Tag Archives: litigator

WIPLA June Cocktail and Networking Reception (6/9)

Join WIPLA at MacArthur Park Restaurant in Palo Alto from 5:30-7:30  p.m. this Thursday (6/9) for cocktails and friendly networking with your fellow female intellectual property litigators from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Register here.


Why I Like Being a Lawyer

My last post was about “Why I Don’t Like Being a Lawyer.”

In the interest of fairness, here’s what I do like about being part of the profession, alongside quotes from the “classic” movie Clueless to help make my points.  (I know I said that film portrayals of lawyers are completely inaccurate, but arguing out of both sides of my mouth comes naturally).

  • Lawyers, judges, law enforcement – or anyone really – don’t intimidate me. Having done everything from conducting criminal grand jury investigations to winning showdowns with pompous, blow hard civil litigators twice my age and half as qualified, to me the legal system is not the abstract mystery that most laymen regard with cautious curiosity.  Plus, I know I can usually argue my way into or out of anything – including returning the Dior sunglasses that have been sitting in my trunk for over a year to the store, no questions asked.

Mel (Cher’s father): You mean to tell me that you argued your way from a C+ to an A-? 
Totally based on my powers of persuasion, you proud?
Honey, I couldn’t be happier than if they were based on real grades.

  • I like being my own boss. As much as I complain about life as a working mom in my Dilemma Diary, it sure beats punching the clock and having someone dictate when I take my breaks and for how long.  Even though the  job is 24/7 , if I need three hours to hit the Neiman Marcus Midday Dash or go home to see my kids, no one will bother me as long as I meet my deadlines and am taking care of business (whenever that might be).

Cher I felt impotent and out of control. Which I really, really hate.

  • It’s nice to be part of a traditional “profession.” I enjoy being part of a *somewhat still* respected occupation.  So the profession still suffers from an Old Boys’ Club syndrome, but being part of something that has roots steeped in rituals and rites from days of yore makes you feel like you’re a part of something more.

Josh (Cher’s ex-stepbrother): Do you have any idea what you’re talking about? 
Cher: No. Why, does it sound like I do?

  • Most people are afraid of me. Say you’re a lawyer and no one will mess with you.  Period.

Cher: Daddy’s a litigator. Those are the scariest kinds of lawyers. Even Lucy, our maid, is terrified of him.  He’s so good he gets paid five hundred dollars an hour just to fight with people, but he fights with me for free ’cause I’m his daughter.

  • It pays. Okay, not every attorney earns six figures, but chances are if you wanted to, you would be able find good paying work as a lawyer.  And if all else failed, you more than likely would be able to parlay your skills into another decent career and still bring home some sizeable bacon.

Josh: I was thinking about looking into environmental law.
Mel: Why? You want to have a frustrating and miserable life?
Cher: Oh, Josh will have that no matter what he does.

  • You can make a difference. Sometimes you’re keeping the streets safer; sometimes you’re saving the environment, a company or a life; and many times you are fighting for what’s right and making it happen.  That’s a powerful reward in and of itself.

Cher: It’s like that book I read in the 9th grade that said “’tis a far far better thing doing stuff for other people.”

Today’s verdict: It’s too soon to throw in the towel.  (And I clearly need to grow up and out of the 90’s).

Why I Don’t Like Being a Lawyer

Just when I thought I was achieving some sort of work-life balance, or at least getting over some of my working mom guilt, opposing counsel reminded me today why I don’t like being a lawyer.  Forget my dilemma whether to be a SAHM or stay in the workforce:  today’s encounter makes me rethink my whole decision to stick with a legal career period.

Dealing with an East Coast (insert explicative here) lawyer on the phone and in e-mails over the past few days, I have had the distinct pleasure of of being yelled at, belittled, spoken to in condescending tones, called a liar and anything else unpleasant you can possibly imagine.  I’m a civil litigator, so I suppose occasional run-ins with (insert same explicative here) attorneys is just part of my job.  But my tolerance for these discourteous exchanges is wearing thin.

Yes, you could say that as a litigator, I am paid to argue with – even yell at – people, but the best lawyers know that civility trumps rudeness and pettiness in the long run.  All of my mentors have practiced this way and I, myself, subscribe to the same philosophy.  The problem is you can’t pick your opponents.  You hope that you’ll be paired against a worthy adversary, but more often than not you are faced with a pompous idiot who wants to argue until he’s blue in the face.

On days like today, I think of all the other things that I would be happy doing instead of sitting at my desk on the receiving end of some ridiculous, infantile rant to which my recent opponents are so often prone:  editing, writing, designing, decorating, running my own stationery business.  All of these other professions would still allow me to be a role model to Jane, even though technically, I might not be a “professional.”  With all the career choices available to women nowadays, who’s to say that being a doctor or a lawyer is a far superior career than any other.  I do enjoy being part of a traditional “profession,” but perhaps not enough to keep at it.  At least not in my current role.

Today’s Verdict: Quit altogether.