parens binubus

more than you want to know about a law school graduate/bar examinee who is also raising two children and doing her best at being a partner to her love.

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  • Saturday, October 29, 2005
    Intermingling of Seasons
    While we were doing this inside:

    (Thing 2's creation, but mostly my efforts)

    (Thing 1's work and creation)

    (And mine - Thing 1 was very upset with
    me for not making a "scary" pumpkin
    this year - but who asked her?)

    And all the while -- it was doing this outside:

    In October? But Trick-or-treating day is forecast for 70 degrees. Phew.
    posted by Zuska @ 6:46 PM   2 comments
    Monday, October 24, 2005
    a surprise
    it felt very anticlimatic. i'd already convinced myself that things had gone differently. and i was truly fine with it. i didn't convince myself that i was fine with it - i was really fine with it.

    and then today, i got a phone call. my final summer associate chance that was still hanging out there came back as a yes, rather than as a no.

    I was not so very excited after i got the call. I had been working up a list of small and medium sized firms for some self-marketing potential. Plus, my day at school today was soooo intense. My project is now 15 pages, but today, the third draft, it was supposed to be 20. But since my client tried to back out, and is presently in Egypt - apparently never to return, it's *acceptable.*

    I think my excitement is growing, though. I'm gonna take the job.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:34 PM   0 comments
    Tuesday, October 18, 2005
    Who Am I and What Am I Going To Do With My Life??
    Should this be a 3L question? Am I, in classic Zuska-style, Freaking Out Prematurely?

    I received in the mail today a rejection letter from what I thought was my best-chance call back interview. One I thought went well. I knew it was coming, and I am thinking that more are behind it.

    There are several potential reasons that the Interview Process did not go well for me. One is that I'm old, and I have kids, and I am not as "mold-able" or as "available" as your class summer/first year associate is. Another is that I went to a mediocre (at best) undergrad institution, and a Not Top Twenty Law School. Another is that I do not present as the "Corporate Type." Another is that I have a shitty personality, and interviewers hate me. Another is that I am not a size 4 with "post her picture on the welcome page" beauty.

    I am going to pick the ones I find most likely: I do not present as the "Corporate Type," (i.e., I'm a wee bit of a hippy-type), and I am not as "available" as many firms would like their starting out people to be. Oh, and I do think that the institutional strength had a solid role there.

    Regardless of the reason(s), I do not think that I will be a "summer associate" this coming summer. That is the way it is looking. I do not feel very upset. I do not feel like a failure. There is a certain element of rejection -- they picked other people, and they did not pick Me. But I know the people they picked, and I know that my grades (oh, excuse me .... Evaluations) are a bit stronger than the Picked, and I know that I have more life experience than the Picked, and I know that I have less focused Corporate Drive than the Picked. Oh yeah - and they're at the same law school as me.

    So I do find very little to beat myself up about.

    But now I feel like I need to start thinking a bit more about my post-law-school goals. And that's not easy.

    There is a lot out there that interests me, in many different fields. Yet I can't help but to stress over the fact that I can't AFFORD to take a selfless community servant position. I didn't just leave a $45K/year job (as a stupid legal assistant) to then spend $150K on law school, to then come out making $28K/year!!

    In 10 years .... um, Thing One will be a Sophomore in College, and Thing Two will be sending off her applications.

    I have three more co-ops that I can use to explore different fields. To make more contacts. But I want to make plans NOW. Also, I feel like there isn't so much of a pipeline into the smaller firms, and the mid-level employment options. My school has a lot of major connections to public interests positions, but the mid-range stuff ... not so much. I suppose I've read somewhere that most law schools have this problem -- they cater to the larger firms in their marketing and on campus interviews -- but I would think that Progressive School Numero Uno would have a different game plan. But the Summer Associate program is given a LOT of attention. A LOT. Career Services did just send out a very nice (??!) email to all of us 2L's saying that they know that many of us did not get the interviews or offers we hoped for, and that we need to understand that the process is very arbitrary, and that there are so many more applicants than positions, but that we're all *really bright.*

    That was so NICE. I think that will pay for at LEAST one year of my children's college.

