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.