What to Wear?

I emailed this fantastic line of Public Defender wear to some of my real life public defender friends across the country, but decided it deserved a little plug here too. Check it out and buy something for the public defender in your life (or yourself!).

Indefensible Reviewed

I have a hard time leaving my work at work. Sometimes it's a good thing - spending the night thinking about a case means that I might have a "Eureka!" moment in the shower and come up with a perfect solution for a case or a client. Usually it's a bad thing - I'll take a Sunday afternoon nap and have a dream about that crazy judge yelling at me for something completely stupid. And I know I can't be a good friend when I'm constantly thinking about work.

So, I try my best to forget work as I commute home. I'll stay at the office as late as it takes to finish whatever I'm working on, so that I don't have to think about it when I get home. Once in a while, I make a decision to bring home one particular assignment, get it done quickly, and try not to let it consume my night or weekend. And sometimes, like during the middle of a trial, it's just unavoidable - I live, sleep, eat, and breathe my case.

This weekend I did a good job of forgetting my cases and clients for two days. I went to the park with my friend and her kids, I played frisbee with the dog, I shopped for some things I needed, I cleaned up and organized a little bit, I saw some friends I hadn't seen in a while, I enjoyed a yummy lobster bake. And it wasn't until Sunday night that I thought, "Wow. I haven't really thought about work all weekend."

Unfortunately, I couldn't say that the weekend I got Indefensible. I started reading it one weekend, got totally absorbed and was halfway through it, when I finally thought, "I need to put this away, it's too much like work."

But that's a good thing. Indefensible is really well-written and gives a genuine taste of a day-in-the-life of a public defender. Immersed in the book, I felt pulled in ten different directions, the way I do on an average day. It includes the heartwarming cases that make me sigh and say, "Yes, this is why I do it," the victorious moments that keep me going ("I'd gotten my first murder client released without bail. It would be more than a decade before I was able to do it again.") and the truly frustrating, burnout-inducing cases that make me say, "Ugh, I know how much that sucks!" and feel glad that I'm not the only one who feels that way. Reading Indefensible made me think of clients in my past, wonder what happened to some of them, and mourn the fate of others.

But reality can be a good thing. Indefensible should be required reading for any law student or lawyer thinking about a career as a public defender. It amazes me every year when one or two completely naive new lawyers slip through the cracks and get hired at the public defender's office.

From now on, when some punk law student says to me, "I want to be a public defender," I can say to them, "Fantastic! You read Indefensible, right?" When someone says to me, "You're a public defender? So, that's, like, a prosecutor, right?" I can say, "Oh, You obviously didn't read Indefensible yet." Maybe I'll even send a copy to my mother, so she can finally understand what I do for a living.

I highly recommend Indefensible to other public defenders. It can be a lonely job sometimes, and it's nice to know that all over the country, there are lawyers working toward the same goals, surviving similarly looney judges, jumping the same hurdles, and just trying to survive the same kinds of days.

Just don't read it on your vacation. Because we all deserve a break sometimes.

Idio... Matic

Today's annoying client phone call came from a young woman who had a serious problem with her idioms.

"I'm just not going to go into court with my hands crossed, you know what I mean?"

"Um, no. Why would you cross your hands?"

"You know. I'm not going to go into this with my hands crossed. You know, my hands crossed."

"Um, ok, so anyway..."

Then later in the conversation:

"I didn't lie. I'm not going to bite my tongue. She's the one who is lying. She's going to have to bite her tongue."

"Um, no, I'm sure you're not lying, but..."

"Are you going to make her bite her tongue? She's lying. You're going to have to make her bite her tongue."

The conversation was full of these. I was so lost.

I tried so hard to stay in the conversation, but all I could think was, "No, lady, you bite your tongue when you try to hold back from saying something. You don't bite your tongue because you got caught lying."

And I have no idea what crossing your hands means. Maybe it means someone is talking about you. Oh, no, that's when your hands burn. Nevermind.

My Pathetic Real World Rant

Ok, I can't hold it in anymore, I must blog something about The Real World: Key West. And I know that my unhealthy obsession will quickly become apparent, but, here goes...

How freakin' annoying is Tyler? He's so rude, but he has the nerve to constantly complain about other people being inconsiderate? He is the first one to talk about other housemates (e.g. constantly bad-mouthing Svetlana and that stupid third grade book about the housemates), but gets so irritated about other people talking about him? (And, by the way, complaining to your mother when someone is being a total asshole to you is not the same as being a gossipy little bitch.) You're so "tender" and "sensitive?" Ever heard of don't dish it out if you can't eat it up?

But here's the best part. Or, maybe it's the most annoying part. But, either way... When Tyler was constantly picking on Svetlana, no one took her side, did they? Everyone went right along with Tyler. Especially Jose, who seems like he will just jump on any bandwagon. (I blame John to a lesser extent, because at least he usually stands up for himself.) But it's not so funny when you're the target, is it?

Oh, and now that the other housemates are pissed off at Tyler, he's sweet to Svetlana again? "Svetlana, should we put more spices in here? More basil?" She should tell him to fuck off.

The lesson we need to learn from these kids, who are definitely old enough to know better, is that it's never cool to make fun of people and no one likes a two-faced person.

Oh, and Tyler, your paintings sucked. And you're Olympian event was super lame. How's it feel when someone makes fun of you?

(By the way, if you were wondering where Paula Walnut's myspace page is, it's here. If you scroll down there is a really scary picture of her in a bikini, complete with anorexic rib cage.)

Good Luck on the Bar

A few years ago, when I was still in law school, one of my law school roommates graduated and went on to take the bar exam in another part of the country. I decided I wanted to send her a good luck card.

