Friday, August 22, 2008

you can lead a horse to water

As usual, I've come home from OKC horribly nostalgic and contemplating the future of my career. This hodgepodge of schooling/teaching/part-time practice has gone on for a while now, changing only its proportions, and it sounds appealing to be more focused and just do one thing.

So tonight I was playing piano and trying to get closer to sorting out my goals. My thoughts were, generally speaking, "why do I hate litigation?" (I have always felt like my failure to fall in love with litigation was some kind of personal failure)

And then I remembered something.

I remembered Mike's first deposition.

When I first started working at the law office, Mike was a recent graduate still a few weeks away from swearing in. I can remember details of Mike's first big litigation case after becoming a lawyer. And I remember the day he took his first deposition. All suit-clad, Mike and Jeff and opposing counsel and the deponent went into the conference room. And a couple of hours later, opposing counsel, the deponent, Jeff, and an elated Mike emerged.

Mike had been brilliant. There was a kind of cosmic high-five in the air as the guys relived the highlights of the deposition. "What about the one where I asked him . . . ?" And they laughed and told us about the deponent's sheepish squirming.

Mike had crossed a bar, taken on a mantle, carried a torch. And succeeded.

I also remembered my first deposition.

I remember feeling distinctly much much much younger than everyone else. I remember wishing I was the court reporter instead of the attorney. I remember getting all of my exhibits confused. And I remember being so, so happy when it was over.

The redeeming thing about the day was that I spent the afternoon assembling a new bookcase for my office, moving books, matching colors, and running to Target for Windex.

I had crossed a bar, taken on a mantle, carried a torch. And sheepishly squirmed back to the tranquility of my office to play house.


Daniel Jackson said...

Huh. Was that the same sort of thing you felt with your Prof. Ward tutorial? Or was that a different phenomenon?

I know the "get me out of here, I want to go back to my [zone of comfort and familiarity]" feeling all too well. I've found, though, that if you force yourself to spend enough time in an uncomfortable place, you can create a niche that makes the uncomfortable parts seem tolerable. Eventually, people can't even tell: it just looks like you're good at most things, and extra-specially good at your "niche tasks" (rather than retreating into them from the tasks you're horrible with.)

Then again, the bigger (more hair-pullingly confounding) question is always "what does HE want you to be doing?"

Peter said...

Emily, that is a funny post . . . at least for anyone who has had to take a first deposition and still remembers it. I remember mine and I remember being pretty scared about it. I think if you do it long enough, you get used to it and it is no longer scary. But taking depositions in civil litigation can seem pretty pointless sometimes. You just want to shake both parties and say "why can't you two grown people get along!"