Trials and Tribulations

Posted on | April 7, 2010 | 12 Comments

Oh boy. April is shaping up to be one hell of a month. (What?! Lent is totally over. I can cuss if I want to!) First, this week I will be having my first Workers’ Comp hearing. It’s tomorrow morning so forgive me if I don’t have anything exciting to say until mid-day… and then it might be “Oh God. I suck at my job.” But at least I’ll post something, ‘kay?

Second, I’ve mentioned it before, but I have my very first jury trial coming up on April 19th. For those of you who are not lawyers… this is a big deal. For those of you who are, this is a freaking big deal. A BIG DEAL. A jury trial. Twelve people. Selected by me. Who have to sit and listen to me spout my wisdom on a car wreck and why they should, well, vote for my client. I’m fantastically terrified.

I say fantastically because, well, being a trial lawyer is a rush. There’s no denying that. I think it’s probably a little similar to the rush you would get from skydiving, only safer. That being said, I will freely admit that I usually have serious pyrotechnics in the ladies room prior to these types of events. When I was in law school, I did moot court. I was apparently pretty good at it… and I say that not because I want to toot my own horn, but because I am still really surprised by that fact. I both loved it and hated it all at the same time. It was so terrifying to stand up and not know if my voice was going to work or my legs were going to support me or if, God forbid, I was going to pee a little out of pure fear.

But then I would start talking… and by the end of minute one, I would be in such a zone that I didn’t even care anymore. I was having fun. It was an adrenaline rush. But I had to get through minute one to get there.

Trial work is different. It’s not a continuous exchange of ideas the way moot court is. It’s more of a stop and start. So I have a lot of minute one’s to get through. I’m scared I’ll never find my rhythm. Mostly, I’m scared that the partner who will be sitting in with me will come back to the office and laugh heartily at my expense.

I can handle a lot of things… but I don’t like being laughed at. Well, unless I’m being intentionally funny. I’m the proverbial “can dish it out but can’t take it.” I hate criticism. I hate mockery. And I hate, hate, hate people pointing and laughing. So I’m super afraid that I’ll get that from my jury, my judge, my opposing counsel, and most importantly, my co-workers.

I’ve always had the motto “Laugh at yourself first.” So usually I make jokes at my own expense to save others the trouble. For example, when I was in 5th grade and totally seeing a psychiatrist, (what, that’s not normal?) I would sit at the lunch table and tell stories to my friends about how I was seeing a shrink. They thought I made it all up… little did they know.

When I had my first magistrate court hearing, I came back to the office and told everyone how bad I did. I shared the fact that, yes, I totally called myself “The Court.” Myself. The Court. Not classy, folks, not classy. It made the Judge smile. It made me weep inside. And it made everyone at the office laugh. A lot. But that was okay because at least I told them before the partner watching me had the chance!

I’m really wondering what sort of crazy mishaps I will talk myself in and out of during my trial. It could get ugly. I am trying to keep myself calm by saying “Self, you made a person. You MADE a person. What could ever be harder than that?” I would like to say that those thoughts are totally working and I feel a lot less pressure but that would be a lie. You would think that I could realize that one day out of my life is nothing. It will be 24 hours long no matter what I do… but I’m still terrified.

I never thought my parents were capable of real fear when I was growing up. I mean, they were parents! And now, I’m a parent… shouldn’t that mean I’m immune from petty fears? Apparently not. Apparently I will still have my normal “OMG lock the door to the bedroom because I think I just heard a noise” fears… they’ll just be compounded by the whole “Don’t let anything happen to the most adorable son I have ever had in my whole life, kay thanks” thing.  And as a lawyer? I have all the added “don’t screw up or you might lose a client and oh by the way a partner will totally be watching you and taking notes” stress. It’s a good thing I don’t stress out easily.

Oh wait….

Eh. Eff it. I’ve got Zoloft, right? 🙂

Anyhow, sorry for the mostly legal post. The moral of the story? Send positive energy. Send chocolate. And as of April 20th? Send booze.

Comments

12 Responses to “Trials and Tribulations”

  1. MrsPatterson
    April 7th, 2010 @ 12:34 pm

    I'm a newer reader and I just wanted to say that I was so glad to see a "legal" post. I've always been interested in law, but not enough so that I would have survived law school. So while I love all your posts, I especially love the ones that talk about your job! Oh and also, I'm also of the "laugh at yourself before anyone else does" school. I totally related to you in this post.

  2. Eliza
    April 7th, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

    You are going to do great! I'm sending lots of good positive vibes your way, and as far as the booze and chocolate…I'm on my way!

  3. Sara
    April 7th, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

    Just popping in to say good luck, momma!

  4. Anne
    April 7th, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

    I feel you! Scary as hell, yet thrilling. I know you'll rock it out 🙂 Let us know how it goes!

  5. Ashley
    April 7th, 2010 @ 2:02 pm

    Thanks for this funny and honest post! My husband is a lawyer and he doesn't share much about his emotions.(you know how guys are!) This was great insight into what might be going on his head when something big is coming up at work. I am sure you will do great, you've got the right attitude!

  6. Cindy
    April 7th, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

    Good Luck!! You will do great! I used to think my parents were fearless also!

  7. Not There Yet
    April 7th, 2010 @ 2:57 pm

    Go, Go, Go – you are going to do great! I was once a juror in a jury trial (2nd degree murder). What own me over was the defendants attorney's sincerity (and the lack of facts from the prosecution) and he made a great case. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

  8. Rebekah @ Mom-In-A-Million
    April 7th, 2010 @ 3:00 pm

    I think "I made a person!" is a perfectly acceptable closing argument. It could go like this: "Jury,you know I'm right about all this stuff. How could I be wrong? I made a whole person! I have superpowers! Vote for me! Booyah!"

    I bet the partner would LOVE that.

  9. ~*Jess*~
    April 7th, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

    AH! I'm so excited for you. Most I've done is a small claims case in a podunk court outside of Dallas. Um, they do not give a shite about the rules of evidence or anything else for that matter. Only that they are buddies. I lost, and found out that the firm knew I would. Thanks guys.

    Anyway, ROCK IT tomorrow. Vote for Elle!

  10. Carol
    April 7th, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

    Karen – you are going to do great at trial!! And, you will probably make at least one mistake…just like every other lawyer who has ever tried a case!! Just look at what I did in my last one – blew the opportunity to give the last closing argument because I did something idiotic!! I still love the idea of arguing in your closing that "I made a person" – I'm pretty sure your opposing counsel is male and he will have absolutely no argument in response to that. Just see if you can throw it in there somewhere and see if anyone notices! 🙂 You will do GREAT!! And we will definitely go for a drink when its over!

  11. Kiki
    April 8th, 2010 @ 1:20 am

    I love hearing about the "legal" part of your life.

    You'll do great!

  12. Cybil
    April 8th, 2010 @ 10:53 am

    You will be awesome! I have absolutely no doubt! I am marking my calendar for 4/19. (btw – I cracked up out loud at the "pyrotechnics in the bathroom comment – LOL).

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