Sunday, May 16, 2010

Trial Mode

If ever there was a time "work/life balance" goes out the door, its when in, or preparing, for TRIAL. In less than two weeks, I'll be flying to the Lone Star State for a two-three week stay for TRIAL. I've never felt so conflicted . . . on the one hand, the thought of leaving my little family for three weeks makes me want to vomit (and pray for settlement) but on the other hand, I feel like I SHOULD be excited about this opportunity. I am, and chose to be, a litigator after all. Trial . . . is what litigators live for? Right?! And, at BigLaw, trials are rare, and this would be my second in my short career - great opportunity, right?! But still, I'm left with the fact that I literally have more work to do than could possibly be accomplished in the time I have, I am in the office on a Sunday, while my family is home cuddling and playing, and I am overwhelmed to say the least. It's times like these I question whether I can, or WANT, to do this all long term, and I hate how it all makes me feel. I WANT to be a valuable part of my trial team. I WANT to be a star associate, but I just don't know if I have it in me anymore. Or if its worth the time away from my family.

When I was a first-year lawyer, I spent a month away at trial, and that was hard . . . very hard. Hard to be away from B. That was pre-Bean (well, actually, I was prego, but we didn't know yet). B obviously understood where I was, and why I had to be away. It makes me sad that Sammie B is too young to understand that, and I worry that she'll just wonder where the F mommy went. And that's hard. I also billed 330 hours that month, and felt like I was going to die by the end of it. Yes, it was exciting, yes it was a great career milestone, but dammit, it was hard. Can I do this long-term? Do I want to? I used to, but now, I don't know.

After that trial, B and I talked about how we'd handle TRIAL with a babe. I knew I wouldn't want to go away from my kiddo for so long, but I assumed I'd just take the baby with me, and bring my mom, or B's mom, or some combo of both, along to help out. I didn't know that I'd have a Bean that would need therapy 3x per week. I can't take her away from that (or her Daddy!) for three weeks, so that's no longer an option. Proof positive that no matter how much we "plan" or think we know how we'll handle situations, life just keeps coming at us, forcing us to adapt and re-write our plans over and over. My mom will come to CA for part of the trial period, which is nice. The issue isn't that I worry about Sam. I know SHE will be in GREAT hands (daddy's, my mom's and our nanny's). . . I JUST HATE the fact that those hands will NOT be mine.

I'm operating on the hope that I bill like a maniac all of June b/c of this trial, and then can cruise through July and take some time off to spend EXTRA QT with the little fam, and that that time will somehow make up for the time lost to trial and trial prep. I know I'm lucky to have the opportunity to be at BigLaw. To be a well-paid associate handling challenging cases and learning from some of the best. I know that. I'm learning a TON. But that doesn't make the time away from my family any easier to stomach.

So, now, back to work. No doubt Sammie B and Daddy will do something wild and fun today . . .

(P.S. Don't report us to Child & Family Services; she didn't actually drive; he didn't even MOVE the car . . . we just let her sit there while someone else moved their car so he could pull in our garage; and yes, my husband has completely hi-jacked my women's Fendi sunglasses b/c he likes them better than any pair he's ever owned).

1 comment:

Proto Attorney said...


I hear you on the trials, whew, crazy exhausting. And to be away from the fam for so long totally sucks!!! But it's not like trials happen that frequently, and overall, it seems like your work has allowed a lot of flexibility for your family life, so that's good. I remind myself of that a lot, whenever I get mopey about my job taking me away from home. I get plenty of quality time with my munchkin, I don't work 70 hours a week, I have flexibility, I love what I'm doing and getting great experience.

Good luck at the trial!!