It’s the middle of August and all motivation has left me. The summer is nearly gone, my summer associate has returned to school, and I’ve returned to my non-summer role as the holder of the partner’s slopbucket. The calendar has reached that page where there is absolutely nothing of importance going on in the office. No court appearances, no depositions, no client meetings, no anything of substantive legal value. Further, I don’t feel the need to get a head start on anything that is pending or just around the corner.
In other words, I’ve become useless.
I was able to get away with this for the last two months as I could dump my “real” work off on to my bright-eyed and bushy tailed soon-to-be third-year law student. He wanted experience, and I gave him experience. (I also gave our most annoying client his cell phone number…you know.hazing.) He wanted to know what life was like as a lawyer and I gave him life as a lawyer (bad pay, long hours, and unappreciative clients). He wanted a good recommendation to the partner and I wanted to take it easy for two months. It was a give and take relationship that was fantastic. Before this current malaise set in, I would get into the office, timesheet in hand, and spring into action:
7:58: Sit down at the computer, open Microsoft word and whatever brief I have due
7:59: Begin Research and Analysis morning web surfing.
8:07: Trip to Starbucks
8:25: Return from Starbucks
8:44: Take the trip to the bathroom
9:15: Wake up from the bathroom nap
9:17: Chat with fellow attorneys
9:45: Avoid my partners when they come in.
10:02: Attempt to figure out if Law Firm 10 works in my building.Begin some work.
But my happy days have now left and I am once again stuck doing all of my work.
And it’s gotten really bad.
Gone are the times that I enjoyed reviewing documents or drafting a deposition summary. Now, I start watching the clock as soon as I walk into the office. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Even worse, there are some days that I begin praying for my supervising partners to depart so that I can free myself from the bondage of litigation…I mean, depart the office. Unfortunately, there is still work to be done. But, with no pressing deadline or fear of losing some argument, it takes forever to complete:
7:59: Begin Brief for Junior Partner.
8:02: Stare off into space.
8:07: Write another sentence.
8:07:30: Zone out.
8:28: Answer phone call from vacationing partner. “No, nothing is going on. No, no one called. No, you really don’t need to check in”
8:28:26: Turn on some Emo music.
8:28:30: Return to zone out phase.
While I might have been dumping an inordinate amount of billable matter onto an energetic law student, I was also fighting with a half dozen different firms about a bevy of different legal issues. It’s easy to be productive when you are fighting the good fight. This past week has resulted in (1) all of my battles have been called off due to truce (or extended briefing schedules), (2) the loss of my whipping boy and (3) the evaporation of my desire to keep on fighting. It’s like I need a five hour energy for my soul. Or just an asshole opposing counsel that I can go beat up in open court.