and the job-satisfaction issue, I've been on the bitter train. I am making my way back to the Irreverence Bus, most likely the little yellow short one. I hope to get on soon....

Monday, October 24, 2005

A Case of the Mondays

I am feeling worthless at work. I don't feel incompetent or anything. Rather, I feel that The Boss is not really taking advantage of my presence. Bottom line - I could be doing more, taking on more responsibility. Instead, I feel like a member of an award-winning YesMen team whose purpose is to tell The Boss how great he is. Don't get me wrong, The Boss is great. He is a brilliant man who can make a really bad fact for the plaintiffs look like a defense admission of liability. But I sense that he not only likes to be the ringleader, but likes to do everything in the ring. The smallest of motions, the simplest of phone calls....

I don't mind this so much, because I am the same way. There are few things I would love more than the opportunity to take a case from the ground up - do the interviews, the depositions, find the experts, write the limines, appear at the trial status conferences. Everything. My problem is that I am starting to wonder why he hired me. I could produce much more than I do, but it seems like the majority of my workload is reading up on cases - flipping through depo after depo. Reading minute entry after minute entry. Reviewing correspondence file after correspondence file. My purpose is to be the guy on the side who can chime in with a quick "so and so said blah blah blah" and "It was Defendant X's expert who made that statement, not Defendant Y's." And the ever-abundant "Wow, great way to get defense counsel bench-slapped" "Nice line of questioning on their expert's LSD dissertation research."

How long should a person wait before either quitting or going to The Boss? I've been thinking of going to The Boss for a couple of weeks with my complaints, but then I got all sick and pilled out on pain meds. Maybe not the best time to initiate a "What the fuck is the problem?" talk with the guy who signs my paychecks. I am not convinced that such a confrontation would go over well. Finally, I can't really afford to get fired without something lined up. And, short of the neighboring firm who might well give me a job if I just walk through those doors.... I don't have fall-back job yet.

The thing is - I want to work here. The first successful case we had that I was around for left me with an incredible feeling of pride. I actually cried. A lot. I believe in the cases we take and that is quite a luxury I don't want to forget. At the same time, I don't want another two months to pass and continue to feel disposable. More importantly, I don't want another two months to pass and continue to feel that I am no more experienced and capable than I was when I began this job.


Friday, October 21, 2005

Useless (but mildly entertaining) Friday Tidbits

- It is unusually quiet in the office today. The Boss is out of town and everyone else is sort of zoning out, reading through depositions, make-believe backwards billing, getting tweaked out on coffee and bitching about The Boss. Standard Boss-is-Out-of-Town type stuff. The silence would be golden, save that I happen to have on pink underwear. Also not a problem, save that the pink underwear happen to have a bell on them. It never occurred to me that this might become an issue I would need to concern myself with. Then I realized I was jingling as I walked down the super-silent hallway.

- I officially hate people who write "My Kid is a Pee-Wee Football All-Star" type shit on the back of their SUV. You know, the ones that scribble their kid's little league numbers with a white window-marker... Today, I saw one that read: "#65. Go Timmy. Hit to Hurt." The SUV's ass was also sporting a Jesus-fish.

- I officially love the bitchy office paralegal. I'm not even sure he really likes me, but don't really care. He has a cubicle across the way from me and I hear him cracking sarcastic jokes all day long about everybody and everything. I wish I could hear what he's saying about me, but I'm usually out of earshot for those ones. I need to let him know stat that I can take it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

"Look Ma, I'm Hardcore!!"

Tom Delay's booking photo.
Harris County, JesusLand.

On Poverty, Big Law and my Make-Believe Work Ethic

It's Thursday and I am mentally back to work. I'm in pain, but that didn't stop me from perfecting a two-page memo that someone will spend two minutes reading only to cast aside and never consider again. Doesn't matter, I get paid the same no matter how closely things get read. I've been here physically all week, but it was a charade. I stepped out every hour for a good 15 minutes, leaving my desk light on and my glasses sitting on a pile of papers, thus creating the illusion of a dedicated ill employee. In reality, I have been surfing the net, reading blogs and wondering how I will make room for CECU should he lose his fancy house to Wilma.

Ok - Big Law bad guys across the hall. I am becoming more and more convinced that they want me to jump ship and come to their firm. Now, my vanity is beyond capable of convincing me of this absent any tangible proof - but I think I actually have tangible proof:

  1. Every time I run into one of their attorneys, they make a point to talk with me. Especially the old ones.
  2. Most of them know my name yet I have only introduced myself to two people from the fleet.
  3. Every one of these conversations contains a question along the lines of "How do you like it over there?" "They treating you well?" "You think you'll stick with 'em?"
  4. Even when they are within the safe-boundaries of their office, they wave at me through the windows, all smiles and cheery-like. They talk to me while I am in the bathroom. In the stall, I get asked about the weather, which I can't speak to, being in a bathroom stall and all.
  5. I have been informed by younger members in the firm that they are on a hiring binge. They recently upgraded to a huge office and are trying to fill it up with fledglings. Word is they are having a tough time getting quality naive-youth to bitch.

