Friday, April 27, 2012

Cue the violins

I finally got around to seeing "The Hunger Games" this week.  Am I the only one who noticed that Gale looks almost exactly like Joe Mauer?

Uh...weird... I think I'm looking at the same person...and the more I look at them, the more I'm convinced I'm looking at the same person.  Weird!

At any rate, that's not the only I'm thinking about lately.  Although it's still creeping me out...

Monday, April 23, 2012

It's my birthday today

YKW didn't bother to even acknowledge it. I didn't even get a text or email saying happy birthday from him.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Phone Hates Me

Text from my friend: Are you coming to church today? Should I save you a seat?
Me: Yes! On my way now!
Me: Where are you shitting?
Friend: Hahahahaha!
Friend: In the back.
Me: I'm going hell for texting that to you while you're in church.
Me: Left or right dude?
Me: SIDE. Left or right SIDE. Dang it...
Friend: I'm laughing so hard I'm shaking right now. We are on the left dude.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"...where everybody knows your name..."

I had another client today tell me that he had heard about me before becoming my client.  This one was a bit of a surprise because he isn't from the area where I work and where my clients are from, but he had still somehow heard about me. He even told me that he was from "far away" and that he had still heard about me.  And, like most of the clients who tell me things like this, he wanted to know when I was going to open my own firm.  This question always makes me chuckle a little, as if being a competent attorney and being a public defender are mutually exclusive.  The clients also seem to miss the obvious point that if I ever did open a firm, I wouldn't be a public defender anymore, which means they would not be able to have me as their attorney. 

I was bet surprised that this client had heard of me.  I have become aware of the fact that the clients in my area are often familiar with me/my name because it's a small area and the same groups of people are often in the system. And if they are in jail, they all talk, of course. So I did know that I've somehow gotten a reputation among the people in my area.  But it was very surprising to hear that people who aren't in my area have heard of me. That thought had never even occurred to me.

I don't agree that I'm somehow better than other public defenders, although some clients have told me otherwise. I think this is more of an illusion than anything else. I think two factors about me that I can't change cause people to think I'm better than I actually am. One, I'm the youngest PD we have. And I have been told that I look younger than I really am. Two, I'm a chick. I don't think people expect much from their deceptively-young-looking female attorney, so if I do anything competently, they perceive that to be outstanding. I still get asked how long I've been a lawyer and when I graduated school, so I think people must initially think the brand-new, completely inexperienced PD got assigned to their case. The bar is set so low for me, anything I do is above and beyond what was expected.

I don't do remarkable work on cases. I'm not on the front lines of novel legal arguments; I'm not feared by the opposition; I don't raise new or unexplored issues of law; I don't have some headliner case under my belt... I show up, probably a little haggard, talk to my client for a bit, and in 99.99% of cases, I get a deal for the client and help my client plead guilty to something. In almost 2 years of felony work, I've only had 5 trials and 5 contested hearings (although I have filed more than 5 motions, but I usually am able to get a deal that negates the need for the hearing). I really don't do anything magical or amazing or incredibly legally skilled. The reputation has to come from low expectations of public defenders in general combined with my age and gender. There is nothing I do that sets me apart from other attorneys or other public defenders. I'm just run of the mill.  I honestly don't know where clients  get the idea I'm some legal powerhouse. I mean, I'm glad my clients are happy, but I don't think they would be any less happy with a different public defender.

I suppose eventually the hype will wear off when I no longer look like the baby in the courthouse and people realize I'm just an average attorney.  In the meantime, it's very strange to have become widely known among those accused of crimes.  Strange demographic to become well-known in...

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to

My birthday is next Monday. Normally, I love my birthday. It's a day where I get to be extra special for the day. I have always enjoyed my birthday.
But this year, I'm having trouble mustering much enthusiasm for it.  I can't help but remember last year, when Hat surprised me with a sewing box filled with new sewing items.  It was an incredibly thoughtful gift (he has always been a really good gift giver) and really touched me.  He has even picked out thread for me in a variety of colors.
This year, I'm doubtful I'll even get a cursory text or email from him saying "happy birthday." Instead of a fun filled Saturday, I get a work filled Monday. I have zero plans for my birthday.
And I'm going to be 29. I realize that this is not very old. But it's the oldest I've ever been and it feels old bc it's my last year of my twenties.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Trial #3 tomorrow

Trial number 3 for 2012 starts tomorrow.  It's a misdemeanor DWI case.  I think it will be relatively quick, which is the benefit of misdemeanor trials.  They tend to be much shorter in duration than felony trials.  And there are only 6 people on the jury, which means jury selection is faster, too.  

