Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Immersed In Trial Prep

I'm preparing for my first trial, a pro bono contested divorce, and I don't think I like it. While meeting with my client and my co-counsel for most of the day, I realized the obvious: that one of the reasons I don't like this subject matter is because it all comes down to money. Not whether my client should be awarded money for the pain and suffering the defendant (her abusive husband of 11 years) caused her through repeated acts of cruel and inhuman treatment, but rather, whether the defendant has money, whether she doesn't, and how the marital assets should be split up. Ugh! Give me a trial on persecution any day. Good lord, is there anything more depressing than dividing up people's assets?

Partially, I'm stressed. I want my client to feel satisfied, and I'm not sure that she will be. Trial is unpredictable, defendant's counsel keeps tossing us insultingly low settlement "offers," and no matter what happens my client will never get enough to make up for all the suffering that she endured while living with defendant. Under the law, grounds and the division of equitable property are almost completely separate issues, meaning that while I'm trying to urge the Judge to award my client more money, I can't rest my arguments on the theory that her husband is a no-good batterer and deserves to be punished. There is no restitution in divorce.

I'm also just grouchy because I haven't sat still for a while with nothing to do, I'm reaching my limit of going, going, and going, and due to last weekend's activities I'm sick. I'm all congested and was feeling lightheaded for most of the day because of a combination of congestion and medication. Yuck. I also look suspiciously like I have consumption, what with the dark circles, pallid skin, and chapped lips. I'm sure the Judge will love me.

Rather than complain about it (more than I already have), I'm trying to look forward to Thursday evening, and especially this weekend. Barring something unexpected, the trial should start and end on Thursday, leaving me free to crash into my bed sometime around 8 pm. This weekend, I'm not going to plan anything with anyone (except for with my two little clients, one of whom will be back from the hospital and is doing much better, thank god) and I'm going to make going to the gym, sleeping, getting well, and resting my top priorities. Ok, maybe just getting well and relaxing. I don't want to be too ambitious.

The next two days are going to go fast - too fast because I'm already stressed about tomorrow night - but by the end of the week things will be looking up. I've been stressed about this case and this trial for months, and it will be a tremendous weight lifted off of me to have it completed. For my client and me both.

And then, finally, I will be mostly free to look for a new job. I'm going to have to get out quick because my other case has been chomping at the bit in my absence, and I know they're going to pounce on me the moment this trial is over. Friday could be dicey. But, fear not! I've already set up three interviews for next week and a date (none of that will be occurring, I assure you).

Progress continues, hoof by hoof.

8 comments:

InterstellarLass said...

Sadly, my ex had no assets for me to pursue. But I agree, divorce is ugly, no matter what side you look at it. It's such a dry, clinical end to an emotional, human matter when it really comes down to it.

Buttercup said...

Lass - It is definitely ugly. The divorce lawyers are even uglier than the clients, I must say. Not me of course, but the other side. But, I'm clearly biased b/c I could not defend a batterer or a rapist, however much I believe in the need for a balanced judicial system.

I hope he didn't get any of your assets.

Karianne said...

Sending you good luck vibes for Thurs and healing vibes for the weekend!

Gypsy said...

Good luck for the next couple of days and take care of yourself this weekend!

Anonymous said...

Family is barfy...at the best of times!

BUT...if anyone can kick batterer ass...YOU can!

May the force be with you....

Keep visualizing how awesome you'll feel on Saturday morning snuggled in your bed (perhaps beside a naked Navy Boy), no alarm clock to deal with, with some freshly steeped tea....maybe a couple of papers....and the sunshine streaming in...

good luck

Buttercup said...

Karianne and Gypsy - Thanks for the luck. Keep your fingers crossed!

WN - I love that image (minus Navy Boy - he's Trouble!). I can't remember the last time I read a paper... That would be amazing.

Anonymous said...

you are going to do fine, your smart and know the law and all that. But family law has got to be the worst thing to deal with, or so I hear at least.

Buttercup said...

Sparky - Thanks for the vote of confidence!!