Thursday, August 05, 2010

whuzzup my bitches?

Should I update my blog. It's only been 8 months. Perhaps I shall. I have much rattling around in my brain that could use more than a studiedly cryptic Facebook update or 140 chrcters of silly.

Still working at same place. Some good. Some bad. Some old. Some new. Perhaps I'll write about (formerly) Grouchy Partner and Newbie later. It's a hoot!

So... I'm on a train to Boston. I'm supposed to be preparing (formerly) Grouchy Partner for a hearing, but he decided to sit next to Newbie, who knows nothing but is cute and young and blonde.

Yay! It only took me 3 years of incredibly diligent work to crack (formerly) Grouchy Partner's tough shell. It took her the bat of her eyelashes. Not that I hold it against her -- if you got it, use it.

I think, after 2 hours, (formerly) Grouchy Partner is about to acknowledge my existence (several rows away thankyouverymuch), so I need to look like I'm doing work.


Friday, December 11, 2009

More silliness (in under 3 minutes)

I was just on the phone with my mortgage company. After asking for my name and account number and everything else, the rep asked, "What state is your property in?"

I responded, "I don't understand your question." And then, "Oh. Right. Connecticut. I was going to say my house is probably a mess because the kids are home."

I apparently made her day.

Silly rant (under 3 minutes)

I'm risking blogging from the office....
So - why does every entity to which I have ever disclosed my email address feel compelled to send me a newsletter.

I just got one from my bank. I also get one from my ophthalmologist's office.

Can I tell you that my ophthalmologist is the only game in town. It's a 20 doctor practice, but my dude is the ONLY muscle specialist within an hour drive. I do not need to know what exciting things are happening in the world of laser surgery to convince me to stay with my eye doctor.

And I happen to like the guy. So even if there was another one next door, I'd stay.

Whatever happened to building personal relationships in, you know, person?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

So Unfathomably Lame

I made it to day 4 of the promised 12. I think this says more about why I can't lose weight than any explanation about my work load and parenting responsibilities ever can.

My excuse for yesterday -- I was in the office until about 10 p.m. and then came home, chased the girls to bed, and drank a cosmo or 2 before going to bed myself. I did not give April 2009 a second thought until this morning.

I don't want to blog in the office, even during the ridiculously late hours when I should be home, since I learned that each day the General Counsel gets a print out of everyone who spends more than 3 minutes at a "bad" website, as well as the website. And in my paranoia, I'm convinced he will hunt down my anonymish* blog and lay me under the knife rather than focus on the guys scamming "massage therapists" on craigslist.

April 2009
Anyway, April 2009 was strange. I got business cards and a new blackberry. The Dungeon Master/Grumpy Partner Firm did not have business cards, so I felt like The Jerk when I got a spanking new box of affirmation of my existence. The New Business Cards are Here! The New Business Cards are Here! I AM Somebody! I can't tell you how humbling it was to show up for a trial, hard-assed litigator that I am, and have to fill out the pro se form for the Clerk. It was like sitting at the kiddy table.

For some reason my Dreier crackberry worked through the end of February, when everyone else's stopped working in December. I spent March without my electronic umbilical cord. It was kinda nice. I still have the old blackberry and I'm trying to figure out what I can hack it into. Something clever, yet appropriately ironic given its genesis. If anyone has any suggestions, please share.

The biggest change in April was the prevalence of forms. The Firm is the bureaucrat's dream. Don't have any pens? Write out a form and The Mother Ship will send new ones. Computer does not work? Fill out the on-line form and The Mother Ship will send help. Need an expense reimbursed? Of course there's a form for that. But not that form, the other one. No. No. Yes, that one.

My mantra those first few weeks was, "Paper trails mean accountability. People with nothing to hide embrace paper trails."

