Archive for Lawyering

I’m baaaaaaaack…

Posted in Business Formal, Lawyering with tags , , , , , on April 25, 2011 by Jessica

So I’ve been an excessively recalcitrant blogger lately. My sincerest apologies. Work got crazy busy. And I took a (mini) vacation. And I lost my camera. And the dog ate my homework – I know. But now I’m back! I hope you all missed me.

Let’s mix things up a bit. I work in a business casual office (that is still currently in its month-long stint of casual wear). So it’s not often that I have reason to wear business formal. So I give you, ladies and gentlemen – a suit!

Every professional woman should have a favorite suit. I should say – not just a favorite suit – but one that makes you feel good, strong, and a total badass. This would be mine. I’m not sure what it is about this particular suit that makes me feel like a woman to be reckoned with, but I’m guessing it’s either the good, comfortable fit, the off-black color, or the subtle pinstripes.
And of course, the red shirt adds a little something extra to it. It’s not a shy color, to say the least. If you’re willing to wear a color like this, you have to be willing (or wanting) to have people take notice.

I wore this for one of my first court appearances. I do alot of mediations and courtcall hearings. Both are rather informal and relaxed. Mediation is, by its nature, an informal process and calling-in for a hearing just tends to feel less formal. For this particular set of hearings, I wanted to appear very classic and formal to help me feel and to remember to be more formal. Also, because this particular set of hearings was going to last most of the day and require me to run between multiple courtrooms, I knew I needed to be comfortable. So I went with my favorite suit and a classic button-front shirt in a bold color.

Now, it’s time for me to enter some billing and get ready for the craziness that’s to come this week (and watch some Law & Order while I’m doing the above). Nighty night!


Thoughts 7 weeks into my first job

Posted in About Me, Job, Lawyering with tags , , , on April 3, 2011 by Jessica

I’ll have been at my job a whole 7 weeks tomorrow. That’s 3 paychecks (with the 4th arriving Friday this week). That’s a sizable handful of hearings and trips to Ocala, Tallahassee, and Daytona Beach. That’s 35 days in the office and something along the lines of 280 hours actually in the office and 90 hours billed (cut me some slack, I’m new at this).

I’m starting to feel more confident with what I’m doing the more time that passes. It was only about 4 weeks ago that I was officially assigned my own caseload and expected to cover hearings. I find that the longer I am forced to actually practice, the more comfortable I become with it. That first leap into actual, real lawyering is a scary one – but making that leap is the only way to become comfortable with the job.

Don’t get me wrong – I still frequently have moments where I have absolutely no clue what is going on or what I should do. But I find those moments becoming fewer and farther between. I’m not longer walking into my supervisor’s office 12 times a day with questions – now I’m down to 3-4 times a day.

7 weeks into my first job I can say that I am happy and that I feel good about the caliber at which I am performing my job. There’s alot of I’ved learned and that I’m now comfortable with, but there is still much for me to learn and grow more accustomed to. All in all, I think this is going to be a good stretch.

Nighty night, readers!

Sometimes my job really doesn’t suck…

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , on April 1, 2011 by Jessica

It’s moments like this when I realize that my job is not in fact so horrible.

So the job has me trotting off to Daytona Beach today. Seeing as I was only scheduled to be there for one measly little mediation (which lasted nearly four hours tanks to opposing counsel getting stuck in tie-up in I-95 and difficulties getting my client on the phone) and by the time the mediation was done I wouldn’t be able to to get back to the office before end of business, it just didn’t seem right to leav Daytona Beach without seeing the actual beach.

Moral of the story: It’s okay to take a little personal time during a business trip. Particularly when doing so won’t affect your ability to do said business.
And while it would have been quite the sight to see me walking down the beach in a suit, I came prepared for such an opportunity. I packed jeans and flats to change into.

Now I’m back home after having sat through the most ridiculous rush hour traffic in Orlando, dropped off the rental car (for the record, the Nissan Cube wins the award for Ugliest Car I’ve Ever Driven), and stopped into the office to report the results of the mediation. I’m beyond exhausted. Nighty night.

Writing your firm bio

Posted in About Me, Job, Law Firm with tags , , , , on March 27, 2011 by Jessica

So this weekend I’ve been instructed to complete a task that requires finding that delicate balance between hubris and humility – writing my bio for the firm website. Thanks to the ladies at Corporette (scroll down to around comment 90 to see my question and the responses it received), I was able to get some advice.

Generally speaking, the theme of the advice offered was to check out what everyone else wrote.  Not including the bios of the higher-ups, most of the associate bios ranged from about 70 to 150 words. Some where very bare bones – where and when they went to school and when they were admitted to the bar. A few took a few more liberties discussing accolades, areas of concentration, or memberships.

Seeing the relative shortness of the firm bios written by other associates, I’ve found the greatest challenge to be keeping my bio brief. Rather than just stating an accomplishment or association, my instinct would be to describe it as well. But 70-150 words doesn’t give a whole lot of wiggle room for description. For the same reason, there’s also the issue of deciding which accolades and memberships to actually include. Thankfully the brevity of my bio should keep any over-the-top hubris to a minimum.

So this is what I submitted (redacted to protect the blogger’s and firm’s privacy):

Jessica C, Esq., is an associate at the Tampa office of [Law Firm]. Before joining the firm, Ms. Craven completed her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Florida in December 2006, graduating magna cum laude. Ms. Craven completed her Juris Doctor from [Law School] in May 2010 and was admitted to the Florida Bar in October 2010.

