un, एक, një, uno, yksi, ein, ένας, en, um, 一个, jeden, isa, אחד

The number one has been on my mind a lot lately, because I learned a very valuable lesson this week.  It is a lesson that you may think is common sense.  I would agree but I also will say that the situation in which I learned this lesson was definitely a situation rife with a lack of common sense.

One little word can make the world of difference.  The inclusion or exclusion of one little word can have enormous, life-changing consequences in any type of case.  But it seems to me that this is especially true in family law cases.  Words like primary, or shall, or exclusive, or may, or joint, or sole.

It can mean people not doing things they clearly agreed to do, or doing things they clearly agreed not to do.  It can mean the difference between making ends meet or getting your home foreclosed on or your car repossessed.  It can mean a drastic change in legal custody or physical care of children that was not intended.  It can mean another attorney seizing on that inclusion or omission and running with it no matter the clear spirit of an agreement or decree, and no matter how ethical that behavior may or may not be.

I’ve always known that the legal world is one of technicalities, and accuracy is paramount when you are constantly in that kind of domain.  I would say that I look for those same inclusions or omissions to protect my client’s interests just like any other lawyer would.  But I know the difference between protecting my client’s interests and taking advantage of a situation when it is clear to everyone involved that my argument is absurd to begin with.  I would never give the kind of advice that was given in the case I’ve dealt with this week, because I know that it is wrong.

I know where to draw the line.  I guess that is one difference between this other attorney and me.

And I like that one difference.

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like a petulant four year old

I’m having one of those days.

You know the type of day I’m talking about: you can’t get anything done to save your life because that thing you had to finish ended up taking forever, you drive an hour each way to get work done on your car and spend six hours in a town you don’t know only to get home later than planned without the work being completed because the service manager didn’t tell you that he needed both keys with the car in order to program the remote start, you try to work remotely but the wifi connection is so crappy that you keep getting disconnected and are only slightly productive anyway, and you come home to realize that the stack of dishes next to the sink means that it’s your turn for that lovely little chore.

I am cranky.  If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to act like a petulant four year old and throw a temper tantrum.  Or maybe I’ll just settle for a giant bowl of peppermint ice cream . . .

there’s no place like . . . well, you know

Home, of course.

One of the biggest changes I’ve experienced since graduation has been being home just about every night.  It is strange and wonderful at the same time.

It’s been a bit of an adjustment at times.  I don’t feel as organized as I was each week during law school.  When you have to pack your clothes, food, and school books each week to ensure you have everything, it is easy to just get everything together for the week on Sunday.  Then you don’t have to think about what you’re wearing, eating, or doing on a specific day.  It’s all done for you.  Now, I not only have to plan things for myself but also for that extra person who is suddenly around me all the time: the hubby.  I can’t just watch what I want to watch, or throw just anything together for a meal. I just can’t change the radio station or monopolize the wi-fi.

But it’s also been wonderful.  I get to sleep in my own bed at night, and relax on my comfy couch and watch my television.  I get to cook real meals and eat fresh food that isn’t reheated every day.  I don’t have to worry about forgetting something, because even when I’m at work it’s only a 15 minute drive if I truly need it.

Most of all, I get to come home to my best friend.  We wake up in the morning and talk about our dreams from the night before (okay, only the weekends for this one – who has time during the week?!).  We come home and talk about how our days were and the latest crisis we dealt with at work.  We make dinner together, and share in the chores around the house.  We celebrate special and quasi-special occasions, but also have days where we don’t do much but just hang out with each other.  We make plans with friends and family, and we even get to make plans for our future, together.  It’s like our lives aren’t on hold anymore.

I don’t remember clicking my ruby red slippers three times, but I must have.  Because there really is no place like home.

falling for fall

Today was absolute perfection. I’m fairly certain I fell in love with fall all over again after work. The sun was shining; the wind was swirling around; the leaves crunched under my shoes; everything just smelled crisp. So I got in my car, opened the sunroof, rolled down the windows, and cranked the stereo for the drive home.

And then, I came home to this:

Honestly, I can’t complain.

Life is good.

otherwise engaged

Funny, I wanted nothing more than to get bar results and get on with life. That’s exactly what happened.

After Seattle, it was an agonizing couple of weeks until bar results came out. Actually, I’m not sure agonizing even begins to describe the feeling, particularly in the last few days. The trouble with knowing the date and approximate time that the results will be released is that it makes you absolutely neurotic. I never thought I would be one to lose two nights of sleep beforehand because my mind wouldn’t shut off. I also never thought I would be one to hit refresh probably half a million times in the 36 or so hours leading up to the release.