    I am very impatient. You would think I could outgrow such things.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:41 PM   1 comments
    Monday, October 17, 2005
    Week 8
    I can't believe this is my 8th week out of 11. I have only 3 weeks left to this quarter.

    It can't come soon enough, I think.

    Overall, I'm pretty sure I regret teaching this class. It has consumed my time in a way that I could not have fathomed before I was living it. I have not been able to devote myself to my other classes in the way that I would like. I have had more stress than my entire first year.

    Perhaps if it wasn't coinciding with the insanity that is interviews, it would have felt more do-able, but .... that's not the way it happened.

    I know that there are positives from this experience - probably positives that will come with me for the rest of my life. But right now, they don't seem worth the negatives.

    Next quarter that I am in school (which starts in March), I am going to take 5 classes. They are going to be so delicious. I am going to take Education Law, and I'm going to take Employment Law, and I'm going take Land Use, and I'm going to take [either Advanced Family Law Litigation OR State and Local Government] and I'm going to take Corporations (ptooey) and I'm going to do a clinic ... a Certiori Clinic ... Death Penalty appeals. Um. That's 6. So I'm going to have to make some decisions (which the class schedule usually does for me).

    Last night, I was reading Advanced Crim and Family Law, but all I could absorb from them were the types of theories that I am immersed in for the Class That I Am Teaching. Family law was addressing the different approaches attorneys can take while representing clients, either "I'll do whatever you want me to do, as long as you pay me," or "I must explain to you all the negative consequences that may happen to you, your children, and the structure of your family if we proceed in the way that you *think* you want to proceed, because you, dear client, are unaware of the impact that litigation can have on a co-parenting relationship." And all I could think was, "oh! we should excerpt these, and put them in the text for next year!"

    Then Crim was about jury selection, and whether the jury should be a cross-section of the community, and if that means that striking black jurors is a due process violation, and all I could think about was the various "default perspectives" that a diverse jury pool could bring to the fact-finding process.

    I think it is a new way of thinking that is very solidly ingrained in me now, and I think it's positive. At the start of the quarter, it seemed so ... business-esque, like in a cheesy sort of way. That I would start talking about "deliverables" and "stakeholders" and "psychological contracting" and "working agreements" and and and ... I've managed to take the concepts without the abhorrent (to me) vocabulary. Once or twice I was talking to my Beloved and I said some gooey phrase, but only once or twice.

    Perhaps this entry made me think that this Class that I am Teaching isn't all negative. But it's still been a rough road. I can't wait until it's over.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:17 PM   0 comments
    Sunday, October 09, 2005
    The wedding is over. I am back home.

    It was sad to have such a short visit with my sister. But I think anything less than permanent will be a sadly short visit with my sister.

    The wedding was not easy. It was both harder than I thought it would be, and not as hard as I thought it would be.

    It was harder, because on the day of the wedding, my brother chose ME!! as his scapegoat for all the stress he was under, and I got screamed and yelled at. I found it grossly unfair, but for the sake of his wedding, and for his now-wife, I fought my instinct to pack up my kids and go home, calling my Beloved on the way to tell him not to get on the train. I let it go. I said, "oh, I understand.

    It was not as hard as I thought because the wedding itself turned out to be kind of fun. I had many martinis. So did my sister. Fortunately, my Beloved is responsible, and he is a full-blown adult. He also hadn't gotten screamed and yelled at during the day, therefore relishing the opportunity to decompress. He drank Coca-Cola, and made sure us three girls were okay. He Is The Best.

    Now I have 2 days to write 2 papers. I think I'll be okay.
    posted by Zuska @ 2:43 PM   2 comments
    Tuesday, October 04, 2005
    Winter Seems Situated
    I believe I am set for the Winter. It has been a hard process, but the decision is pretty much Made.

