Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving.... What are you grateful for?

I love Thanksgiving.  For one, it is the holiday that remains untainted by commercialism.  But most of all, it is a time that we can reflect upon the things that make us grateful and thankful.  I have so many things to be grateful for this year.  I have my family, whom I love dearly, and whom without I would not have graduated from law school.  I am grateful that I live in this incredible country, where freedom is paramount, and prosperity is determined by the grit and the ability to dream that is inside of each of us.  I am grateful for the men and women who sacrifice to fight for and protect this great country.  I am thankful for the things I have, for the things that will be, and for the person I have become.  I am even thankful for the experiences, both good and bad, that have made me into the person I am today.

Today, as I reflected on where I am, I was grateful that for the first time in seven years, I did not have to study!  LOL.  Great feeling.  Here is wishing each of my readers a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving.  Make a list today, a grateful heart list --- and enjoy time with family, friends, and/or your children.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Varying State Laws

I am on vacation in Colorado visiting my sister who is based at Fort Carson.  I love traveling to different states and seeing the different laws.... This trip has given me lots to think about because not only am I in a different state, but I am staying on a base -- which means that federal law, not state law, governs.  This was an interesting concept to me.  As you enter the gates of the base, there are many legalease wording on huge signs -- part of which is all the things that you consent to merely by entering the base.  Things like complete vehicle searches, consent to buccal, blood, or breathalizer tests for any purpose or reason without probable cause, and many others.... It's amazing to me the rights as a civilian I give up merely by visiting my sister.  Or the rights that she gives up by having a dwelling place on this base..... mind boggling really.

State laws are just as interesting to figure out.  You can still talk on a cell phone and drive in Colorado, you can still purchase sudafed without a prescription (gonna load up before going home), and U-Turns, yes they are allowed... There are more, but those are the few that come to mind.  What is most amazing is that you really can break a law without realizing it and be penalized for it...... Bonus though, speed limit is 75 mph from the Idaho border to Colorado Springs, Co!!!! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Not If, When

One thing about going to college while your child is young -- the importance of education is instilled in your child.  They watch you learn, struggle, and place priority on education.  College becomes real to them.  My daughter does not talk about "if" she goes to college, she talks about "when."  As a seventh grader, she focuses on her grades, and she is already researching colleges.  Her current passion is dance and she says that is what she wants to do, but she is also realistic and wants a "back up" plan.

What is incredible to me is talking to her friends.  They have none of that drive or focus.  College is something they might do, and if they go, it's social and maybe some working.  After much deliberation I have come to the conclusion that while there are lots of sacrifices being made, one of the pluses or blessings is that I have not had to work at instilling the value of education in my daughter.... she knows it.  When, not if.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Taking a Road Trip!

This coming Thanksgiving, I am taking a road trip.  First one in years, and the first one with my daughter since she was a child.  I am so excited.  This post really has nothing to do with law school, more single parenting I guess.  What I am excited about is that I am visiting my sister, niece, and nephew.  They live on a base in Colorado.  I want to see what base life is like... and I want to talk to a MP on base!  LOL.  I know there is a whole federal law issue and the MP's control.  I am really interested in how the military structures it's laws.

More than that, I am fascinated by the fact that it is federal land and so therefore, no state tax on the base.  My mom has tried to explain what it is like.  There are commissary's like giant, sterile, WalMarts with everything you can imagine, gas stations, restaurants -- this absolutely fascinates me.

Blogging, Facebook, Twitter and Hiring....

A lot of you who are following me have blogs that you write.  I would place a bet that you are on Facebook and possibly Twitter as well.  We are part of a society where we can publish, easily, any thought that crosses our mind.  We can add pictures, link articles, tweet our latest thought, pet peeve, or irritation. 

So, now that you have decided to embark on your law school journey and your life as a lawyer -- take a look at what you post.  Anything embarrassing?  Any pictures you would not want your grandma to see?  Any really bitchy comments about the classmate sitting next to you?  Because if there are, you might really want to start censoring yourself to a degree.  Law schools are starting to take a look at your Facebook, blogs, websites.  Law firms will google your name and look for you before interviewing you.

For me, I have nothing to hide!  I am who I am, and what you see is what you get!  My personal facebook is on lockdown, but more for security purposes from a past ex who is half-crazy---not because I would be ashamed of what anyone would see or read. In fact, my posts are boring and my pictures are cute Halloween outfits of my child, nieces and nephews!!!

Also, remember the power of words.  What you say about yourself and how you speak of others.  Someone recently reminded me that a lawyer only has their reputation.  This reputation must be guarded at all costs.  We don't sell a product, we brand our names --- and a good lawyers name implies integrity, trust, wisdom and truth.  If what we post implies something different, it can come back to haunt you.  If you post something about a fellow student, friend, or even a co-worker, than you are tearing down their reputation.  And would we want the same done to us in reverse?