That's it. Part of me really, really wants to ask "How much would you pay me?" The other part doesn't even want to know, because then it will be all I can think about.... It's easy to justify doing work you are against when you see all the ways it can pull you out of a debt-hole.

This is even more pronounced because I learned yesterday that I have to pay $600 (again) to take the bar in February. I paid this once already back in the Spring, when I applied for the July bar. I was incredibly ill at the time of the exam and had to withdrawal. I was under the impression I would get a refund or a credit or anything. But, oh no, I have to pony up the cash again. This is a huge problem, because I can't afford this, nor will I anytime soon. I thought about asking The Boss but don't feel comfortable with that because I have been so sick and have missed a good 4 days of work. I considered selling Daughter, but now that my ovaries are shot and she may be my only offspring, I'm guessing I should keep her around. I tried to sell roommates too, but the only offer I got for them was from a medical research lab that is *this close* to a cancer vaccine. I figured the liability issues involved might be too risky.

If anyone has an idea, I'm open.... Until then, I need another pain pill.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Welp, I've been back at the doctor's office for the past two days. Cool, because I got two half days at work. Freaky, because I missed two half days at work. I'm hoping I don't get fired but too high to mind much.

Turns out I'm rockin' some ovarian cysts. A whole bunch of 'em. One exploded last week and the rest are just nestting. The doctor me on birth control pills, something about the pill's ability to dissolve cysts and prevent the creation of new ones. I dunno. All I know is I take pills for two months, then go back for more tests. At that time, they decide whether to remove one or both of my ovaries. I don't mind that so much, I could do without fertility. What worries me more is that I don't want to be one of those surgically-induced menopause chicks that grows hair on her chin. My legitmate health concerns, desire to live, etc. All that - trumped - by a desire to remain feminine and chest hair-free.

Doctors changed my medication to Lortab. This has me loopy. Well, has me maintaining my loopy. Been loopy since Saturday.

Things are looking up. I am hazing through work today and then have a date with my pillow. I should feel better in a day or two and be back to good time posting.

thanks for the patience and well-wishes


Monday, October 17, 2005


All apologies on the lack of posting - I spent Saturday in the emergency room, getting CatScammed, blood-work etc. Then I spent the rest of the weekend in a pain-pill haze. Apologies to CECU for my failure to carry on normal conversation last night...

I'm off to the doctor for more tests.

Fingers crossed

Friday, October 14, 2005

Where's the WestLaw Junkies?

Does anyone know whether WestLaw has a feature that allows you to determine if a case has been legislatively overruled?

I recently came across a case that I was very stoked to find. Upon KeyCite, things looked great. Upon reading some practice guides, I realized the case had been legistatively overruled. Thing is, there was no mention of this on KeyCite or Direct History.

Any ideas?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Conspiracy Theory Thursday

I randomly stumbled across this website, which is dedicated to convincing the e-world that G-Mail is creepy. If you have a Gmail account like I do (thanks again to Pettifogger), then you are probably familiar with Gmail's email deletion process. Basically, it hardly exists. The service encourages you to archive your messages, and it's privacy policy makes clear that Google reserves the right to retain copies of your mails... it almost reads as indefinitely. In fairness, I'm guessing all the email services do this. But, oh Google, I thought you were on my side.

The Google Privacy Policy also makes clear that your emails may be stored in another country, and I don't know what impact that has on the protection provided emails, but I'm guessing it sucks. Gmail also says that they may transfer all of this information in the event of a merger, sale etc.

So - here's my conspiracy theory:

G-Mail and those damned google geniuses are going to
1) Collect all emails from their users
2) Store them indefinitely
3) Hire a bunch of cronies at their new Arizona office to diligently read and archive said emails.
4) Wait out the protection period
5) Introduce G-Person Beta, the most comprehensive people search device available to date.

When this happens, I will be el-fucko'd. Or at least super-embarrassed....

Little Difficulties in the Big Easy?

CNN story today about doctors accused of euthanizing patients at New Orleans' Memorial Medical Center in the aftermath of Katrina.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Pretending to be Dr. Ruth - But Hotter.

Ann may remember this post, where I informed readers that oral sex with pop rocks is largely over-rated.

As an update, oral sex with mouthwash is beyond over-rated. Apparently, it's painful.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Visting with Dr. Get U. Married, M.D.

Today is a half day. I also had yesterday off, officially because it was a holiday. The real reason is because we were supposed to start trial this week, but that changed. Whatever.

