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This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

In addition to now charging up for two (count em TWO) trials, both to take place within April, I’ve apparently made a point to fill our weekends with ceaseless activity.  Late this afternoon, Mr. Beez begged “Please tell me this is the last weekend you’ve booked up.”  Lucky for both of us, yes, it is.  Next weekend we have an outing for our Anniversary and an Easter Sunday get together with my in-laws, but that’s it.  And most of the weekends in April are completely open, and are going to stay that way (or we are both going to lose our minds.)

I was going to do separate posts about each of the activities that we did this weekend, but then I’d be spending forever and ever writing blog posts.  So here’s the rundown of what happens when my enthusiasm for “doing stuff” goes unchecked.

Friday:  Bubble Time at the Pittsburgh International Children’s Theater and dinner at Las Velas (Fajita Salad, yum)

Saturday: Gym workout for me, Gymkhana for the little one, Farm to Table Conference and SWAN Day Celebration

Sunday: Had new portraits taken of the little one (which involved much yelling and bribing), ran errands including Costco, saw Madama Butterfly, and desperate rush to catch up on work before the new week.

A Monday full of work actually seems relaxing in comparison.  So if you invite me somewhere in the month of April and I politely decline, please take no offense.  The last several weekends have been b-a-n-a-n-a-s.  Plus I’ve got a Groupon for a facial and a massage that I really need to put to good use.


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4:50 am is a thing?

sleepylolcatI don’t know how these doctors and nurses and other people who wake up super early do it.  My alarm goes off at 6 am, and every morning I am full of hate.  Left to my own devices I’d probably wake up around 7:30 or 8, but 6 still feels brutal.  Twice this week I’ve suffered through that ungodly clang at 4:50 am.  Once for a poorly scheduled personal training appointment and once for a terribly scheduled deposition.

The getting up part really isn’t the worst of it.  I woke up fine, got ready and got where I needed to get in a timely fashion.  Then around 7:30 am it all came crashing down.  I spent the rest of the day moaning sleep, I need sleep!

I’m sure early risers go to bed earlier than I do.  Last night we had an event with our synagogue, and I didn’t get to bed until after 11pm.  That made the 4:50 wake up extra terrible.  Some people can function on 4 or 5 hours of sleep. I do much better on, say, 10 hours of sleep.  Not that I get it. But I’d love to.

Sleep has been a big focus of mine lately.  I had an old fashioned check up on Monday and chatted with the doctor about how I’ve been seemingly sick over and over and over since January.  Then I told her about how I’m out the door fairly early in the morning, then have work all day and then often have events in the evening and that doesn’t get me home until like 9 at night most nights.  Well duh, I’m exhausted and more susceptible to being sick and then getting sick.

I’ve officially been ordered by both my husband and my doctor to not stuff my calendar to the gills with this, that and the other thing.  This declaration comes at a good time.  I’ve got a trial I’ve been prepping for, and my work schedule doesn’t allow for me participating in many happy hours, get togethers and dinners anyway.  Til that jury verdict comes in, it’s all prep, practice, rest, repeat.

In other news, SMOKE TAQUERIA for dinner tonight, yesssss!

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Making the Most of Your First Legal Job Search After Law School @thelegalintel

My latest Young Lawyer column for The Legal Intelligencer:

You’ve graduated law school, passed the bar, and are raring and ready to go into practice.  Unfortunately, the job market has not been kind to its newest members.  Recent statistics show that only about half of new law school graduates have secured full time legal employment.  Qualified candidates abound, and it is essential for you to distinguish yourself from the competition.  Now that bar prep is behind you, you can take advantage of some newfound time for your job search as well as complementary activities.

Get Involved in Your Local Bar Association

 Many bar associations offer free memberships to lawyers in their first year of practice, and it is well worth the money (and more) to take advantage of this opportunity.  With far more candidates than there are open positions, networking is key. 

 Most bar associations offer committees and divisions for every possible interest, and all are equally valuable in networking opportunities.  By establishing yourself as a leader within the young lawyers division, you can make friends with other young lawyers who can give you a heads up when their firm is hiring, and maybe put your resume in the right hands.  Becoming involved in practice area focused committees will introduce you to more seasoned practitioners who may personally be making the hiring decisions.

 There is no one division of the bar that is better than any other in terms of networking potential.  Regardless of how you choose to associate yourself, assuming a leadership role is essential.  Show initiative, dedication, diligence and above all, friendliness, and you will stand out when a colleague learns of an open position. 

Pursue Pro Bono Projects

 Pro bono representation provides a valuable community service and is the ethical duty of every attorney.  It can also serve as a teaching ground for the nuts and bolts of basic practice.  Pro bono representation in conjunction with your local bar association is frequently covered through the bar association’s malpractice policy.  There are diverse opportunities for pro bono involvement, including serving as counsel in protection from abuse hearings, drafting estate documents through a local Wills for Heroes project, or preparing expungement petitions.  The pro bono committee or coordinator of your local bar association can point you in the right direction for these engagements.

 Pro bono practice is also a good entre into getting to know other local practitioners.  If you confront a legal issue with which you are unfamiliar, do not be shy about reaching out to more senior practitioners and asking for their thoughts.  Bouncing legal theories off a more experienced practitioner will increase the quality of your representation.  It also will not hurt that a more experienced colleague will get to know you and get a sense for the quality of your legal abilities.

