Category Archives: Law

Margarita dispenser…

We have decided our office needs a margarita dispenser. Preferably a frozen margarita dispenser.

The best part of having your own firm is having the ability to approve such an expenditure.

So! To a long future of 4 o’clock marg’s with my partners.

On with the new…

Three years ago today one of my closest and dearest friends, the man I termed my life partner for purposes of the bar exam, drowned in his apartment swimming pool.

Today three of his friends, three people deeply affected by his death, joined forces to build a successful business.

I can’t honestly say that we three would have been seated around a table today negotiating the terms for the merger of our fledgling firm with their established one if he hadn’t died three years ago. I can’t say our law school connection would have grown into the bond we have now without that shared loss.

So today, amidst a few tears and the shadow of sorrow, I toasted the future and realized that a decade from now this day will be as synonymous with our success and the brightness of our future as it has been for our shared sorrow over the loss of a comerade in arms.

To the future… and its roots in the past.

The art behind the business.

It turns out there is an art to being a small business owner. Primarily the art of turning future earnings into bill paying money. I still haven’t found a creditor who likes to hear me say “I have several cases ready to settle and should be able to pay you in five months!!”

I have been working a contract job doing document review and while the work does occasionally cause me to think longingly of flights out of the twenty-two story window it also pays the bills. I have been tossing the business building in at night and on weekends. The problem with this set up is that I rarely see the kids and little Otter is a very sad boy when he doesn’t get to see his mama.

Which is how I ended up agreeing to work a hot dog cart for a weekend or two a month.

Yes, that’s right. This lawyer is going to be slinging hot dogs during bar rush to bring in the cash instead of slowly killing myself reviewing 300 documents a day. (My contract job makes the positions in Office Space seem like interesting career paths.) It turns out there is a fair amount of money to be had from the hot dog cart business if you happen to know a guy and I do. I can make more in a weekend night selling hot dogs than I can sitting in an office all day clicking buttons. My daughter can come along to keep me company and earn a little extra cash helping me out, well until bedtime comes around. Maybe she can earn that DSI she has been begging for.

The best part will be telling this story to incoming associates once the firm is established and profitable. “You all have it easy! Back in my day we worked hot dog carts to bring in extra cash while we built this place up from nothing!”

My jealous mistress…

The law firm is really getting off the ground. We have paying clients and everything! It is very hard and very rewarding work. It does take me away from my children during the day, and occasionally at night. Otter started school a couple of days a week last week and that helps me carve more time out of the day for the office but I need more. A lot more. I need time for a full time job plus some.

They say law is a jealous mistress. I always thought that phrase was really intended to describe the amount of time the practice of law carves out of one’s personal life but I realize now that it more accurately describes the nigh-all consuming passion one can feel for the practice of law. During law school I remember living the law. I dreamt it, studied it all my waking hours, and never stopped thinking about it (even sometimes during sex). Suddenly I find myself in a similar position. This new firm is pulling my mind away from everything else in my life. I am obsessed with it, much like I imagine one could be obsessed with their partner in an illicit affair.

I have to pull my mind away from all the little to-do lists, the elements of the claims we are making in various cases, the complaints I am drafting in order to participate in motherhood, my spousal relationship, and with my friends. I was out at a bar last night with no other lawyers and still ended up discussing the legal aspects to developing a 501(c)(3) non-profit with another bar patron. I couldn’t stop myself from diving into the law the moment the topic was released.

The most interesting/disturbing/wonderful thing about this is that I am having so much fun! I am immersed in this corner of my world and loving every minute I spend there. I long for my networking events so I can talk to other lawyers, I feel more comfortable around other lawyers than I do virtually anyone else, and all I want to do is study, work, and live the law. It’s like waking up in the middle of third year of law school again, excited to see what new techniques and rules I discover and what rights I can wrong. Best of all, this time comes with a paycheck.

My name is Scylla, and I am a workaholic…

I have decided to stop fighting it though. I am firmly ensconced in the time of life I am going to refer to as “The Sad and Sober Part” in deference to Louisa May Alcott. Since I get more peace and enjoyment out of working, networking, and being with my family than I do out of almost anything else I am allowing myself to focus on working for a while. Maybe I am a workaholic but I seem to be self medicating so I better not interfere.