On September 13th, I found out that I passed the bar exam. The feeling when I saw my name on the pass list is pretty much indescribable. (Oh! The immense relief! Happy tears! The weight of a thousand worlds suddenly lifted off my shoulders! More happy tears!) I worked between then and the swearing-in ceremony September 23rd, sort of in a state of limbo. My boss started calling me his associate, but because I didn’t have that handy dandy little attorney pin number, I still couldn’t truly do anything on my own. I was still putting his name at the bottom of documents, and getting his approval on everything, even the most basic of letters.

On September 23rd, I was sworn in by my favorite Iowa Supreme Court Justice with over 200 other new attorneys, many of whom are my friends. It was a great day to share with them, and Ryan and my Mom (and Ryan’s family who had a pretty strong showing, I might add). We celebrated that evening with some of my law school faves, and then it was right down to it.

On the morning of Monday the 26th, a mere three days after being sworn in, I was off on a 40 minute drive to a nearby town for a hearing. All by myself. And then that afternoon, I had a new client appointment of my own for estate planning. All by myself. Since then, I’ve had another court hearing, drafted a will and powers of attorney, and had a new child custody client come in (among many other things). You guessed it, all by myself.

So what I’m saying is twofold really:

1. I’ve been so busy that I’ve barely had time to feel guilty for not blogging. Though there has been some guilt — I realized that unless people could see my Facebook account, they might not know what my fate was with respect to the bar exam. For that, my apologies.

2. Passing the bar and getting sworn in has somehow managed to make me revert to being a toddler or young child. I get so excited when I get to do something “all by myself,” in case you didn’t notice. My legal career is in its infancy stage, though . . . so I guess it’s pretty fitting.

Although I’ve been otherwise engaged, I hope to start making it back here a bit more often. I’ve certainly missed it!

just a little distraction

I meant to post about the bar exam, awhile ago. But as more time lapses between then and now, I feel less like dwelling on it. Or even thinking about it, really.

To briefly satisfy inquiring minds: it was brutal. I hand-wrote memos, a contract provision, and essays for six solid hours the first day, and answered 200 mind-numbing multiple choice questions the second day. And I have no idea how it went. So, you can see why reliving it wasn’t exactly a top priority.

In a quest to distract myself from the fact that I have to wait until September 13th to find out if I passed, I’ve been staying characteristically busy. There was a bachelorette weekend, starting work full time again, a wedding weekend, a concert and trip to the Iowa State Fair, and just life in general to keep me occupied. In other words, not much has changed since the days of law school in terms of my ridiculous schedule.

Thankfully, I’m now preparing for my first vacation alone with the hubby since our honeymoon ten years ago. I say that I’m thankful for this because I desperately need some time off, away from things, but with him. I need to relax and take a deep breath before truly delving into the rest of our lives. And I need to just be somewhere new, because that travel bug that I have just doesn’t seem to be going away.

And let’s be honest. I need something to further distract me from the never-ending wait for the bar results. Anything will do. In fact, does anyone know anything about temporary, medically induced comas? By the time the next few weeks go by, I just might need one to preserve my sanity.

the calm before the storm?

I am relaxing on the comfy couch in my hotel room, having just returned from the registration and orientation session for the bar exam. It was perhaps the most boring thing I’ve ever done. Wait, no — that was law school orientation. But the jokes were very cheesy, and the check-in process was inefficient. So overall, not so wonderful (not that I expected it to be fascinating and exciting!).

Overall, I’m preternaturally calm. I cracked jokes with friends, and chatted with people around me. Barring a moment this morning with the hubby, I’ve not really exhibited much in terms of stress outwardly. The stomachache that I’ve perpetually had over the past several days is gone. The feeling of panic and the fear that I don’t know enough are not constantly eating away at my brain. My heart rate has dropped back to normal.

I think I’m ready — or as ready as I’ll ever be.

This afternoon, I plan to read through some essays and review my outlines on a couple of topics that are giving me trouble. Tonight, I will have dinner with a friend who I haven’t seen since graduation, work out, maybe swim for a bit, have a glass of wine, watch some Gilmore Girls and hopefully get a good night of sleep.

It’s only a test. Either I will pass, or I won’t. There’s nothing more I can do for myself except get good rest and be fresh when it comes time to get started tomorrow. I’ve kind of come to a point of acceptance, I think. Then again, I could feel completely different in the morning.

Wish me luck — and I’m doing the same for all of my fellow bar-takers out there. We’ve got this!