Sunday, August 4, 2013

My Big Mouth

After a very long pre-nap, during which J nursed for over 30 minutes, then cried for a few minutes in his crib, babbled to himself for 43 minutes, and cried for six more minutes, J is napping. So I am blogging.

Work, in a nutshell, is a little bit busier so I am not bored for now but we are still operating at only partial capacity. I have a meeting next week with the guys with whom I WILL be starting the gym, so we are moving ahead and it's not close enough to be scary that I will be giving up a stable (?) job so it's really exciting.

Lawyering deserves an update. I was sent to argue against a motion that defense counsel made in a completely separate matter from what I normally do. (I have found another partner to feed me at least a little bit of work food.) Normally I am in workers' compensation court, where the hearing rooms are often found atop grocery stores in strip malls, in breezeways off the backs of doctors' offices, or in other low-slung, ugly, and always unmarked office buildings, usually off of parking lots in need of repaving. There are signs on the bathroom stalls in these facilities that say "Do Not Steal the Toilet Paper." I am not making this up.

But last week I was in "real court," in a real courthouse on a case in the Court of Common Pleas (trial court in PA). I was standing in for the lead attorney/partner on a products liability case he brought on behalf of a plaintiff who suffered very serious injuries in a 40-foot fall from a tree while doing arbor work. Defense counsel wanted to amend his pleading (answer to the complaint--or lawsuit--filed by plaintiff) to include the defense that plaintiff was engaging in "highly reckless" conduct at the time of the fall. He wasn't, and I was there to argue against the motion because the case is almost to decision stage. First off, I didn't even know which side of the courtroom to sit on. The clerk said plaintiff is alwasy on the side of the jury box. Ah ha! Totally makes sense. But in comp court, it can be either side, depending on the judge. I thought I had it figured out that defense sits on the side of the court reporter, claimant on the side of the witness box, and then the next time I went to a hearing before this one judge I sat on the wrong side. So it's not like I'm new to embarrassing moments as a newb attorney.

It was defendant's motion, so he spoke first, and then I would have a chance to respond. From the very beginning, the judge was completely against him. The judge thought the attorney was missing his point, and that they were talking past each other. At one point he pulled out the Rules of Civil Procedure book to ask the attorney to show him where in the book it said what the attorney was saying. Numerous times I just shook my head in agreement and felt VERY BAD for the guy across the aisle. So I know the motion is going to be decided in my favor. I KNOW it. I don't just think it. And given this fact, you would think I also would know better than to open my mouth to say anything. Anything at all. Why would I do that? Well, let me tell you why. Because I am a lawyer. Goddammit. And I'm like, I drove over an hour and paid five dollars to park and I'll be driving another hour back, and we charge all that to the client and all I did was sit there and nod and look serious? I mean, there is a reason certain people become litigators and it is not because they like to sit back and NOT TALK. So I spoke. Against all better reason, I spoke.

"Your Honor? May I just explain...?"
"That's ridiculous. Who told you that?" --"The partner who sent you here? Is he a testifying expert in this matter, ma'am?" --"You shouldn't come here to tell me that." --"That's a reflection on your partner. We've all been in your shoes, ma'am, that's not a reflection on you." (This he says with one hand on the door to leave the courtroom.) Well...shew? I only just threw my partner under the bus?

Let me first say that I LEARNED MY LESSON to STFU. Oh, yes I did. Especially when nothing I say will change the judge's mind and more important because I don't want to change his mind. He was already deciding in my favor. Buuuut, he made some comments that I thought, you know, were not true about (my understanding) of the case, and I thought, you know, for the record, I should say something. And of course the other side was saying some stuff that I wanted to rebut. Again, why? Because I like to talk. That's why. Not a good reason. Not a good reason at all.

What else did I learn? That you can usually at least try to find a positive thing to have come out of a generally bad (well, not really, we won the motion) situation. So I was able to share some insight about the judge's view of the plaintiff's behavior in this case, that it was negligent because...

Also, I told the partner exactly what happens so he is warned when he goes before this judge next and the judge says god knows what about what happened at that oral argument!


Now...what else? Apparently Friday night is J's "cheat" night when it comes to his otherwise pretty good sleeping habits. Two Fridays in a row he has been up past 11pm. Last week my parents tried to put him to bed so Senior and I could play some sand volleyball and go out for a drink after. Drink after was canceled when my dad texted to say J was still awake at 10:07 as we were heading to the bar home. Two nights ago he went down so nicely around 7:30 (early!) and I got all my stuff together to go down to a friend's house so we could all get up before daybreak the next day to begin a 90-mile relay race across New Jersey. (I blame this on my big mouth, too. I guess I "committed" to running when I told the organizer that I hadn't been running at all but sure why not? I thought they were going to say they didn't want my slack-ass on their team.) Well, he woke up before I could leave, I pulled him out of his crib to nurse him some more and then he was AWAKE. I just left him for Senior to deal with, and later found out that he finally went down sometime around midnight. WTF? Then Saturday he had a long nap and went to bed normally at 8. We were/are considering the 6:30 bedtime regime for at least a little while, especially given these occasional regular night owl episodes, but I don't know. That seems so early. Sometimes I don't even get home from work until 6:30 (of course, though not that much lately as you can imagine), and how can we eat/bath/go for a walk or do anything together as a family?

So anyway, sleeping adventures continue to be just that, but overall we're a pretty happy and well-rested bunch. Except for the three hours I got the night before the race,* after a few of us sat up drinking and catching up. Senior is so good to me...he took J after I fed him this morning at about 6:30/7 until 8:30. Then he was like "Later!" and took off 6.5 hours early for the Phillies game tonight.

*More race-y for some than others. I ran a 6-mile leg and a 5.5-mile leg. I think the last time I ran 6 miles in a row was...sometime less than two years ago. But the last time I was really in shape was 4 years ago, thanks to two pregnancies^ and the bar exam in 2010, I haven't been running that much in quite some time. I am sore today, but it's not terrible, and I am happy to report that I averaged about a 9:30/9:40 pace on both legs. I was shooting or anything under 10-minute miles).

   ^I have one living child born in October 2012 and a first pregnancy that ended at 25 weeks, 3 days in August 2011. A lot of my thoughts on children and pregnancies are colored by this loss that was by far the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. Because I want THIS blog to be more accessible and light and funny, I have kept this story separate on another blog. If you would like to read it, though, send me an email and I will share the link.

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