Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

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

One Week In

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Total Black: $3,069.28
Total Red: $241,011.55

Roughly one week on the job.  And the island.  And I’d say I’m settling in fairly well.  At work, the criminal trial, mentioned in Court, began in earnest today.  I don’t think I’ve ever participated in a trial—in any capacity, including as an observer—from the very beginning to the very end.  The only drawback to working for the court is that all the other tasks we’ve got before us gets shelved for however long we’re away from our desks.  In an ideal world, I’d go back to my desk after court each day and put in another few hours working on cases.  But that didn’t happen yesterday or today.  At least today I had an excuse. 

All-you-can-eat Mexican buffet and $2 margaritas!  I went out after work with two law clerks from neighboring chambers.  That was fun.  One clerk and I got to the locale early and we sat and watched the sun set over the Caribbean Sea while sipping our margaritas.  We hung out there for a while, then headed over to another bar, once the third clerk and her boyfriend joined us.  But by 10pm, we were all yawning.   I’ve just been really tired since I got here.

I wake around 6:30am or so each day.  Something absolutely unlike me a week or so ago.  Office Manager could attest, were we to ask her, to the number of times I made it in to work for 9am or earlier—not counting, of course, days I was still there from the previous night.  Back in New York I just couldn’t wake up in the morning.  For nearly four years, I’d venture to say, I struggled daily to get out of bed each morning: multiple alarm clocks, battling the snooze button, then the hurried rush in the morning to get out the door.  To the extent “face time” mattered at the firm—and to early risers at that—then I surely failed in their eyes.  I was caught in an endless feedback loop: late start, stay late, late returning home, and late bedtime.  For nearly four years.

Clearly I’m exaggerating a bit.  For emphasis.  Certainly I woke early for doctor’s appointments and other important meetings, like the morning trainings scheduled at the firm or the first day of a new contract attorney assignment or days when I had to be in court for 8am to staff the criminal part back when I worked pro bono at the local DA’s office: something I would have had to do at least once a week.  But in general, New York feels like one sleepy stretch of time with a few exceptions that percolate up sporadically.

Here in contrast, I’m woken by the sun each morning.  It rises directly in line with my back door—and splashes my face each morning like cold water.  So now I’m noticing the opposite occur.  I’m awake early but can barely keep my eyes open by roughly 9pm.  And with the sun setting around 7pm each night, it feels like its damn near midnight when it’s only 9pm.  Daughter mentioned last week that it’s really easy to get dehydrated here.  I suspect that could be an element.

Or maybe I’m still processing the move.  Still experiencing the bends, so to speak, from my rush to the surface of this new life, up from the depths of Manhattan despairs.  I’ll have to report back in another week to gauge the difference.

Still no word back from the Legal Aid Society contact regarding me reaching out about the pro bono client’s case, mentioned back in Leaving New York.  That’s the primary remaining stressor right now.  Well, that and getting a car.  Seems that half the cases before me involve motions to compel attorneys to take some action or motions for sanctions for their failures.  I never heard back from the client when I emailed her, letting her know I’d have to bow out.  Every imaginable scenario is playing through my mind.  But I’m sure it’s just my Overactive Imagination again.  I suppose I get that from my mother.  She poked fun at herself with me on the phone the other night, sharing stories she told her friends about her silly worries.  She worried that she’d get too nervous and get diarrhea.  Then when that didn’t occur, she worried that she’d get blocked up and wouldn’t go.  She worried about having to carry one of the cats and hurt her back, but then I was able to carry both.  My father, she told me, used to admonish her for all her silly worrying.  He was much more laid-back.  As their child, I’m stuck right between them, vacillating between bouts of worry and bouts of carefreedom.

Finances have taken a major hit from this move.  At least temporarily.  Total red is up quite high.  I’ve already borrowed $5,500 from my mother and sister to pay for moving costs getting out of New York and set-up here.  That’s already calculated in though.  And if we subtracted it back out, I’m down to $235K.  But all that will be laid out in my upcoming day of accounting.  Unfortunately, I’ll need to borrow more still from my mother for the IRS payment, mentioned back in The Tax Man Cometh.  Plus I need a car.  A jeep in fact.  Where I live is quite high up, and over bumpy roads.  Well, I suppose it doesn’t have to be a jeep per se, but something with decent clearance from the road surface.

But soon enough I’ll be job hunting once more.  One way to stay awake at night here is to be out working.  Hard to nod off at the bar when y0u’re tending it.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

June 8, 2010 at 23:26

One Response

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  1. So, after the first week, what kind of feel do you get for how much time this job is going to consume (forget about the blog…I mean as far as how much time to enjoy the island life)?

    I realize that “court hours” would be kind of standard like 8-4 or something like that, but do you expect you’ll have to put in much extra time after 4 / over the weekends?

    Also, you’re salaried, correct? Or are you still hourly?



    June 9, 2010 at 09:45

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