I went to the biggest greeting card shop I knew of, and I looked around for at least one "Good Luck on the Bar Exam" card. I found nothing. Actually, I found "Good Luck at Summer Camp," "Good luck on your first day of school," "Good luck at the dentist," "Good luck passing that kidney stone..." Good luck on just about everything EXCEPT the bar exam.

I asked the woman at the counter, but she just stared at me like I was a moron. Seriously. As if law isn't a huge industry. As if there isn't a market there. Go ask BarBri.

I ended up buying my friend a cute card that had some seriously hot high heeled leather boots on the front. On the inside I wrote something like, "You've got the right shoes - Kick some ass." And I thought to myself, not only is there a market here, but I could totally corner it.

Well, as with many things, I never got around to my bar exam greeting card business. Maybe someday.

But in the meantime, if you're looking for a pre-bar good luck greeting, check this out from Anonymous Lawyer.

You can't go wrong with the sentiment:
Anonymous Lawyer wishing you luck on the bar exam. Because it's not just a test of legal knowledge. It's a test of your value as a human being.
Send one to your favorite lawyer-to-be today!

Real World Update

Are you like me? Are you fascinated by this season's Real World? Especially that train-wreck of a Tonya Harding look-alike, Paula?

Do you wonder if she's just too unhealthy to make any relationship work, especially one that's already broken?

Do you wonder what will become of her - and her abusive relationship?

Well, here's a hint:
CNN.com - 'Real World' Cast Member Arrested - July 11, 2006: Paula Ann Meronek, 25, allegedly bit her boyfriend several times when he refused to let her into their home early Sunday morning, police said.

Fantasy Recap

It's a quiet day in the world of fantasy sports, at least for me.

Baseball is on the All-Star Break, and the World Cup has come to an end. (As if you didn't know that!)

In case you're wondering, my team, Pele in Pink, finished 2nd in the Blawger World Cup 06 League (I won't post the rankings because some people might not have anonymized, but I will say that whoever was in 1st led by A LOT. Go ahead and take credit in the comments if you want.)

Pele in Pink was also ranked 7,315 in the U.S. Really, that's not so bad! It's 90th Percentile! Which, I think is a good thing. (Or could it mean that I'm in the bottom 10%? Nah, let's be optomistic - It must mean I was in the top 10%.)

Unfortunately, I can't say the same for my baseball team. My team, the Pink Panthers, is ranked 10th out of 12 (and I just moved up from 11th, where I had been stuck for weeks). I'm convinced I need to come up with a better name if I'm going to improve... but what should it be?

The criteria: It should be something that takes into account my love for all things pink and, if possible, has something to do with baseball. Last year, my team was Caught Stealing (a baseball reference, and a reference to something that has happened to many of my clients.) And I finished 5 out of 12. This year, The Pink Panthers has no reference to baseball, and I'm ranked 10 out of 12. Should I go back to Caught Stealing? I was confident I'd be able to come up with something better...

Blog Therapy

In response to my post on The Ominous Omnibus, Anonymous Law Student asks:
Sometimes I can see myself as a PD....and sometimes I can see myself in jail for strangling some future client. How do you not totally flip out on someone like that?


It's because of this blog that I can have a sense of humor in these situations. Instead of gritting my teeth, or blowing up at my client and screaming, "SHUT UP! THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN OMINOUS HEARING! YOU'RE NOT A JAILHOUSE LAWYER, YOU'RE AN IDIOT!!!" I'm grinning and thinking to myself, "Oh yes, keep it coming, this is going to make fantastic blog material!"

I have no idea how public defenders without blogs get through the day.

On Faking It

Apparently, I'm not the only one who wonders if Ken Lay may have faked his own death.

In fact, this website has even released a fantastic "autopsy photo."

So, it's time for a blogpoll. What do you think?

Legal Advice from Lil' Kim

A friend informed me the other day that rapper Lil' Kim had been released from prison.

"Good," I said. "I hope she writes a song about it."

I even tried to come up with some possible lyrics:

Went to trial, against my lawyers' advice,
Next time I know I better think twice.

A little research reveals that she's already addressed the issue in a song:

Coulda copped out to a one to three do
Still took it to trial, even though I blew
Brooklyn style, that's how we do it
ill gangsters and ain't got to prove it

Ok, seriously, is this why all my clients with the worst cases want to go to trial? And what would your legal advice be - if you had to put it in rap lyric format?

Gross Mustache Man

I thought it was important for you to know:

I saw a commercial today for Geraldo Rivera.

And his mustache totally grosses me out.

It doesn't even move.

Yuck. He'd be more attractive if he glued a rat to his face.

That is all.

Weekend in Review

I had a fantastic weekend, and I'm back, rejuvenated and ready to face the week. Or, at least, the half-week that remains.

I'll give you a quick rundown of my weekend away...

I ate tons of food, all junk.

I saw two baseball games.

I saw 3 nights of fireworks.

I heard that song "Proud to Be an American," which, by the way, I hate.

I saw lots of really cool wildlife (and not in a zoo!)

I shopped, but didn't buy much.

I finished Indefensible (review coming soon!)

I received The Interpretation of Murder, but didn't start it yet. (For anonymity's sake, I had it shipped to a friend who I knew I would see over the weekend. But then, my friend started reading the book, and I couldn't get my hands on it all weekend. Which was ok, because I was finishing Indefensible.)

I saw The Devil Wears Prada. (Cute, but very different from the book. Maybe plot-wise it was better, but it was missing some of my favorite details from the book - like the doorman who always makes Andy sing.)

I thought a lot about an upcoming trial, even though I tried not to. I even had that dream I have sometimes, where I show up for school and find out the final exam is today and I haven't even opened the book.

So, with that, I'm going to go prep my case a little bit more...