    I had decided not to work for the Child Advocacy place (2 blocks from my home!), because of its similarity to the summer I had just spent. I'm looking for a Winter of Writing, and this place wouldn't have given me that.

    Then I interviewed with a local D.A.'s office in the Appellate Unit, and I *loved* it. Oh, I loved it. I loved the description of the work, I loved the people (or at least one of them - who was the boss - so that's important). I felt a slight chatter at my shoulder about working to Keep People In Prison, which is not something I really have thought of doing since I was a Republican, but the work seems so great.

    When I got that offer, I was planning on taking it. I canceled an interview with a firm, and had decided that's it. I'm taking that job.

    But then I received a call from what was my first choice. The local chapter of a nationally prominant civil rights advocacy group (trying to remain anonimous). They hadn't gotten to me sooner because they recently moved and my school didn't have their new address, and so they didn't receive the materials, but "we're really interested in you!" So we had a quick phone interview, and I was given an offer.

    So. I'm pretty sure that's where I'm going. It's constitutional issues (1st amendment, pro-choice, gay rights, post 9/11), which would be my DREAM of a career focus, but seems so unattainable. Having this opportunity is just fantastic for me. Plus, they actually pay money. The D.A.'s office doesn't. This Rights Group is just work-study, but it's -- money. It also will give me more than enough of a Winter of Writing. Constant Writing.

    I am sad to be turning down the D.A.'s office. I really liked them. I wish now that I had SIX chances to do co-op, rather than just 4. I still want to try and work for a federal judge, and I'd still like to get a Summer Associate, and that's .... it. I may scrap the federal judge, and see if I can't do the D.A. next winter. And perhaps I will get rejected by all Big Firms, and will therefore be free for something else in the summer. We'll see.

    I wish this wasn't so bittersweet because of the required rejection of another really fun thing. But I am grateful to be in the position of choosing between two things I'm really excited about.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:51 PM   3 comments
    Every word that I type looks *wrong* to me right now.

    I am not happy with this semester thus far. I feel as though my substantive classes are getting short shrift in favor of all the interviewing and all the meetings that are required by the Class That I Am Teaching. I have Mondays and Fridays with no classes, and they were meant to be time to spend working on the paper/project that goes with that Class, but instead, they're spent going from interview to interview and then from meeting to meeting.

    I missed all 3 of my substantive classes on Thursday due to a Call Back Interview, and I will be missing them all again this coming Thursday due to My Brother's Wedding. There were no classes today, in honor of Rosh Hashanah, so I'm really missing two in a row.

    I don't think this puts me too far behind, realistically, but because of the holidays, it feels like I haven't been to class in forever, and I FEEL like I'm pretty behind.

    I have a paper due in Family Law on Tuesday, and I finally this past week have gotten to where I feel like I'm in decent shape. I have not, however, been able to connect with my professor - due to interviews and days off - to be sure that we are on the same page. So I need to just cross my fingers and hope that I have anticipated what she meant when she said, "why don't you start with this case, and see what's happened since."

    Fortunately, interviews are almost over. I hope I can then really focus on my substantive courses. Evidence is slightly confusing for me, and for some time now, I've wanted to sit down and put all the rules on notecards, so I can be conversant according to Rule Number, rather than Vague Concept. It hasn't happened yet. Perhaps on Thursday, a day off, I can get that done. Or started.

    I am also taking Advanced Criminal Procedure, which I really enjoy. I feel very capable of being able to happily catch up in that class, and to still do well on the exam. It's a take home. Pick it up at 8 a.m., and drop it off at 5 p.m. No sweat!

    Family law is all papers. I really like the class. I had a hard time with one class in the beginning, where we were speaking of incest. My professor sort of casually threw it out there that men who marry women with daughters do not seem to have the filter of the stigma of incest when it comes to sexual activity with those daughters. This bothered me. It affected me deeply, since I have two daughters, and my partner is not their father. I had to sort of struggle through that personal bruising in order to get more "into" the class. There are several times where I feel it is coming from a more conservative place in the idea of family and marriage than I live. But I still find most of the issues fascinating, important, and applicable to most people's lives.