Within a week or 2, Baby Huey joined the staff as a junior litigation associate. He had been a contract attorney before then and I was not overwhelmed. Hell, I wasn't even whelmed. But the Dungeon Master, he do like his vanity hires. This one had an ongoing consultancy with a huge company that could, conceivably become a major client for the firm, so we all have to tolerate Baby Huey and his wacky hi-jinks. (Look at that silly Baby Huey! He thinks you can prepare an application for an injunction and supporting documents without reading the Federal Rules or researching any case law! What a refreshing perspective. I now understand that us uptight litigators should just stop and smell the roses!!)

So that was April.

May 2009
May was tough. I billed about 230 hours and cannot remember much about it. I think there was another oh-by-the-way trial, that ended up not being a trial until July. If you're wondering, 230 hours annualizes to over 2700 hours. And that's only billed time. Time sent staring at computer screen when you've averaged 5 hours of sleep for 3 weeks, wondering what day it is and what do all those squiggly arcs and lines on the screen mean...that's not billable. For perspective: normal full-time humans, who work 35 hours per week, work 1800 or so hours per year.

June was worse, but since then I've loafed my way down to the highly respectable 2200-2300 range, which is still higher than 90% of The Firm.
*I could try a little harder if I really cared not to be found.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Beware the Ides of March

Wow, but this writing twelve posts in twelve days is about killing me. The discipline required for day 4 has me ready to hit the delete button for the entire blog. And I'm the chick who thinks she is going to run the NY marathon this year to mark her 40th.

(Thing 2, by the way, is a very nice girl and not standing behind me with a large stick, demanding to know how long I will be sitting at "her" computer.)


March 2009
March is always a torrid month in my world. Even on a good year.

It's Lent,
it's suffering,
it's denial,
it's cold.
Yet it's birth,
it's Spring,
it's life,
it's Easter.
It's death again,
and it's life again.

March is that last snow day long after the crocuses peek through.

Too many birthdays, too many good people who have died. March 8 for my sister I never knew. March 20 for my Dad.

March 26 for my dear, dear Hubbins. And March 30 for my new nephew, Michael, and March 31 for my old brother-in-law, Michael. And probably 2-3 other nephews/nieces as well.

It's like that old hardcore song -- Birth School Work Death -- sung over and over. Or, less cynically, the Circle of Life... that moves us all. All of which sounds great after 2 glasses of w(h)ine, but which bear no specific relation to March 2009.

What can I say? March 2009 was one of great transition. I spent the month giddily pouring over internet articles about The Firm, trying to extrapolate what a 7th year in Stamford should make from the stats for a 1st year in Philadelphia. (FWIW -- no correlation.)

I was also extremely apprehensive about having a new set of rules to learn and a new set of politics to master. Let's face it -- my record was less than stellar. I had a horrible time at The Old Firm (2006-07) because I was unable to understand the politics. Mind you, they had the collective IQ of a smallish squirrel, but still I'm not sure it would have been possible for me to have been perceived worse in that environment. (I dunno. I supposed I could have shanked one of those nice senior named partners, just to watch him die...)

But, on balance, a good month. I spent March 30 and 31 at orientation at the mother ship in Philadelphia (just don't call it "headquarters), where I believe I told the head of litigation that I would practice knitting law, if such a specialty existed. And I had lunch with Mr. Suspenders-Wearing Wanna-be-Partner, who probably will be promoted April 2010. I had a hard time taking him seriously. Especially when, two months later, he (as representative of the Philadelphia-based associates) sent a loin-licking memo to the executive committee essentially thanking them for observing wage and hour laws. ("O Noble Executive Committee, we beseech Thee and thank Thee for the condescension of Thy honouring of the productivity bonus program pursuant to which we each worked many hours for Thy glory. Lo, though we are not worthy of licking the sweat of Thy balls, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thee and make an offering of seagrass and pomegranates and our firstborns. Amen.")

