It's been approximately one year since I started working as an attorney. Of course, I was not technically an attorney yet. I had my son during my third year of law school, took the bar, took three months off, then started at a mid-size litigation firm in downtown Seattle. It was exactly what I went to law school to do. I loved the firm, loved the people, and they agreed to let me work 7-4.
But, I did not want to go. In fact, I begged my husband to convince me to stay home instead. I loved those three months. Yes, I was bored silly. I started emailing law firms, hoping they'd send me writing projects, begging my old lawyer friends to come over, only to be a little shattered when they showed up in ironed clothes and I was covered in baby food, usually the kind that leaked from my body.
But I went, and it felt wrong with every single ounce of me. Yes, I wanted to work. But add a commute to that and I was away from my little guy for 10 hours a day, five days a week, when everything went right. We had an ideal child care situation, a live in au pair who was very talented, but he cried and cried and cried. Frankly, so did I.
I made up my mind after about three months that I was going to find a part time job. I wanted $XX an hour, a schedule from like 8 to 2 M-TH, Fridays off, to keep doing litigation, as much unpaid vacation as I wanted, the ability to work from home, and a supportive boss. It had to be close to home. Oh, and I wanted the opportunity to go to court occassionally. And it had to be civil, no criminal work (this would be easy to find in criminal if I lowered my salary hopes.) My friends and I had great laughs over this plan.
I started aggressively seeking part time work. I had one interview, it was not close to home, the pay was horrible, and the expectations unrealistic, at least for a newbie. Every where I asked, people told me the same story - part time work is a dream job, it's something you earn. Try in five years. Five years? Great, so much for enjoying my baby.
This carried on for months. Somewhere in there, one of the partners sent me to court on a motion I was supposed to lose. The thing was, I won. Then he sent me on another. I won. I've now won five in a row and am currently undefeated. Suddenly, other attorneys - more experienced attorneys - started asking ME what I thought. At first I laughed - hard, thinking, how nice they were to try to make me feel good. Then other started asking me questions. Huh.
Then, they gave me a trial. Trial work is my dream. No one in civil litigation, at a big firm, gets to do a trial their first year. Ok, some people do, but it's not normal. In fact, I know people who have practiced civil litigation for YEARS and never tried a case. It hasn't ended yet, so who knows if I'll win this one, but I love my clients, they are wonderful people who deserve to win. I close the case Monday.