I think I'm on track to outpace the number of trials I had in all of last year.  It's only April and I'm already at #3 for the year.  I had three total in all of last year.  So, if in the next 8 months I have another trial (which I definitely will, since I've got a number of cases that are on track for trial), then I beat all of last year's trial record.  Whew...

I've also definitely outpaced the contested omnibus hearings from last year.  Last year I had three of them.  This year, I've already had six, with two more still scheduled for this month. 

I'm a contesting-things machine lately.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Building Client Relationships 101

I flipped off one of my clients today. To his face.

That's a great lead-in, isn't it?! It's not really as shocking as it sounds, though.

I've had this client for nine months and will have him for at least another month. I've had two trials with him. Trials always involve spending a significant amount of time with the client to prep, so doing two trials means I've spent quite a lot of time with him.  He has always been friendly and polite and respectful.  I actually like this client and he has been one of the best clients I've worked with. He also has a dry sense of humor and likes to say things just to see what my reaction will be and/or poke fun at me.  I have a similar sense of humor, although I don't generally crack jokes with my clients. 

I met with him today for a few hours to work on stuff.  After he teased me about something, I flipped him off in response.  He thought that was pretty funny.  I guess most lawyers don't flip off their clients. 

Some people might call flipping off a client inappropriate.  I like to call it "rapport building."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Welcome to the Dark Side

We have a new contract attorney in the office.  She's delightful.  The best part is that she used to be a until about three days before starting with us.
Best quote from her so far? After.talking to her about my client, she said,,"He has so many good things going for him. Jail won't help him...I can't believe that just came out of my mouth..."
Ha! Awesome.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I promise I'm right on this one...

Actual conversation I had:

Woman (to me): Ok, so Mormons can't drink what now?

Me: Alcohol, coffee, and tea.

Man (to me): And pop, right? You can't drink pop. (aside--for any of you non-Minnesota folk, pop is our term for "soda," so he was asking me if Mormons couldn't drink soda)

Me: No, that's not true. We can drink pop.

Man (looking at me like I was very, terribly, sadly misinformed): Uhhhh, no, that's true. Mormons can't drink pop.

Me (sighing inwardly): Yes, we can. Some Mormons CHOOSE not to drink pop. It's not a religious doctrine or anything.

Man (dubiously): Are you sure??

Me (sighing inwardly again): Yes...I'm sure...I am Mormon, I would hope I know what I'm talking about.

...does this happen to non-Mormons ever? Like are people going around saying, "Oh you are Catholic? You guys aren't allowed to sleep on your left side. No, that is too true.  I heard that once from a guy I knew whose sister one time lived next door to some Catholics...are you SURE you can sleep on your left side? Where did you get your information from? Are you POSITIVE?? Well, I guess..."

Trust me, people, when I tell you that I can or can't do something. I mean, not to toot my own horn or whatever, but if I'm Mormon and you're not, I think it's a safe bet that I'm probably going to know more about it than you...

Yes, I drink Coke. No, I'm not going to hell for it.

And yes, I can also wear make-up, dance, celebrate my birthday, participate in major holidays, vote Democratic, and not support Mitt Romney.

Ok, I think that about covers it.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Winner, winner...

...chicken dinner!!

Just found out this week that I won my contested motion on three files.  Suh-weet.  It was one motion that was covering three files and I ended up winning in all three files and successfully had statements made during an interrogation of my client in those files suppressed.  Score!  Even though it was essentially just one hearing/one issue, I'm going to count it as three separate wins since it's three files' statements being suppressed.  That makes my contested omnibus record 4 out of 5.  Not too shabby.  Granted, it helps that my prosecutors are usually willing to discuss things I think may be omnibus issues and adjust their offers if needed, meaning we often don't need to actually contest many issues, but I'm also going to say it's because I'm kicking a$$ and taking names.  Because that makes me feel good about my lawyering skillz.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Can someone please deal with this so I don't have to?

This is my inbox. The stuff on top is all the new stuff that has come in over the last week.
There's so much crap to go through that I am overwhelmed just looking at it. 
So, that's why sometimes I'm behind on stuff for work...because that greets me every week and I've got to somehow find time to deal with it in between being in court all day.
Is it too late to become a trophy wife??

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Well, nevermind...

So, after much debating on my part and weighing of the potential pros and cons, I finally settled on Option B, living in an apartment closer to work.  I thought this might be a needed change of scenery for me.  Unfortunately, YKW still works at the restaurant that is literally 2 minutes away from my apartment, meaning that EVERY TIME I LEAVE MY APARTMENT I have to see it and be reminded of him.  So, even if I'm not thinking about him at the moment, suddenly, WHAM, there's his work and oooooh, yeah... So, I thought that, even though I don't necessarily want to live that far away from my friends and family, changing scenery might be a smart move...