Thursday, June 13, 2013

And a job well done.

I don't know everything about all areas of the law. And I have to say, I'm exposed to new things all the time. The Florida Bar requires us to be competent in the matters we give legal advice, but even if there's something we don't know, we can make ourselves competent by researching, reading and learning in many circumstances. Still, if it's something I'm doing for the first time, I double check, I triple check, just to make sure I'm not forgetting something, and yet there's a nagging discomfort that I may make a mistake. I stress about everything- that's just how my mind works. This April Florida unrolled their new e-Filing system. All our court documents now reach courts in a pdf or doc format through a website. And I have to say originally I found it pretty scary- with one click of a button your work is sent into cyberspace. It's off and done- you have no control over it. Can't undo it, can't look it over. Call me old fashioned- but I like looking at something printed and putting an envelope in a mailbox has some cathartic quality for me. Being an attorney is a stressful experience if you think about all the ways things go wrong and all the mistakes you can make. But there are moments in life that make all this worthwhile. And no, I don't mean getting paid, although there is some satisfaction in being able to say: I made this when looking at a check. The first one I ever got from a client I wanted to frame or put on a refrigerator. Isn't it amazing to finally be able to pay your own rent? Make a living? But this is not it.

 Recently, I got a note from a client thanking me for all I have done. And I felt  that while I've done all I could and all I should have done, I didn't do that much. And I only did my job. A job I was paid to do. I felt uncomfortable enough asking for what seemed to me was a lot of money, but they were happy to pay it. And they were happy with me. Because I was there. Because I listened. I paid attention, I was patient, I explained things, I was helpful and supportive. I guess I know how some of the lawyers get and I know what it's like trying to reach out to anybody- for some help, some humanity. When you feel lost and overwhelmed and your lawyer is not returning your calls, is conveniently out of his office, feels cold and distant. I've dealt with lawyers like that when I myself was lonely and desperate. I was hit by a bus, I've dealt with immigration, I needed help with disability discrimination on the  LSAT test. I know what it feels like. So when I get a nice note for doing something I was compensated for, I'm thinking maybe I'm on the right path. Maybe I could make this work, maintain a regular practice, that I have long decided not to have. Maybe I can be good at it and I can enjoy the feeling of a job well done?

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