Lawyering is hard.

I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately by work, feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing. I think this would be easier if I had fellow first year associates to commiserate with, but I know very few people who went to work at firms. And I’m the only first year associate at my firm. So, I’m on my own. Rationally, it makes sense that I would feel like a fish out of water. I mean, law school does not prepare you to practice law at all. So, each assignment I get is completely new to me. When an attorney says, “draft this motion,” I have to spend a great deal of time figuring out what exactly that type of motion needs to say before I can begin writing it. I feel slow. I’ve always been a quick learner, but this is a whole new ballgame for me. It’s like I’m learning an entirely new language.

On Friday, though, I spoke to a partner who gave me some great advice. She said, “You can’t make a mistake right now.” She meant that it is impossible for me to make a mistake in my practice right now because nothing will be submitted to the court without being supervised by someone else. She said that everyone knows that I’m new, and it’s going to take years before I get an assignment and I can say, “Yep. I’ve done one of those before.” So, that was a relief to hear. I’ve been putting so much pressure on myself to be absolutely perfect, that it’s been wearing me out. I felt a lot better after talking to her. I feel like there should be more support for first year associates, because I can’t imagine I’m alone in feeling this way. So, I’m slowly beginning to accept that I’m learning, and I just have to hope that the partners with which I work understand that.

On the plus side, I’m definitely not bored. I’ve gotten a number of substantive assignments, which are really interesting once I figure out what the heck I’m doing. I’m working on complaints, motions for summary judgment, motion for leave to file other motions, motions for extensions of time to file other motions, etc. Also, I’ve been given an entire case to myself. Scary! But, like I said, I’m definitely not bored.

In other news, Isaac is still in Asia, living it up. I can’t wait to hear about his trip. In the emails he’s sent and the one chat we have had, he seems like he’s having an amazing time.

On Friday, I had happy hour with some friends from law school. It was so wonderful. I need more happy hours in my life.

Tomorrow, I’m headed on a hike, in the mountains (which are covered in snow), to some hot springs, where I will go swimming. Is this plan completely crazy or totally awesome? Only time will tell!

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Life’s Ups and Downs

Sometimes, life feels like a roller-coaster.  Peaks and valleys, peaks and valleys.  Generally, though, I wouldn’t trade where I am for anything.  Though, a nice trip to Europe would be nice right about now…

Last week, I worked and worked and worked.  On Thursday night, I had some friends over (who, of course didn’t have to go to work on Friday).  It was a blast, until Friday morning, when I had to go to work and no one else did.  Ah well.  It was still worth it.  We watched ANTM, the drinking version, and a movie.

On Friday night, I took Isaac to the airport for his two week vacation to Southeast Asia.  I’m incredibly jealous.  He’s having a blast gallivanting between Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam while I’m stuck here, working.  Darn him!  He flew to Taiwan first, which made me miss Taipei so much.  I spent a couple of months there back in 2005 and 2006, when my mom was working over there.  Such a wonderful place.  I need to figure out how to include more travel in my life.  Yes, I was in Europe from January to April, but that was 8 months ago!  Time for another trip out of the country…

On Saturday, I had brunch with some friends, which was delightful.  I do love brunch.  What’s not to love about an excuse to drink mimosas?  On Sunday, thanks to LivingSocial Adventures, I took my mom to a sushi making/sake drinking class.  It was fantastic.  For just $55 per person, we got four glasses of sake and made five rounds of sushi.  So much fun!

The menus.

First round of sushi in progress - an inside out roll.

Spicy Tuna roll.

Yum!

I'm now a pro - especially at the eating part.

I’ve made sushi a number of times before, but I learned how to make some different types on Sunday.  I can’t wait to try out the new techniques at home.

That night, Carrie and I went to trivia night at a local bar.  We ended up being joined by the bartender, the trivia host’s girlfriend, a friend of the girlfriend, and one of Carrie’s friends.  We had a big team, which helped us secure the win!  Wahoo!  It was certainly a much better showing than the last time we played trivia there…

Yesterday, I got my bar number!  So, I guess that means I’m now completely, officially a lawyer.  Crazy.  I keep thinking someone is going to call me and say, “Whoops!  Just kidding.  You didn’t actually qualify to be a lawyer.”  Or they are going to call me and tell me that I failed the bar or something.  But, once the number is posted, it must be true.  Right?  They can’t take it back now!

Overall, things are going well.  But of course, there are the lows – missing Isaac (I’ve never been the girl who misses people.  What has he done to me?!), being sick with a massive cold, being completely swamped at work, and going a bit stir crazy from lack of travel.  I think I’ll try to plan a weekend trip for sometime soon… that should help.

Also, ski season is starting soon.  That’s bound to make me feel better.  Let it snow!  Let it snow!

Fall in Seattle.

Easing me in?

I’ve now worked at the firm for 4 weeks. During that time, I’ve worked on a number of smaller projects, in many different issues, including school law, land use, bankruptcy, general litigation, etc. It’s been pretty peaceful, with me having to stay no later than 7pm on a week day and having very little to do over the weekends (like billing .3 hours one weekend, .7 another). This weekend, though… that’s another story.

I’ve been working with a couple of partners on a legal memo for a client. I submitted the first draft last Monday, got feedback on it Tuesday from one of the partners, made the necessary corrections and submitted it to the other partner that afternoon. That partner made additional comments (like, a LOT of additional comments), gave the feedback to the first partner, who then passed them on to me. On Friday afternoon. Demanding a fully edited version no later than Monday. And supplying a large stack of cases that should be read and incorporated into the memo. By Monday.

Oy. So, that’s what I’m spending my lovely Sunday doing.  So much for a lazy Sunday watching football…  At least I know there’s enough work for me, though! That’s job security, right?

Totally (almost) official!

Today, I became an attorney! (Well, almost… I still need to get the bar number from the bar association. But I completed the last thing I needed to do, so that’s pretty much it!)

The Chief Justice giving opening remarks.

I externed for one of the state supreme court justices during my 2L year and, once I passed the bar, she invited me to go down there to be sworn in. So, I was able to participate in the small state supreme court ceremony, with just 14 other admittees. It was very pretty special because each candidate for admission got introduced by a justice with a bio read and then we all took the oath.

Being introduced to the court.

Out of the 14 people who were admitted this morning with me, two of them were some of my favorite people from all of law school. In fact, one of them was my first friend in law school. It was fun to end the process with the same person with whom I started.

Taking the Oath.

My grandma, mom and boyfriend were all there to support me, which was really special.

It’s nice to have all of the formalities taken care of now so I can actually start my career. It’s also totally bizarre to think that this is actually my career, and not just a temporary job. It’s definitely something I’m having to wrap my head around – I’m used to being in jobs that I know are only for a limited duration. Imagining myself in the same place for years to come is great, but also pretty daunting.