Thursday, January 30, 2014


Insane. What's up with that word anyway? If you're insane, you're not in-sanity. You're out of sanity. Sans sanity. Un-sane. (This is what happens when I'm intellectually exhausted, I fight the dictionary.)

So, work. Wow. Remember that time just a couple weeks ago when things were really slow and I was starting to get bored? Me neither. Seems like forever ago. Last week, the head of our division asked me to assist in one of her employment litigation cases. I've developed kind of a reputation for being a "firecracker" at litigation. Which is just the fancy/nice way of saying "the sucker you can pawn all your motions onto at the last minute." But I don't mind. I love litigation. With a passion. People think that's weird. I just explain that litigation is the perfect channel for my passive aggressive competitiveness. I get to attack people. With words! It's pretty much amazing.

So last Wednesday, my boss asked me to help her with her case (which is in federal court- I love federal court). We needed to file two important discovery motions....the next day. I put everything aside and dived right into this case I knew nothing about in a topic (employment) that I also knew nothing about. I cranked out the motion, just barely in time to meet the filing deadline.

When it was time to submit the motion, I was surprised to discover that there was no process for reviewal/approval (maybe because the boss was really busy). There was no one waiting anxiously to approve my motion for filing and leave bright, red pen marks in the margins. That is definitely going to take some getting used to. These people really trust me to file whatever the heck I want? That's so foreign to me. As I uploaded the motion onto the court system for filing, I was nervous as hell that I had forgotten something really important. Turns out I did: proofread. Ooops. I hope my boss never has enough free time that she wants to read my motion just for the heck of it.

Earlier this week, I helped file another motion. And then yesterday, I was asked to write another discovery motion which, like last week's motion, was due the next day (today). This motion nearly killed me. I didn't know about the motion until the early afternoon. I spent the rest of the day yesterday and a good portion of my night trying to learn the facts, learn the law, and begin crafting and outlining the arguments. I then spent all of today hunched over my computer furiously typing away (and deleting and re-typing and re-deleting).

My look of intense concentration did not prevent another attorney from stopping in for a quick chat. He stopped by just to tell me that he was super swamped and didn't have time to discuss a project with me. He then launched into a soliloquy of the history of workers compensation (totally unrelated to our project), every single fact in existence about this particular project, and a summary of the law regarding bankruptcy (which he knew I knew because I wrote the freaking memo for him!). I was pretty much verbally trapped in my office and he continued to talk me to as he followed me to the kitchen, to the water cooler, to the filing cabinet and even to the entrance of the women's restroom. 40 minutes later....I was a free woman. (Saved by the pee).

When I returned to my office to finish the motion, I heard the sound of a small dog running down the hall past my office. As he ran he emitted obnoxious high-pitched barks which echoed down the hall and pierced through every wall. Then the dog scurried into the office next to mine where he remained and continued barking for the next two hours. I know a lot of people like dogs. I am NOT one of them. I am totally the WRONG person to share an office wall with if you like to bring your dog to the office (apparently that's even allowed?). Oh man. I was pissed. As I typed frantically on my keyboard and tried to concentrate I plotted at least five different ways deaths for that stupid yappy dog.

Aside from the dog, the pressure of the 5 o'clock filing deadline was my enemy all day. I searched frantically for supporting case law and key facts to support my motion all while fighting against the clock. When it all came together literally in the last 15 minutes, I let out a HUGE sigh of relief, filed the motion, and sat back in my chair.

I was mentally exhausted. My eyes hurt from staring at the computer. My head hurt from thinking. My back hurt from being hunched over my computer. I skipped lunch, hadn't checked my e-mails, and didn't even gulp down my daily Diet Dr. Pepper (which may also have contributed to the headache). But as I slunk back in my chair, relaxed, relieved and exhausted, I was extremely happy. I really missed writing motions and strategizing discovery issues on a daily basis. I had even missed the rush of filing deadlines.

Just as I was thinking about how sad I was to be done with these motions, another attorney entered my office. "Can you help me with a motion next week?" Despite working nonstop for the past 19 waking hours on this last motion, I smiled, nodded, and eagerly agreed.

I love my job. I love it so much, that I can probably tolerate yappy dogs for a little while longer.


  1. I have two yappy little dogs of my own, but couldn't imagine bringing them to the office!

    Sounds like you're getting some interesting experience. Maybe being nice and busy will translate into a job extension :)

  2. Welcome to government work! I've been a gov't attorney for almost 7 years now, and the only time anyone has ever reviewed my work was when I asked, or for appellate briefing (there's an attorney in the office who basically reviews all appeals before going out to make sure our appellate work is uniformly up to standards). I too couldn't believe none of the higher ups wanted to check my work before it went out the door. I said something to my supervisor once about that, and she gave me a funny look and said, "We hired you because we trust your legal judgment, and we expect that you'll use it. You're a lawyer."