It's never, ever too soon to start working on this. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mommy Daughter Night

Wow! I wish I would have thought of this during law school.  Tonight I took my daughter to a high school play and we had a fabulous time.  We saw 12 Angry Jurors (I think I chronicled this as a MUST see for a legal movie in a past blog entry).  What was wonderful about this is a) it was cheap and good entertainment.  That's right, for 10.00 total, we were entertained for 2 hours and pulled into a wonderful story.  b) We supported the local high school by purchasing the tickets and watching high school students do something they were talented and passionate about.

Even better, this was a wonderful teaching moment for my daughter.  More so because of the subject matter of the play.  This play was set in the jury room, after jurors have been sent to deliberate whether a young man of 19 was tried for killing his father.  The play cleverly centers around "reasonable doubt" and what it means.  This opened a wonderful conversation between my daughter and I about jury duty, why it is important, how it works.  I was able to point out to her what would really happen and what would not happen in a jury room.

And even better, we now have a list of upcoming shows at the high school.  We decided to go back for a showing of Hairspray in January.... at 5.00 a ticket, and a talented bunch of kids, it provided a wonderful night for both of us!  A win-win!!!!

Going back in time

The other night, I volunteered to be a witness for one of my 3rd year law school friends who was competing in the Don Turner Moot Court Competition.  I walked into the school and it was weird.  What felt like home to me for 3 years, well it didn't anymore.  It was like walking into a house where I use to live, but finding someone else living there.  I wasn't expecting that feeling.

I had a blast playing witness... perhaps my friend should not have asked a graduated law student to play witness for her!  I really quibbled at many of the questions.... gave the opposing team quite a hard time in controlling me.  If they did not phrase a question right, I would correct them... batted them around a bit and it was funny.

My friend and her team mate rocked!  However, the other teams motion in limines cracked me up.  First they said they wanted to exclude photos of the victim because they were prejudicial and they weren't there to argue that she was shot, just who shot her..... then they argued they were prejudicial.

I giggled... like out loud giggled....... Rolled my eyes and was really trying not to laugh (I don't think I should ever judge).  Why did I giggle?  This trial was a MURDER trial.  Her death is at issue!!!!!!!!  Oh goodness, seriously!  And of course the pictures are prejudicial.

Then there was an objection to an admission of a handwritten letter -- but really what they were objecting to was not anything other than credibility -- who do you believe?  I was on the stand at that point, I had given my friend everything she needed to lay a firm foundation. 

Oh, and I delighted in saying at the end at least three times, "The defendant shot my daughter!" HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then there were the questions, "You thought this, didn't you Mrs. Wilson."  No, that is not what I thought... totally hilarious!!!!!

I don't know if I helped or hurt as a witness, I do know I had a blast doing it! 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Veteran's Day

Today, if you know someone that is serving, or has served this great nation -- please tell them thank you.  These brave men and women fight to preserve the constitution, protect our country, and safeguard our freedoms.  And sleep better at night, knowing there are marines, army, navy, air force, and coast guard soldiers that are keeping watch over us.

And a big thank you to their families who sacrifice as well.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Family in a Small Firm

Small businesses usually mean family business.  Even if only one family member owns the business, usually others work there.  Now, for 10 years prior to law school I worked for my mom.  My sister worked there too.  I now have a new appreciation for employees who have co-workers who are family members.   One thing to think about is how it will be working for family members.  This can effect your own dealings with co-workers and your employer.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Client Confidentiality

You are taught from day one in law school that client confidentiality trumps all else.  There are very few exemptions to this rule.......... at all.  Unless it is to prevent an imminent crime (there are a few others) you keep your mouth shut, and your lips sealed.

Today I ran into my first real moral dilemma.  One thing I did not think about is that an injured worker is at his most vulnerable.  They are off work, dependent upon the worker's compensation insurance to pay time loss.  But what if the insurer denies the claim, and it drags on for months?  What if they literally are now broke, with no capital to borrow from for day to day expenses?  When they are so demoralized that they just have no sense of self anymore.  What if they are mentally in not a good place?  How do you help them without breaching confidentiality --- these are issues you have to deal with.  They are real and they keep you up at night.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Phew........... What a last couple of weeks....

What a busy 2 1/2 weeks of learning a new subject:  first in the statutes, then in admin law, and then, finally calling on my legal resources and friends who knew about worker's comp law.  I scrambled, fell into bed exhausted, and was ready for any 2 minute break I could snatch.

But I learned some valuable things..... my firm is AWESOME.  I had to call down to another office and talk to people I had never met.......... they were so supportive, helpful, and wonderful.  I CAN figure things out when they seem like they are incomprehensible....

I also learned that I can screw up potentially big time, and there is NO WAY I would open up my own solo practitioner office UNTIL I learned all the ends and outs of figuring out of running a practice.  For instance, I assumed (not the word) that turning over discovery was prompt or "reasonable" in WC like in other areas of law.  Nope..... it's 7 days in my state or it can be objected to and not admitted as evidence.  I should have known better and looked, but I did not.  (btw, that could be a legal malpractice issue if a client lost because evidence was not admitted).