This week in Young, Hungry and Committed, virtual office NYC attorney, Vivian Sobers talks about how the legal community always has each other’s back, which never ceases to amaze her.
I woke up on the couch this morning. The worst part of waking up uncomfortably is that I actually thought I had coaxed my legs to walk the twenty feet into the bedroom.
I guess I couldn’t conjure the inner strength to move my concrete filled legs at 4 AM. Or maybe I just inadvertently capitulated to what my body craved: sleep.
Either way, the result of my (in)action can be assumed… a really poor night’s rest and pains in places where there should not be pain.
What was the cause of my stiff neck? (Hint: Not meningitis)
History repeats itself.
Well, I did it again. I took a case with a hard deadline without first vetting it.
This is not to say the case went totally unvetted. The case came to me from a trusted colleague. When I get a referral from an attorney, I automatically assume the case is well… good.
This case though. This case…this case… had some hair on it.
A routine OTSC turned out to be anything but…
Briefly, the case came to me Wednesday afternoon and my portion of the representation centered on drafting an OTSC. When I heard that, I immediately mentally cashed the check. I can draft OTSC’s in my sleep. Trust me; the irony contained in that last sentence is not lost on me.
Anyways, without divulging too much information, the crux of the fact pattern lies within an extremely esoteric aspect of a third party business intervention.
When I took the work, I of course did not realize how esoteric this would be. If I had, I probably would have declined. The amount of research for what I consider a relatively simple drafting exercise makes this even worse than “break even.” To make matters even more difficult, it has to be done by Sunday. Moral of the story: My back was against the wall.
But, I made my bed (or couch) and now I had to lie in it.
Next up came case law (or lack thereof). As the red lights of the digital clock continuously taunted me and thwarted any expectation of pending sleep, I gave in.
Not to sleep. No. I gave into Google.
I know lawyers are never supposed to use Google for research, but...
And then it came up. A random law review article from like 1886. As my own bright-line rule, I never trust anything I search for on the Internet. The reason for my skepticism is the same reason 8th grade teachers have a mental breakdown every time a pupil cites Wikipedia. You never know who wrote the post. You never know their education level or their intention.
The dusty law review article concerned me even more. Even though it was a PDF, I still almost sneezed as I metaphorically turned the pages.
I wasn’t going to rely on some 2L or 3L’s thought process, so after digesting the information, I kept up my search. To my surprise, I found a blog article on an attorney’s website that was a reasonable facsimile of my fact pattern, along with citing’s to a long line of case law that could potentially be applied.
After checking to see if the case law was still good (most of it still was), I shot the attorney a quick email thanking her for effort. I then went to work and formulated an outline, applied facts to case law, and felt relatively confident.
Why I am so proud of the legal community:
It never ceases to surprise me that the legal community is truly a community. Seriously, whether it is a direct referral from a colleague or an unexpected signpost from a random attorney’s website, we are generally in this game to help each other.
No. As attorneys, we have an unspoken moral obligation to right and wrong. Although we do operate in the grey, we generally want to make sure that every client has fair and diligent representation. And thanks to a blog article, my client would get that as well.
After waking up on the coach and having about my 9th cup of coffee in 8 hours, I started my morning routine and re-familiarized myself with case facts of an appearance scheduled at 11 AM.
After a few hours, my phone rang. I picked it up instinctively. What was different about this phone call was that it was not from a current or potential new client. The caller announced her name. After a few seconds of mental gymnastics trying to associate where I knew that name from, it hit me.
It was the attorney whose website provided me direction only a few hours ago.
She called to thank me for my comments and wanted to know if I had any questions that she could help me with.
After 30 minutes and probably $250 worth of her time, she provided a nuanced approach that would all but ensure a successful representation.
The legal community never ceases to amaze me… Thank you all for being a part of it!
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Vivian Sobers is a commercial litigator pursuing a solo law practice right out of law school. She is a client in Law Firm Suites’ Virtual Office Program. Vivian’s weekly blog series “Young, Hungry and Committed” documents the trials and tribulations of a young attorney navigating her way through the challenging world of self-employed legal practice.