 While at [Law School], Ms. Craven received a Certificate of Concentration in Advocacy in addition to her JD. She was also active in the legal fraternity [Fraternity Name] and remains active as an Assistant District Justice.

Ms. Craven is a nearly life-long native Tampa Bay and currently resides in the area.

As a side note, Above the Law did a suprisingly informative and non-misogynistic piece on Law firm Bios back in October 2010 – What’s Wrong With Your Law Firm Bio?

Thoughts on starting a new job

Posted in Job with tags , , , on February 13, 2011 by Jessica

So tomorrow is my first day at the new job. I have to say, I’m rather excited. I do admit that my excitement was immediate and I’ve gone through a whole range of emotions to get here.

First: Excited
There’s the initial excitement at getting a job. Jumping up and down. Doing the happy dance all over the house. Calling/texting/emailing everyone you know to announce the big news. It’s a big f—in’ deal and you’re incredibly happy.
There’s the excitement of starting a career and having that first grown-up job. It goes without saying that I’ve worked really hard to get my law license and to see all that hard work finally lead to the end goal. And to finally get to feel like the grown-up my age suggests.
Aside from the obvious reasons, I’d been unemployed for quite sometime. For those of you who have never had the experience, long-term unemployment can be quite demoralizing. When I graduated in May, I set what I thought to be a very reasonable goal of finding a job by the new year. Well the new year came and went. Add that to the fact that I was the last from my circle of law school friends to find a job. As I was pretty down on myself about the whole thing, it made the high of finally landing a job that much more higher.

Second: Nervous
So wait, I have to be an attorney now. I’ll have my own caseload, clients, supervisors, and hours to bill. Responsibilities. As excited as I am to be starting my career, I’m suddenly nervous about all that responsibility. The responsibilities of being a grown-up seem like minor cares next to the ethical and moral responsibilities of a lawyer. Someone’s case will rely on me. Suddenly the nervousness at having all these responsibilities is making me scared that I can’t handle it. Which leads to…

Third: Scared
Will I be able to handle my responsibilities? Am I cut out for this? Will I be a good attorney? Heck, will I even like the place? OMG OMG OMG!!!

Finally: Excited again.
And then back to the beginning. Eventually either the fear fades or you realize that the fear is part of the excitement. Excitement with just a dash apprehension is what makes up an adventure. And who doesn’t want an adventure (excitement)? Part of the fun of the adventure is not knowing how it will turn out (fear). And the only way to find out is to show up. So I will be showing up at my new adventure – bright and early tomorrow morning at 9:30am.

Introductions are in order…

Posted in About Me with tags , , , on February 11, 2011 by Jessica

It’s nice to meet you. My name’s Jessica. But since we’re friends, you can call me Jess.

So why am I here? I don’t mean in the existential sense – why am I here writing a fashion blog? Well I’m a lawyer and I like dressing like one. And I like fashion. Those are good reasons, right? In all seriousness, I do enjoy getting dressed in the morning. I look at it like a puzzle – putting all the pieces together in just the right way to create the image you desire. I’ve learned that conveying the image that I desire – authoritative, professional, and fashionable – is not that easy for a few different reasons.
(1) The law is a very conservative profession which expects rather conservative dress. Most lawyers spend their work days in business casual or business formal or somewhere in between. This leaves only so much room for creative fashioning. And if you’re going to be in the courtroom? For-get about it.
(2) I have some body and fit issues that make dressing its own challenge. I’m short, busty, and I carry some extra weight through the middle. It’s not easy to dress like a good professional lady when I have a hard time finding blouses and blazers that will contain my ample bosom or when stores carry a measly stock in my average-woman size 12. But challenges aren’t excuses for not trying your damnedest.
So I’m here to talk about dressing like a lawyer while trying to look fashionable yet appropriate for my career and dressing my far from cookie-cutter body. And maybe I’ll talk about the law every so often. Or whatever else I feel like.

But a little bit about me personally before we continue – I’m a lawyer. I graduated from law school in May 2010, passed the bar exam and was admitted to practice in October. Thanks to the craptastic economy, I only recently obtained a job. In fact I start Monday! And I’m super excited.
Let’s see, what else? Well, I live in Florida and have my entire life. I live with my dad – I know, far from cool or grown up. But this girl just finally got a job and I gotta save some money (in addition to paying off my ridiculous student loans)! I have a darling and awesome boyfriend named Alex. I have to say, he’s pretty swell. He goes to school part-time and works full-time. And I have some pretty great friends too.

So to wrap things up, just for fun –
Things I Love: Red or leopard print heels (but not at the same time – that would be tacky), Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Buns ice cream, lawerying, Being from the South (except for the heat and humidity, I can live without that), Old Crow Medicine Show, Agatha Christie novels, Law & Order, the University of Florida Gators, Mad Men, Long walks in the evening, and Crocheting (again with the lack of coolness)
Things I Don’t Love: Rush hour traffic, Stores that have yet to realize that the average American woman is a size 12 and not a size 2, paying for shipping, People who don’t dress up for court, Reality TV in general, Paying off student loans, Florida heat and humidity, the Florida State Seminoles, Indecisiveness, Hippies, and Early mornings (particularly when they lack coffee)

See ya’ll next time!