    I am really craving the opportunity to delve into these classes more than I have thus far. I can't believe I'm already in my 6th week of school. Since we're on the quarter system, that does mean that I'm more than 1/2 way through. The quarter is only 11 weeks. So I have 5-6 weeks to pull it all together. I am going to think positively now.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:36 PM   0 comments
    apparently, anything is better ... quiz results!!
    U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, appointed by
    G.H.W. Bush, 54 years old
    Lots of recent buzz for Judge Williams, known best
    in constitutional law circles for writing the
    opinion that said the Miranda warnings are not
    constitutional requirements. The Supreme Court
    reversed her. If you can't beat em, join em!

    New World Man presents: My favorite candidate for the Supreme Court
    brought to you by Quizilla
    posted by Zuska @ 10:29 PM   0 comments
    Sunday, October 02, 2005
    Out and About with my Second Born
    Today was Mall Day. The ear piercing went swimmingly. No tears, no stress. Just click, click, done. Thing Two's friend was a delight to have around, and they couldn't wait to finish suffering through my irritating, "let's just go in this one last store" so we could head home for play time.

    I have slowly been making my way through some Family Law cases this weekend toward writing that 7 page research paper. I have not touched the materials pertaining to my Project for The Class That I am Teaching, but that's okay. I will get to it. Eventually.

    Tomorrow is an interview. Jesus. I feel like Interviews are my life.

    I told my Beloved I hope I get this summer associate position that I just interviewed for even if ONLY for the fact that it will mean I don't have to interview anymore!! If I don't get this summer associate position, or the position I'm interviewing for on the 12th, I need to do a full blown Summer Co-Op round of interviews. Again.

    My Beloved and I had irritating little arguments all weekend. Not even all weekend - starting last night. I think it was the most recent where it got just downright comical. I was giggling in the bathroom at some of the ridiculous-ness that was coming out of our mouths. I love him very much, and sometimes, I make him angry, and he deserves to be angry, b/c I'm annoying, and I'm messy, and I can be crabby. And sometimes he makes me angry. But I love him very much, and I think he is the most supportive and respectful and intelligent and fun and considerate and loving person I could ever hope to be with. So I hope I don't make him angry too much.

    I called both my parents this evening to say Happy Anniversary. It is their 34th wedding anniversary. Their "baby" is getting married on Thursday, and so their lives are rather consumed with that planning and excitement right now.

    My sister called me to say how excited she is to see me on Thursday. I have not seen her in a year. That is very strange, since we lived first in the same state for several years, then in the same HOUSE for some months, then on the same STREET (in different houses, that time) for some months - and then I moved across the country. But she is wonderful, and we get along fantastically, and I miss having her in my every day life. She's in my every day THOUGHT life, but that's not the same as walking to each other's houses barefoot to borrow some ketchup. I mean, really.
    posted by Zuska @ 9:51 PM   0 comments
    Saturday, October 01, 2005
    Out and About with my First Born
    Thing One and I went to see a movie today. We saw The Corpse Bride. I really liked it. When I saw the previews, I thought it would be much like Nightmare Before Christmas, because the animation looked so similar, and in the preview, there were places where there seemed to be similar characters (i.e., the brother and sister skeletons in CB seemed like the trick-or-treaters in NMBC).

    I was very pleasantly surprised. The movie was very well done, very different from NMBC, and in general, a delightful experience.

    Then we went shopping. I didn't buy much ... we got some pens in an art store - her for drawing, me for note-taking. I bought a wrap to go with my dress for the wedding (but when I got home I saw it does not match at all, but it's still very pretty, so I'll keep it), and she bought a book with her birthday money.