   Publish! Publish! Publish!

 Legal newspapers, blogs, and bar association publications are continuously seeking high quality articles for publication.  Publishing articles on an area of law you are passionate about can help guide your job search.  For example, if you long to be a litigator, a well-worded article on a change in local procedure will catch the attention of attorneys in that field.  Changes in substantive law or procedural rules, new legislation, and noteworthy court decisions all make for useful, attention-grabbing articles.  Do not get hung up on the academic.  An article that makes the reader’s job easier—by concisely identifying the legal issue and giving practical advice for dealing with that issue—will best catch the attention of other practitioners.

 The guidelines for submitting an article are usually easily available in the publication itself or on its website.  You are better off authoring the full article ahead of time instead of just a pitch.  You can always put together a quick abstract later if the publication requires it.  You should only pitch your article to one publication at a time.  However, if the article is not picked up by one publication, feel free to pitch it to another.

 Be aware that local and small industry publications generally do not compensate their contributors.  The value in publishing is developing your own research and communication skills, and attracting the attention of other local attorneys who can help you in your job search, or possibly offer you employment themselves.

  Catch up on your Community

 The world is much larger than the practice of law, and your efforts toward legal employment should not be exclusively focused in the legal community.  Use this time to get involved with your community at large. 

 Nonprofits of all stripes are always seeking volunteers.  Arts organizations and charities need volunteers to solicit contributions for benefit events.  Better yet, most benefit events need volunteers for the event itself.  As a volunteer, you will forego the steep ticket price, help out an organization in need and have an opportunity to mingle.

 With time to spare and elections on the horizon, it is also an ideal time for you to canvass on behalf of your favorite political figure.  Young professionals’ organizations are also ideal for making connections, both in your job search and for long term business-building purposes.  It is hard to go wrong with community involvement– pick an interest and run with it.  You will better your community and make invaluable connections.

Meet People, Make Friends

The best opportunities are often happy coincidences.  “Networking” can be a dirty word, suggesting self-interest and shallowness.  Think of your job search as a time for meeting people and making friends.  While you will hope that they can keep you in mind for employment opportunities, also think about what you can do for them.  Respond “accepted” to as many events as you can and offer to help out the host.  Attend alumni events for your university.  Participate in “town hall” community meetings concerning local issues.  When folks hear you are a lawyer, they may well call you about legal advice that you as a job searching new graduate are not yet capable of giving.  Build up your relationships with other lawyers so that you can provide appropriate referrals, and you will receive thanks from both the lawyer and the client.

 Submitting resumes alone will not find you a job.  You need to approach this search period as a full time commitment to making broad but meaningful connections.  The job market is in employers’ favor right now, and it is in your best interest to set yourself apart as a candidate.  Leadership, enthusiasm, and developing a positive reputation in your community are all positive steps to distinguishing yourself in that next interview.

Reprinted with permission from the March 7, 2013 issue of The Legal Intelligencer.  Copyright 2013 ALM Media Properties, LLC.  Further duplication without permission is prohibited.  All rights reserved.

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A Mixed Bag Monday

  • Baby Beez’ daycare is closed so I am working from home today and looking forward to a dinner out at the HBH with the fam tonight. Hello carbs! Good thing I’ve got a personal training appointment today.
  • We are in the process of doing all the things we need to do to get Baby Beez her passport for our vacation this summer.  Do you KNOW what a pain it is to get a passport for a minor? Getting a passport-appropriate photo of Baby Beez is also on my list for today. I have no idea how that’s going to go. It will likely end in tears.  (You try to get a toddler to stand still in front of a white screen and make a neutral face.)
  • I really want to go on vacation and have sunshine and no-snow. Now. Vacation however is many months away.  What do you do to get through the long winter?

bio_photo-There is no such thing as networking with the “right” people. Everyone is the right person to get to know. Don’t try to network “upwards,” move up, down, left, right, all around.

-It’s all about the follow up!  You’ve wasted your efforts meeting people if you don’t continue beyond the event.

-Send handwritten notes!  They are memorable and effective.  They are the best 46 cent investment!

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How to Have a Perfect Marriage

I have no idea.

And I’m skeptical of anyone who offers advice in the superlative, anyway.

Mr. Beez and I don’t have a perfect marriage, but we have a pretty darn good one.  We love each other, but we are good pals too, and I think that helps a lot.  I’m incredibly lucky that Mr. Beez is always up for an adventure, even if it’s an adventure that is not really up his alley (I’m looking at you, Death Cab for Cutie concert).

Mr. Beez sent me beautify flowers to celebrate the day.  We went out on a Valentine’s date last Saturday, but tonight ended up being excellent as well. I made a simple dinner, Mr. Beez’ mom stopped over to play with the little one for a bit.  I baked some tasty cookies and we watched some Modern Family DVDs.  For once, we weren’t running around like crazy people, scarfing down granola bars for dinner, and racing to get this that and the other thing done.  We spent Valentine’s day like a normal family. It was lovely.

Snuggle up with the ones you love and have some sugary holiday treats. Happy Valentine’s Day, yinz!