Friday, June 25, 2010

Return of the Trial Mama

I'm BACK!!! Trial ended (by settlement the morning of closing arguments, after the team had pulled an all-nighter to finish closing :o)) last week, and I came home (exhausted) to a super super happy little girl. After three full days of sleep, I finally came out of my post-trial coma, and have enjoyed a fabulous week home with my little family.

Trial marked a huge change in perspective about work and my career. For the months leading up to trial, I was PETRIFIED about having to be away from Sam for that long. I dreaded it, and didn't know how I'd possibly do it. I thought about switching firms -- trying to find a smaller firm, with more local clients, just to avoid this prolonged time away. When that didn't pan out (I interviewed, but nothing really "clicked" - I got call back interviews, and even an offer, but turned them all down), B said to me exactly what I needed to hear: yes, it would suck, but we'd suck it up and get through it. So that was the attitude I went into trial with . . . I'd suck it up, and we'd all make it through it. And a friend told me, "if you have to be away from your family, make it count, bill those hours, and kick ass!" THAT became my mantra.

And as probably is typical, the actual experience wasn't nearly as bad as I'd built it up to be in my head. Yes, I was homesick. Yes, I missed my family. We skyped daily, and I usually disconnected from the call with tears in my eyes (and I cried even more when B told me everytime he sat with her at the computer, she started saying "mamamama".) But, I also felt (for the first time since Sam was born) fully and completely committed to my work. With a "let's win this" attitude. For so long now, I've started to see work as something I HAVE to do, and I lost sight of how much I actually LOVE being a litigator. How much I love the pressure, the excitement, the challenge, all of it. One of my favorite moments as a lawyer is always when I realize I know a certain area of the case better than anyone on the team, and getting to use my expertise to push our case forward. Our trial team was an amazing group of people, and working at BigLaw allows me to work on exciting, challenging, big cases, and to learn from some of the best litigators in the country. That's an opportunity I worked very very hard for, and I'm not ready to give that up. I also worked very very hard to build up the credibility with them that allows for my flexible schedule and working from home when I need to for Sam's appointments. So, all told, I think I have it pretty good, and I'm feeling pretty darn lucky.

So, while doing it all certainly won't EVER be easy, I hope my renewed positive attitude and excitement makes it, at a minimum, easier. I also billed enough hours to deserve a few weeks off, and I'm taking 'em! I've been home with Sam all week, and we are having a great time together. I find it hard to just stay home and sit still, so we've been running tons of errands in between therapy sessions :o) but just enjoying each other.

Reflecting on trial, I still am sad that trials take me away from my Bean and my B -- but I just hope that I (we) can make it all work, somehow, someway, and that I set a good example for my sweet Bean. Because no matter how much I love my career, or how much I love winning (which the settlement was indeedy a "win" for us) . . . I'm determined that my sweet girl will NEVER be shortchanged because of it.

So there it is . . . I'm back! And with a new attitude that so far, suits me well!

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