Either way - a great big fingers-wiggling-in-my-ears gesture and the "nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah" noise shout-out to Arbusto, since he jealously held my vacation against me. He probably had class and cases and all kinds of lame stuff like that to take care of. I have little pity for a 2L who continues to insist upon class attendance ;)

Anyhow, today was a half day because I went with Boyfriend to the doctor. The great thing about working in a Med Mal office is the common stance on dealing with medical professionals. Like the "liberal-en-masse" mentality I knew in Berkeley, I now know the communal office distrust of the medical profession. Not that all doctors are awful, not even most of them. It's just too important a life-topic to take risks with. And so we all attend medical appointments with our loved ones and ask questions that have a 3% likliehood of being applicable.

Things went well at the doctor. Boyfriend has a tummy disorder, secondary only to his "Likes Crazy Girls" disorder. The doctor bombed him with anti-body-otics about a month ago, and we went in today to make sure it did the job. Things are looking good so far. So - good. And that makes for a happy, happy Lex. Apparently, the doctor's breath was FunkTastic, which made for a not so happy Lex's Boyfriend.

Boyfriend and I have known eachother for almost 13 years. I met him when I was 14 and have been in love with him on some level, whether specifically or abstractly, ever since. We were troubled kids and turned to eachother in adolescent madness. I became pregnant when I was 16. My family kicked him out and we went our separate ways. I ended the relationship. Initially, he did not contact me. Once he did, I was angry and having none of it. Two years ago, he tried again. We got past the past and he has been in regular contact with Daughter ever since. The two of us began dating in June of this year. That's a summary of what could fill pages and pages and pages. The point is that the relationship is way complicated.

The long-winded point was the comment made by Boyfriend's Doctor. At the end of the appointment, she turns to us and asks:

Doctor: "Have you two set a wedding date yet?"

Me: (Internal Dialogue) I'd marry him tomorrow, but I'm already married. My divorce isn't final. It's all legalities anyhow, although then Boyfriend would have better insurance. And the consequent better doctor.

Me: (Actual Answer) "Uh, no. Sometime in the later. A wise aunt once told me that the way to go is to 1) have the kid and then 2) buy the house. If all that works out and you're not gay, then, 3) consider marriage."

Doctor: "Well. Don't you think it's about time?"

Me: Baffled into tardation. "Uh. No."

I don't know what to make of it. I thought I heard the eerie sound of a Bible-Beating Drum, and wondered if I was being pressured to change our bastard-producing relationship into a blessed righteous union. Rest assured lady, we will be keeping our little relationship dirty, pray as you might. I thought it was out of line. Boyfriend thought it was a harmless passing comment.

What do you think? Was that rude of her? Am I way too sensitive?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Since you asked me nicely....

Font size upgrade.

Big thanks to Luke - I wanted to link, but it took me to the Blogger homepage...

If you ask me nicely....

As I was leaving work on Friday, I noticed an older attorney from Big Law, the firm across the hall, getting on the elevator with me. He was friendly - but we had an odd exchange:
Him: "Do you work for me?"
Me: "Uh, where? There at Big Law? No, I work across the way, at Good Guys.
Him: "Oh." Laughing. "I can never tell who all is working at our office."
Me: Laughing harder but seriously wondering what they would pay. "You should get on that. It's probably a good idea to know the people who work for you. Happy employees and productivity and what not."
Him: "Yeah." Looking slightly embarassed. "You're right. Have a good day."
Me: "You too."

Cheese and rice. I wonder if he even knows one of his secretary's got arrested at work recently.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Musically Inclined Decorating

When we moved into our big four bedroom house, we came up with a great idea for decorating the front room. We've dubbed it the Music Room, and it's the room where we keep our guitars, banjo, violin, drums and most importantly, the piano. Next to the Cabbage Patch Doll I've had since I was three, that piano is my most prized possession. It has likely saved me a ton of money on prozac and therapy.

Anyhow, the room has bookshelves and musical instruments everywhere, and a foosball table in the middle. All that is left to do is get bean bags. And album covers. We have this great idea to put album covers on one whole wall, it's a great alternative to wallpaper or expensive art, and it has endless possibilities for personalization. I was thinking about what albums I would want if I could have any album I wanted, regrdless of whether there was ever a record version and its corresponding 12" x 12" cover art. My list so far is:

Cat Stevens ~ Harold and Maude Soundtrack (if it exists, I had to piece mine together)
Counting Crows ~ August and Everything After
Jack Johnson ~ In Between Dreams

Pink Floyd ~ Dark Side of the Moon
Miles Davis ~ Kind of Blue
Alice in Chains ~ Unplugged
Moby ~ Play

Massive Attack ~ Mezzanine
Radiohead ~ O.K. Computer
Pepper ~ Kona Town

They Might Be Giants ~ Flood
Wyclef ~ The Carnival
The Cure ~ Show
The Beatles ~ Rubber Soul
Carole King ~ Tapestry

Tori Amos ~ Boys for Pele
The Shins ~ Oh, Inverted World

There's the quickies -- What am I missing?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I Opened with a Protonix Demand. The Fuckers Countered with Maalox.

