Tuesday, May 21, 2013


No stories. Just my fave pics. 

Even Jerry came out to Hakkasan.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

being "soft"

    I bought cupcakes for the assistants for no reason. My coworker pointed out that I had a "soft" side. Several days ago, I sent a package with some thoughtful things to a friend, also with no occasion attached. That word came up again. "Soft."

   Wtf does that mean?

   The word tugged at me as I read cases, started outlines, and went through my daily tasks. I started to unpack it in my head.

    At my work, there are no female partners. All the men are younger (early 40s), so there's kind of this informal, relaxed, aggressive culture to work. Since everyone is relatively young and male, I kind of act like them. I say "dude" a lot to my bosses. Everyone wears jeans and the one time I wore a pencil skirt, one of the partners asked me if I went to court earlier that day. Against this backdrop, I come off as kind of a tomboy, which is not really something that I ever thought of about myself. I accepted this designation without much thought.

   Then this "soft" business came up. I just hated how smug she seemed, as if she discovered some great secret about me. She acted as if being a tomboy (which I still don't think I am) meant that I was trying to hide the fact that I am nice to others. I balked at this fundamental misunderstanding of my nature. I often share food, buy gifts just because, and am generally amiable around my colleagues. Why is that being conflated with "soft?" If I were a man who showed the same kind of generosity, would anyone jump on it and think that it was a telltale sign of femininity?

    Further, I am not trying to hide my femininity at work. I just don't think about it. I don't think about being anything but a smart and aggressive advocate, and somehow that translated into not being feminine. You can be aggressive and bullish without being a miser. You can be generous and kind to people on your team, and still be a fierce litigator when the time comes to be strategically aggressive. I don't understand what being "soft" has to do with any of it.

Friday, May 3, 2013

I'm a real person now

I celebrated my work anniversary two weeks ago. I've been a second-year ever since I started getting paid like a second-year, but I never really stopped to think about it until now. There was a barrage of work, which thankfully let up recently, so now that the dust has settled, I can type some words of reflection.

I spent most of my first year prepping for arbitration on a big case. We actually went to arbitration, which was exciting to see. My first year of practice was mainly spent just learning how to do things. It's true that you don't really learn the mechanics of practicing law in law school. We practiced writing memos and briefs, but I never learned all the possible pleadings and how to use them. Legal strategy never came up either. That's the exciting part, picturing the ways a case can go, but I wonder if the novelty will wear off.

The most valuable thing I learned this past year was how to write a clean brief. In law school, all our prompts kind of had a close universe of facts. In practice, the universe of facts ends up being closed after awhile, but at first, there are just so many facts out there for the culling. It's a challenge not to get lost in the thicket, but when you're around experienced, talented attorneys, you get to see how they keep their head straight when so many things are going on.

I've been to court a bunch of times for hearings, getting used to being addressed as "Counselor." I still kind of hate suits, but my most recent purchase actually feels comfortable to me now. I love running into friends in court; it's happened quite a bit. I was really nervous before a hearing, but having my friend around before having to go in front of the judge for oral arguments soothed my nerves. (I won that one btw. Woot.) I'm still trying to figure out where I want my career to go---working on that 5-year plan. So far though, everything seems to be falling into place.