I'm on the Associates Committee this year. And we'll be having none of that on my watch.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

February: chow chow chow chow chow

February 2009

February was a transitional month. It started with having to check which way the wind blew to know if it would be a "staying on our own" day, or a "joining a national firm" day. By month's end, Dungeon Master and Grouchy Partner accepted an offer from a national firm (which included offers for the lot of us), and a third partner, who had historically fought with Grouchy Partner about...everything, moved on to a somewhat sleepy local firm to tick out the clock until retirement.

In between, there was much stressing and maneuvering. I picked a position by the middle of January -- stay one our own -- and stuck to it pretty solidly until mid-February when the Dow went below 8,000. Then, my tune became "grab some big firm willing to pay us and let's go!" Dungeon Master and Grouchy Partner had the same reaction and by the third week of February, they had accepted an offer with The Firm. A week later, the decision to take us on had been ratified by The Firm and we were off to the races!

The plan was that we would start April 1, since that was the first day of The Firm's fiscal year. It was necessarily the case, therefore, that The Firm didn't send me a formal offer letter (i.e., let me know what they would be paying me) until about March 25 -- why minimize my stress, right? (And not surprisingly, their analysis of the market in which I work reveal that I was earning exactly what I should have been earning... Whatevs. I got a big raise this September.)

February also marked another court extravaganza. Dungeon Master and I had been litigating an investment banking dispute since December 2007 and trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday, February 24, 2009. The bad guys had been without a lawyer since November 2008, and sold off all of their assets in January 2009 (to themselves). Thus, when we went out for the "trial", we really just expected a damages prove up with which we could then go against the bad guys again.

And then, on February 20 -- the Friday before trial -- lawyers enter an appearance and want to rumble. So we basically had the weekend to prepare for trial because our on Monday left at like 7:00 a.m. What we thought would be a quick breeze through LA Superior Court ended up being a week-long trial.

And it was cool -- all the drama you could imagine because none of the regular pre-trial discovery took place (they were sanctioned for it, thank you). This caused quite a few white-knuckle moments: we didn't know what the witness would say, didn't know how the Court would rule, etc. (In June, we learned that we won, but that's Wednesday's story.)

To even out February -- I celebrated my 15th wedding anniversary with the Hubbins. I think I did a post about it.

Friday, December 04, 2009

I am Jack's smirking revenge.

January 2008

This month reminds me of my futile protest days of college. You know, back in '89 and '90, when the Spring Ritual at Hunter College involved taking over the East Building to protest budget cuts and tuition hikes. We acted like idiots, sure, but we acted like idiots together.

Fast forward to January 2008: everyone was thick in the shit, making a difference, and getting things done. Such esprit du corps. Dungeon Master showed that there probably was not a little man in his head controlling his every move with robotic precision; Grouchy Partner laughed regularly and lighted the fuck up.

I worked like a crazy person. When I wasn't saving clients from certain death through my amazing and creative lawyer, I was saving them by finding mystery files in former associates' offices and swooping in to save them from certain default.

It wasn't all wonderful. Dungeon Master stated to the Hubbins in early December that we needed him to give me up for like 2 weeks so we could right the ship. He promised that plans were in place to land us safely by the end of the year. He said that we need all the families to dig in and that we were in it together and we all will survive. He said I was one of the lucky ones -- they could afford to pay me a salary but it would be significantly less than I had been earning. But it was all short term anyway, just until the ship was righted. Two weeks, end of the year.

And six weeks later, we were still digging in and we were no closer to berthing the damn ship. Don't get me wrong, we had 2 offers to berth by year-end. But Dungeon Master and Grouchy Partner vacillated between moving to one or the other firm, and staying on our own, on a daily basis for another six weeks before deciding (in the last week of February) to move to one of the firms. During that time and still to this day, I heard an awful lot about what the Dungeon Master "promised" the Hubbins.*

One silver lining in all of this -- my client got sued and the adversary sought a prejudgment remedy. We had four days of hearings on the PJR application in January and ran up beaucoup fees. Why is this a silver lining? Because my deal while working with The Boys on our own was that I would be paid a huge percentage of money I brought in the door. So while I did not receive this payout until several months later, I helped me catch-up on bills.