    We had a nice time together. The movie let out about 10 minutes after the Red Sox game ended, which is all of 5 blocks from the theater we went to, so we were afraid we'd be packed onto a train like a couple of sardines (and then I get nervous -- in a ninny-sort-of-way -- that we'll get separated, and I'll never find my darling daughter again), but surprisingly, the MBTA had actually thought about and planned for increased traffic, and trains were lined up in a row waiting to come into this station (which is THE Red Sox station ... the Fenway Station!!), and while we did not get a seat, we were far from jam-packed.

    Tomorrow I have some planned time with Thing Two and her best-best-best friend in the whole wide world. We are going to the Mall (which I/we NEVER do!) to get her ears pierced. I have reserved a zipcar so that I can venture into suburbia with all the fixins, and I have made an appointment, and we will go and adorn my child with her first foray into piercing.

    I offered Thing Two to get her tongue or eyebrow pierced, so she could join in the piercing fun. I believe she walked away from that conversation quite sure that her mother is insane.

    She may be right.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:21 PM   1 comments
    what we saw in Vermont

    This is Thing One somewhere along the trail to the Overlook. We thought that the fern-filled clearing was beautiful.

    Thing Two at the Overlook. She was not scared to be up there. Unlike her sister.

    More of the river! My Beloved did a pretty good job catching the rapids.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:56 PM   0 comments
    Interview Update
    First, Wednesday:

    I had the interview with the child welfare place. I was underwhelmed. I think it is mostly because of the timing in relation to the co-op with the family law judge. And, as much as their specialty is child welfare (as opposed to straight divorce-type of family law), their specialty isn't exactly what my ideal would be. They also came off as much less of a "public advocacy group" than as a "group of sole practitioners using non-profit status for their benefit." There is also some word around school that some of these attorneys are NOT easy to work with.

    It would be a position that requires me to drive around in the car of the attorneys a LOT, to make a lot of phone calls, and for most writing to be writing reports ... not memos, not motions.

    I am due for a writing co-op. The Judge over the summer didn't give me writing, and I feel like I need something other than my Legal Practice memo for a writing sample.

    Right now, their proximity to home and the girls' school is not outweighing the negatives I walked away from there with.


    I had my first call back interview. It went much better than I would have hoped. I think it had some to do with the fact that I was interviewing with all partners, rather than younger-than-me associates. I think that the younger-than-me associates who came on campus were less than thrilled with me as a potential peer. Partners may not get that feeling from me. One of the negatives of being 10+ years older than my classmates, and than recent graduates. The "click" isn't there. Not without more than 20 minutes.

    But out of 4 partners, I think that at least two of the interviews went excellent, and the other two I think went very well. We'll see. I liked the firm. As I walked in for the interview, there was an announcement that they (a 9-office firm) are about to merge with a local Boston firm, increasing the Boston office (where I'd be) by 200%? (from 100 to 300 attorneys). I knew the news was coming, and both the firms have similar "cultures," and both were optimistic that their culture would survive the merger. I remain optimistic.


    I will interview with the criminal co-op for the winter. Right now, I'm optimistic about THAT one. They only asked to interview two people from my school, and the other has gotten an offer from somewhere else -- an offer that would be hard to refuse if it were me. I may therefore have a very good chance at an offer for this position.


    My brother's wedding. I bought a dress after my call back interview on Thursday. I love my dress. I am very happy.

    Next Tuesday:

    I have two papers due. I have barely started on either. One is more formal than the other, but both have me stressed. I'm trying to focus on the more formal paper for this weekend, so I can hopefully get a chance to speak with my professor either Monday or Tuesday to be sure that all is well, and then I can wrap it up over the wedding weekend, and spit out the less formal paper.

    In the meantime, I missed all 3 classes in honor of the Call Back Interview and Wedding Dress Shopping on Thursday, we have no classes on Tuesday due to Rosh Hashanah, and I am missing again on Thursday for the wedding. Probably not good, but the fact that I'm not too stressed over reading for classes while stressing over papers is probably a little good.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:43 PM   0 comments
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