I just got back from a mediation. I have been to two mediations in the past: once with my 2L summer firm with clients in a high-damages breach of employment contract case. The second time was as a mediator's "assistant," which was my boss' fancy way of saying "student who wants to see how this whole mediation thing works." Sitting with the mediator was possibly the most enlightening experience of my entire law school career.

Today, however, was the first time I went to a mediation for a case I had more than a passing familiarity with. I have worked on this case since I started here and it's the case I feel closest to. I can't get into details because there are super-strict confidentiality issues.

What I will say is this. The mediation was held at the office of opposing counsel, who provided a very lovely lunch. That lovely lunch made me sick and I've had to run to the bathroom every 15 minutes ever since.

Admittedly one of the best negotiation tactics I've ever seen.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Secret Life of Paralegals

Today I was feeling especially sensitive to conversations among paralegals. Well, paralegals and legal secretaries; they are the same to me. Both groups, if they have decent experience, are key to a successful law firm. Never piss of a judge's law clerk and never piss off your paralegal/legal secretary. You're also never supposed to piss off your mailman, but that's off topic.

My experience is that the seasoned paralegals/legal secretaries are really just attorneys without the required license and corresponding attitude. They know all the local rules, how to format documents in accordance with those rules, the personality and best way to communicate with every important person working at the courthouse, the status of a case and anything related to procedural requirements. And they know all of this better than you.

So I was listening to paralegals today. In the hallway, elevators, out at lunch. Wherever. I work in a pretty big building complex, so they're everywhere. I find that the standard secretarial self-censorship that occurs when the attorneys are around doesn't apply to me. Maybe because I am young, or a woman or because I engage in conversation with non-attorneys.... Whatever the reason, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to some paralegal conversations today. Here are five things I overheard and found amusing:
  • "I guess we could just share glasses the way old people share teeth." (One paralegal to another, discussing the speaker's need to visit the optometrist. Overheard in the hallway. 3:18pm).
  • "Psht." (Paralegal's reaction to the whistling of Singing in the Rain by an attorney. Overheard in the hallway, just after whistling attorney stepped onto elevator. 10:53am)
  • "I mean, I was late today too. But I made it in before four o'clock." (Paralegal discussing partner lawyer she works under. The response was a seemingly choreographed routine of 5 nodding secretary heads, clearly indicative of sympathetic understanding and agreement. Overheard in elevator. 4:15pm)
  • "Has she been drinking bong water again?" (Unclear what this was about, I just crossed my fingers and hoped they weren't talking about me. Overheard in my office. 2:30p.m.)
  • "It's not my fault he waited until the night before the filing deadline, it's been on the calendar for over two months. Not to mention the system generates reminders at two weeks, one week, five days, three days and the day before it is due. Always looking for someone else to point the finger at. That's why his wife left him." (Old paralegal, speaking frightening truths to a younger co-worker. Overheard in cafeteria. 1:48pm)

Monday, October 03, 2005

Made Up Words & Other Techniques of Superb Legal Writing.

During my 2L summer, I took a job at a firm that would never, ever make me an offer. They made that clear at interviews. I had other options, and could have done the whole "work 2L summer, get an offer, come back after the bar" thing, but the no-offer firm made me an offer I couldn't refuse. They did exactly what I wanted to do and they did it well. They had just taken home a huge employment law victory in a multi-million dollar class action. The partners write practice guides, serve as in-demand mediators and generally kick some mad ass. So I took that job and decided to figure out what to do later... well... later. (That may sound like common sense, but in law school, all career-related choices are supposed to be planned 18 months in advance. I don't know why. I think it is dee-dee-dee.)

Anyhow, that summer, I read a mediation brief written by an attorney in the office I called "Yale Sugardaddy." Long story. The SugarDaddy has nothing to do with SugarDaddies and is actually a last name slam. He is a nice guy. I'd hate to spread the wrong idea.

Anyhow, his brief contained the term "groundless makeweight." I had never heard the word 'makeweight' before, nor did I care. I was sold. Those two words so perfectly sum it up when you are trying to point out that opposing counsel is grasping at anything to make their argument look stronger. I think so at least.

Since then, I have used the term no less than three times at various jobs, volunteer work, class projects. I usually receive a red-line through it with the chicken-scratched "argumentative." I hate it when I see that comment on a legal document. Of course it is argumentative. Tools.

Anyhow, I used it in a motion recently and The Boss liked it.

Finally. Someone sees the light.

This post is really for the law students out there. Use the term when finals come. It will help.