Bronze lining -- through the PJR I discovered a new nemesis. Nasty adversary revelled in the fact that at our first hearing I had no malpractice insurance and could not defend. Instead of acting like a human, he treated me like the firm sent the receptionist over to defend against his dear perfection. I'm sure he thinks he is an enlightened liberal-minded alpha male, but this misogynist shit must be crushed. And luckily for me, he is a partner in a firm where another nemesis works.

When their time comes -- and come it will -- they can both be crushed at once. I don't dare dream that I can be the crusher. That would be.....bliss, but it is unlikely to come to fruition. But in their reptile brains, at that sweet moment of crushing, as they wonder what in their lives brought them to that inevitable point, I hope they remember me.
** If you employ me, never but never make promises to the Hubbins. I realize that I may be out when you call and you may be so enthusiastic about the content you wish to convey that you just want to explode. But, really, don't discuss the terms of my employment with the Hubbins. He works in a different world, where people are generally held to their statements. This is not to suggest that your statements were untrue - you believed them to be true when you stated them. But the Hubbins expects them to be true true. You have the right to remain silent when talking to the police. I suggest you exercise it.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I named these most recent additional 20 lbs I'm carrying "Marc"...

OK. I opened my trap and promised a posting today to a few of y'all. I had planned to do a cathartic year in review to mark the anniversary of Marc Dreier's arrest, and the subsequent immediate failure of his eponymous law firm of which I was an unfortunate employee and am now an unfortunate creditor in bankruptcy (I'm sure I'll be seeing that $14K check any day now). But, well, it ain't done yet.

Instead, I'll give you 12 months in 12 days.

December 2008

Today is the anniversary of the day that my office learned that Marc Dreier was arrested in Canada for criminal impersonation. He was actually arrested on December 2, but it was not until about 7:30 p.m. on December 3 that my office heard anything about it. And then all we heard was that he was arrested. I jokingly asked if he killed a prostitute. We all thought drunk driving. The next night was supposed to be our gala holiday part at the Waldorf=Astoria in NYC.

By 4:00 p.m. on December 4, you could see tumbleweeds in the halls of the New York office. By that time, Marc had apparently told his peeps in NY that not only was it true that he impersonated an attorney for an institutional investor in Canada, but that he has drained the firm's escrow accounts. By the time he was arrested at LaGuardia airport on Sunday, December 6, we learned that he had scammed hedge funds out of hundreds of millions selling them bogus promissory notes.

We also did not know if we were employed, if we would be paid on December 15, if we had malpractice or medical insurance (maybe, no, no, and no -- Marc hadn't approved paying the premiums).

After pleading guilty to something on the order of $700-800 million in securities fraud, Dreier is now serving a 20 year sentence in Minnesota, where I hope his heater does not work.

December ends up being the very worst Christmas season I ever endured. I can barely remember it. The details are fuzzy, what with the stress, the lack of sleep, the malaise, the fear, the risk to my family's well being. I cannot describe the extent of the stress I experienced then and since as a result of Marc Dreier. But it has resulted in a 20-lb weight I wish I gain, so I got that going for me...

I wish I could find some "True Meaning of Christmas" message in all of this. But I still feel actual physical pain from the stress of thinking about it.

I find his personal discovery and pleas for mercy revolting. I did not watch the 60 Minutes interview, but I lost a bit of my (already overtaxed) faith in humanity when I read in the Vanity Fair article that Marc Dreier's moral compass was really just another victim of the September 11th attacks on NYC. Just like the emergency workers dying from mysterious respiratory ailments, I suppose.

The Hubbins and I spent a day over Christmas break trying to take a breather at Foxwoods. Benazir Bhutto is killed while we enjoy a long-overdue cocktail.