For the third weekend in a row I will be spending my Saturday night at a networking event. I am excited and looking forward to meeting a lot of people who can help me guide my way to a successful practice. I am thrilled to have a shiny new Le Suit hanging in my closet waiting to turn me from a jammie clad super mom into a sleek and successful attorney. I even have a sexy, yet professional, hairstyle to try out. I will wander the halls of the Nature and Science Museum with lawyers and judges dedicated to helping people.

I am so lucky to be involved in a professional community with so many people interested in making the world a better place. I know everyone thinks lawyers are scum and that our system would be better off without them but I have rarely met more dedicated activists outside my profession.

True superheros carry a briefcase.

Blogger Action Day: Climate Change

In response to Blog Action Day today I would like to share a victory from one of my favorite organizations, WildEarth Guardians, whose members work tirelessly to keep our air and water clean and to protect our wild places and species.

One of the many pieces in our patchwork of environmental legislation is the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act (CAA), in part, requires the EPA to identify air pollutants that are a danger to the welfare of the public and adopt nationally uniform ambient air quality standards. With an eye towards meeting those standards the CAA requires states to prepare and submit implementation plans that outline specific measures designed to assure the air quality within each state meets the national air quality standards. The CAA also requires that states whose air quality does not meet the national standards prevent significant deterioration of their already sub-par air quality.

Recently the EPA, in response to a petition from WildEarth Guardians, issued a new ruling that will dramatically and positively effect the quality of our air. Prior to this ruling Colorado failed to aggregate its oil and gas emissions, allowing pollution at a significantly higher level than should be permitted under the purview of the Clean Air Act, the Colorado state implementation plan, and the federal and state prevention of significant deterioration guidelines (PSD). Oil and gas operations consist of hundreds to thousands of component parts, and each one emits pollutants into the atmosphere. The gas drilling operation in question, for example, consists of several gas wells adjacent to a compressor station that takes the mined gas and compresses the gas for transportation through pipelines. The oil and gas companies have long acted as though each well is a single source of pollution and may emit under the permit without violating the overall permit limits. However, none of the gas pumped out of these wells would be usable for its intended purpose without the compressor station. Therefore it has been long argued that the compressor station, the gas wells, and the pipeline connecting them are interdependent and therefore should qualify as a major stationary source using the criteria set out in the federal and state PSD regulations. Without this aggregation each individual part may pollute within the guidelines of the CAA permits but when aggregated a oil and gas operation pollutes well outside the limits of the permits, significantly harming the air quality in the west and adding to our smog, environmental decline, and respiratory health problems. This rampant uncontrolled polluting contributes to the degradation of our nation’s air quality and does little to assist in our efforts to deter environmental harm and handle the coming climate change.

Under the new EPA ruling these individual component parts will be treated like a single emissions source and this continued violation of the spirit of the Clean Air Act will stop. It is expected that Colorado will see a significant decrease in air emissions, up to ninety percent. This ruling is a huge victory for air quality.

I drank the Kool-Aid and I kinda want to spit it back out…

Law school taught me to work weekends. It taught me to stay up late into the night, get up early in the morning, and work through lunch. It taught me that a weekend spent purely on play was a weekend wasted. The school lectured about work-life balance but the lectures fell on ears made deaf by too many tales of competition for the top of the class and the jobs available to those who made it. Those of us who treated school like a full time job resigned ourselves to feeling like slackers and missing out on the top 10%.

I wish I hadn’t drunk of that sweet mad potion. It’s insidious flavor grips me in my sleep, pulling me out of dreams and into the land of midnight research and complaint writing. It keeps me at the local coffee shop all night long typing away. It tells me I should spend one day of each weekend working and I have a hard time ignoring it’s siren call.

My new years resolution will be to spend the weekend playing. I plan to cage my work beast and let it out only when it’s appropriate. This working all the time thing is making me lose sight of my reasons for working in the first place.