Friday, November 17, 2006

33 Hours

It's done!! I'm writing this after crashing at 4 pm after the court hearing and waking up from a deep sleep at 9 pm wondering what day it was and what was going on - a disorientation induced not only from the sleep, but from the sheer, all consuming intensity of the last couple of days. It's something I experienced a lot my first year, where I would be at the office late into the night for days at a time, exhausted, and completely shut off from the world.

This time it was different, of course, because I was working for my pro bono client, and I was prepping for trial, something I had never done before, and something which is very different than meaningless document review or working for arbitrary deadlines. The similarity between the last few days and last year was that I was working extremely hard, and I was aware - a thought on the edge of my focus, that would wash over me now and then - that I was alone. No one was waiting at home for me to snuggle with for a few minutes when I rolled home at 5 am after burying myself at my desk for hours on end. I don't mean to be depressive, because I don't feel depressed. I feel strong, actually. What I recalled was that I've done this before. I've been in New York without someone to snuggle with at the end of the night, and I can do it. Sure, it would be nice to have someone who loves me waiting at home. It's not like I would mind them drawing a hot bath for me or giving me a little foot rub at the end of the day. However, I don't need it to survive. I didn't crumble last year, and I most certainly am not going to crumble now.

But, back to this trial prep, which was actually, dare I say it, kind Until yesterday, I would have told you, and I did, that I dislike the practice of family law immensely. Maybe it's because my own parents were divorced. Maybe it's because it never seems like there's a winner. Maybe it's just draining to wade through the minutiae of someone's relationship, their pains, their hurts, their abuse, their inability to move on. Or, maybe it's because I've never found it all that intellectually stimulating. But, intellectual stimulation in the law is probably over rated. I didn't get into the law for that. I got into it to do some good.

And that's what I did today! Woo-hoo! Now don't get too excited, because we ended up not having the trial. However, we did get all the temporary relief we could have hoped for, for our client. I'm saying "we" because I work with another associate on this case. The two of us worked through the night completing our direct exam and cross exam scripts, organizing exhibits, and putting together a last minute motion (at 3 am!) to compel the other side to respond to our outstanding discovery requests. For those non-lawyers out there, "discovery" is simply when you ask the other side for information. The other side is supposed to give it to you, but inevitably they stall. Our defendant hadn't given us anything, which made the idea of having a trial to decide such issues as the division of property more than a little daunting. We had know idea what this guy has!

We finished everything at 6:30 am, which gave me just enough time to go home, shower, hop into my suit, and get back to the office where my partner and I grabbed all of our exhibits and headed over to court. I was thinking as I locked my apartment, after showering and changing and forcing myself to ignore my bed - which was calling to me to come and lay down - that I am made of steel. That's actually what I felt like; like I had a rod of steel running through my core that was going to hold me up and get me through whatever we needed to do that day in terms of the trial, in terms of staying awake for the trial, and in terms of being focused enough to give the other side hell. Trust me, the other side deserves it.

Once we arrived at court, as I mentioned, we didn't have a trial, which is what we had been hoping for. I spoke and made our argument to the Judge and he agreed with me!! Not only that, but every time the other side's attorney tried to open her mouth with a counter argument, the Judge totally shot her down. It was so awesome! Mainly because it was the exact opposite of what I had expected to happen, which was that the Judge was going to attempt to crucify me for a number of things, including filing a last minute motion. But we won!!

Another interesting outcome, with personal implications for me, is that we agreed to reschedule the trial for the end of January. As you all know, I've been planning to be gone by then. However, post-poning the trial until the end of January was in the best interests of my client. Although I'm still sleep-deprived and probably not in the best frame of mind to make a decision, I'm fairly certain that I'm going to stay through the trial. I've worked with this client for almost 2 years and I think she would be devastated to lose one of her attorneys right before trial. I also think it's going to be kind of fun. Plus, at this point, I've done the bulk of the prep work, so it shouldn't be too bad in January, at least not with respect to this case. What's the moral of that? That even the best laid plans, or the ones that aren't made at all, can be broken and changed. You never know what's going to happen.

Ok, I'm off to celebrate with my girl friends. A bevy of cocktails awaits! Happy Friday!


InterstellarLass said...

Yeah! Way to go out there and kick butt for your client! Enjoy those cocktails!

Anonymous said...

Hooray! I'm so proud of you. What a rollercoaster of a week you've had! I think you deserve to celebrate. Buttercup...Woman of Steel! Can't wait to catch up with you in TEXAS!!!

gravelly said...

You go girl! YOU are AWESOME!!

Gypsy said...

You really are Wonder Woman! :)