Drug of Choice

If you were handed a hundred cases that are all serious felony trial cases, some of which need extensive motions or briefs, most of which need legal research and investigation, and they're all on for trial in two weeks, and you were supposed to be on vacation next week, I think there are a two approaches to choose from.

First, is what I think of as the "xanax approach."  Take a deep breath, fight the anxiety, tell yourself, "I'll do what I can do, but I can't do any more than that."  Chill.  Use your favorite stoner as a role model. It's just a job. No matter what happens, you won't be the one to go to prison.  And, perhaps, keeping a cool head will allow you to approach will help you pull through it with a cool head. 

Second is what I think of as the "speed approach."  Use your anxiety as a tool to work without food or sleep.  Get to the office earlier and stay later.  Rethink that vacation.  Hey, going into the office when you're supposed to be on vacation isn't so bad, is it?  It's kind of fun when you go to the office for a few hours on a Saturday, think of it that way.  Even better, you can work at the beach, or wherever you were planning to go on vacation, it sure beats working in the office, doesn't it?  Forget your family or friends you were planning to spend time with. If you are cranky or rude to your family or friends, that's ok, it only goes to prove that you take your job seriously and you care about your clients. 

So, which are you? 

I'll admit, my approach is generally the "speed approach" but I strive to find the "xanax approach," or at least a little bit of the xanax approach.  Aside from an actual prescription for xanax, I don't know how to find that zen mindset.  I guess you try to take it day by day, remind yourself to calm down and take a deep breath.  If someone has more tips for finding that balance of productive tranquility, I'd love to hear it.

To be fair, there may be a third approach that I have seen.  That involves just whining and complaining about how unfair it is, and how must work they have to do. I suppose that maybe that's part of the speed approach, but I think their time spent whining may be better spent getting the work done. Or, you know, blogging about it.

14 comments:

  1. Ever meet anyone who wants to be respresented by the Xanax lawyer? Me neither. Even the Xanax lawyer wouldn't want someone with that approach as his lawyer.

    Doing the job right goes with the territory, because the alternative, really, is not doing the job at all.

    Bitching and blogging about it are just fine, of course-the bitching part is even necessary.

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  2. Out of curiousity, in your jurisdiction, can you have the trials moved on the basis of your vacation?

    While I do not live in the one wondrous state (Virginia) that REQUIRES all attorneys to take a two weeks of vacation a year (a requirement I tend to think all states should consider), most judges in my county are pretty good about re-scheduling things. (However, I don't do criminal law, but civil and domestic, so I am rarely running up against a time issue, like, 'right to a speedy trial.')

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  3. Required to take vacation??? We're barely allowed to take a vacation. Basically, you can't take vacation when you have a case scheduled for trial, or the week after, because you never know when a trial might take more than a week. Considering how many cases we handle a year, and how often they're on for trial (the DA is always allowed to be on vacation when you cleared your schedule, of course), you can't take vacation. Ever.

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  4. What about the Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence approach?

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  5. Wow. I just found your blog, and it made me smile. I am a lawyer/Mommy. I have two daughters (Therefore i love the pink!). The third solution is to outsource. I have spent the last three years writing briefs from my home so other attorneys can go on vacation, or get a decent night sleep during trial. In fact, my most relevant client spent his day at the beach today while I worked on post verdict briefs and letters to Court. So the third solution is to find someone you trust, and can write a decent brief, to help you through the tough times.

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  6. Whining about it would be my option of choice! So what happened with your vacation? I really hope you were able to take some time off.

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  7. This article is a great source of information, you Pictured the things really well. Keep it up and keep blogging.

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  8. You make it entertaining and you still manage to keep it smart. I cant wait to read more from you. This is really a great blog.

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  9. Nice article, thanks for the information.

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  10. Vacations are requiered in my industry. Not because of any altruistic reasons but because people who never take vacation time are often doing so to cover up illegal activity.

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  11. So, how do you like law so far? I am a 2L and, frankly, scared to death that the jobs do not exist.

    It seems that, for the most of us, we get a long vacation after law school which is called 'unemployment'.

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  12. Wow, I think that must have been very tough. Reading posts such as these made me believe I made the right choice not to pursue law school. But of course, that decision dogged me for several years now, which made me consider if I really made the right choice. But anyway, going back, you guys hang in there.

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  13. Unfortunately this is the reality and law students should read this post, not as a deterring reading but to know what to expect and build strength for it in time. Another important part is who you choose to be your lifelong partner. An understanding wife/husband can surely give you a few moments of that "xanax" feeling. And let's stop there with the family topic.
    Maybe some government legal positions are not as demanding as some private practice positions are.
    I wonder if the word vacation is included in the legal dictionary. Actually I'm going to check that now.
    Thanks for the great article.

    Best,
    John.

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  14. I often do not comment on blogs but your blog has such a method and writing model that I have no choices but to remark here. Nice submit, keep it up.

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