Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

I Went To Law School For This?

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Total Black: $447.83
Total Red: $228,960.74

Another day at the contract attorney position.  I spent the entire day working on an assignment from a paralegal.

As of today, it’s “And then there was me.”  As I mentioned about two weeks ago in Survivor Guilt, we lost one contract attorney a few weeks back.  He didn’t leave on his own.  Today we lost the other: she left for a “vacation” (read: “staycation” since she’s not going anywhere.)  Frankly I think she played a get-out-of-temp-job-free card by informing the temp agency weeks ago that she had a vacation planned with timing curiously set for a week or so after the temporary attorney staffing agency’s guesstimated end-date for this project.  If the money and the hours were good, she could “cancel” her scheduled vacation and stay on.  And if not, instant freedom, no questions asked, and ability to switch to a new project.  Of course, she now can’t start a new project with that same temp agency, at least until our project concludes.  Curious.  Guess I’m slowly learning the way of the temp world.

One of those “ways” is that temp attorneys are beneath paralegals and even legal secretaries when it comes to temping at a firm.  I had heard other temps cite this temping “law” but I never truly believed it.  That is, until today.  See, I spent approximately seven hours today in the firm’s conference room assembling binders.  Frankly, that’s mostly all we’ve done on this project since week two.   But it was odd today to receive an assignment from a paralegal to help assemble and collate a set of binders.  Documents needed to be removed; others inserted.  Of course, we needed to insert tabs to keep sets of documents separate and then insert colored sheets of paper to keep individual documents distinct from each other.  This work is about as far from the type of work mentioned in View From the Top as possible.  And I had the same view again today.  It’s mostly trial prep work.  It has to get done.  All lawyers do some grunt work: proofreading, stapling documents, assembling exhibits, preparing transcripts or assembling documents for a deal closing.  Lawyers work with paper.  I understand that.  So I’m not upset or resentful about the work I’m doing now or today’s task.  I  just had one of those “laugh of the absurd” moments when I stopped and realized that I spent all this money on law school and I’m just punching holes in paper and putting documents into binders.  And, to top it off, I’m now being given tasks by paralegals when I used to be the one giving tasks to paralegals.

To quote Maude out of context:  “Ah life . . . . “

It’s fine.  But it was humbling, though not in a bad way.  I actually take pride in moments like this, moments where you can show how low you’ve come.  It builds character and allows you to sympathize with others.  What contract attorney could I relate to had I only been an associate?  What garbage collector could I relate to had I not hauled trash myself on a steamboat cruise line some ten years ago?  And as the temps say, it’s hours; I’m working and earning money, right?

And speaking of earning money, the landlord’s management agency took my cashier’s check for $2,000, plus another for $200 covering late fees for January and February and a returned check fee.  Fee, fi, fo, fum . . .   Looks like I might be able to dodge a court proceeding.  It just means allocating what little I get each week to the landlord and not the debts.  Thus, total red will be stuck in place for the next few days.  In other news though, the attorney I did research for said he’d be sending me a check for $200 this weekend.  And I’ve still got the theatre gig.  Off to usher there now!  Naked Boys await me.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

February 19, 2010 at 21:15

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