Monday, September 5, 2011

A Renewed Sense of Purpose

I just finished watching Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father. I'm still crying, not only because it was a well told story about a terrible series of tragic events, but also because it hit home on a professional level.

Without going into details, two intertwined centerpieces of this documentary are the judicial and child welfare systems of Canada, and their failures in this particular matter. For those of you who have watched this movie, will watch it (WARNING: lots of tissues are necessary), or those who will simply read about it online, you witness Zachary's grandparents' anger and frustration with the courts and child protective services. I see similar frustration with my clients who are involved in any sort of court proceeding involving children. I've always empathized with their feelings, but as an attorney, I've never been able to divorce my emotions from the knowledge of the limitations of the law, the policy decisions behind the deliberate procedural slowness, and due process concerns, and reach a point of true sympathy. The emotional distance is a blessing and a curse, but this movie unflinchingly shows how it is a curse.

I venture to guess that a lot of attorneys, as well as other professionals, experience times when they are in a rut and don't feel the zeal that once drew them to work. I've been in a bit of a funk lately, not really related to work itself, but in trying to get the closing on my office building scheduled (slow bank + tight funds = tense me). I've just been a little more on edge as of late and I've not been as engaged with work as I like to be, and it's added to the emotional distance between myself and my clients.

Not to sound silly or cliche, but this movie has whipped me back to full attention, full engagement, and full vigor. I am an attorney, someone in whom others trust with their most sensitive problems, the problems that have gone on so long that they can no longer handle them alone. I provide people with information that I take for granted. I am in a unique position to help. Because I'm neck deep in it every day, and am around others who are in it every day, I sometimes forget that I'm in this unique position. But then I see something like this movie, and I'm reminded that I have the capacity- and the duty- to help.

Monday, February 21, 2011


As to be expected, a lot has changed on the work front since I last posted. Work is thankfully abundant, clients are paying as they are supposed to, and my husband's old job re-opened and he is back in a salaried position (which was our original plan when I first planned the office opening). I've gone from looking for a part-time job to bringing home more earnings last month than I was paid in a month at my last job. It's a great, fulfilling feeling.

Work has come from many unexpected places, like opposing counsel, parents of opposing parties, and old bosses. When you treat others with civility and in a professional manner, these positive traits rise above the argument of the day and these "opponents" trust you enough to send business your way. It's hard to remember to play nice while advocating for your client at times, but if you stay above the fray, it shows.

I know I have to keep hustling for the day this work slows down or dries up completely, but I'm confident that the work will come if I continue to take good care of my current clients. I'm a big believer in karma (and word-of-mouth advertising), so if I keep on keepin' on, good things are bound to come my way.