Monday, July 8, 2013

Milestones as a Working Mom

I've never known the life of a stay-at-home-mom and if we're being honest I probably never will, for a handful of reasons. Three years ago when we moved back to my hometown and began our parenting journey, I put so many of my plans on hold. Because God? He had bigger plans.

I'd hoped to begin law school the fall we moved back to my hometown, but in the end we moved here with entirely different intentions. I went into our pregnancy knowing though Brandon has a good job, I'd need to be working to maintain our financials.

And in March in the midst of celebrating Jackson's 2nd Birthday, I celebrated one-year with my current law firm.

Yes, in March. This post has been brewing in my mind for almost four months, and I'm finally getting the chance to type it out. I blog so many things in this space, but due to the nature of my job I can't ever share my true day-to-day. I may be a full-time mom, but I'm also a full-time paralegal and it encompasses so much of who I am, what I do and how I guide our family.

If you're following my on IG (and you should be) then you see my many cups of coffee and #workingmom captions. So, I'd like to shed a little light onto what exactly it is I do all day, aside from praying daycare doesn't call with sick baby reports.

I guess I should start with my official title, Advocacy Appellate Paralegal. This fancy little title essentially means I handle the appellate cases for our firm. I work with cases that have seen their way through the lower courts and are being appealed to the state Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court.

In my year (give or take a few months) of working this role, I've come to love and admire our legal system. The rules, regulations and language involved is all so precise. The process, specifically in our appellate courts, is a highlight for me.

The firm has one partner and one associate who handle appellate cases. Together, these guys are my odd couple. J, is a founding partner of our firm. He's been practicing 30+ years and was named Lawyer of the Year a few months ago. To him, that honor is silliness in comparison to the good he gets to do each day through our work. He's essentially a walking rulebook and known in our state as the best in every aspect of the profession. B, is a young associate who is well-versed when it comes to our appellate courts and has an almost OCD way of conducting his days. I'd be surprised if he isn't sitting on the bench of our state Supreme Court one day.

I've learned the profession of law is a when it rains it pours type of job. I will hit a week where our phone doesn't ring, no deadlines are in sight and all of my filing is up to date. These weeks, however, lately are very rare. We have been on full steam ahead since March and show no signs of slowing down.

Boss-man J once told someone that I am the "keeper of the radar." If you don't come through me to get to my attorneys you will get no where; mainly because J receives hundreds of emails a day and you're bound to get lost in the shuffle. He serves on every legal board possible and gives time to charities and foundations alike. J has the most legal-minded brain I've ever encountered which leaves not so much room for all the other stuff. You know, the stuff that keeps us meeting deadlines and getting bills paid. That's why I'm there, and luckily along the way he imparts his legal knowledge onto me.

Boss-man B does not need so much monitoring of his radar. He keeps all things in line, which is a reflection of his undergraduate studies as an engineer. He is, however, a stickler for typos which is precisely why my resume stuck out to him a year ago as he searched for a new paralegal. His respect for the process of law is something I take in each day and his presence in the court room is undeniable. To spice things up a bit, B works out of office about an hour away from our firm. Thankfully, we've developed a good system of moving through our deadlines and passing off files despite our distance.

As for day-to-day, I maintain multiple calendars, monitor our intake of cases, handle our billing and edit edit edit all of our briefs. Our deadlines revolve around a briefing process and conclude (usually) with an oral argument. Each side gets ten minutes to present their argument (based on their briefs) to a panel of justices concluding with a five minute rebuttal. Typically it takes a case 1-2 years to make it fully through our courts.

Each Wednesday I hurry to our office as our courts publish their opinions for our cases on their public site. Between the hours of 8:30 and 9:45 a.m. Wednesdays, you'll find me refreshing my server every 30 seconds just praying it will be a winning day. The wins keep us going and the losses keep us humble.

Together, J and B have taught me the ins and outs of our appellate courts. Along with a little trial and error on my end, I've come into my own as an appellate paralegal.

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One year and three months into this role as an Advocacy Appellate Paralegal and I couldn't be more grateful for this opportunity. What began as an escape from my last job, has lead me to such a beautiful place in my career. Dreams of law school still dance in my head but I'm in no rush to leave this appellate team as I soak up the process first-hand from the best in our field.

If I'm going to battle my toddler to get dressed every day, spend most waking hours away from my family and worry daycare will call with some horror story, then I'm thankful I walk into an office each day with people whom have become another family and a legal system with which I can't get enough of.

One year and counting with Firm B, and as I told them in my review, I don't plan on leaving any time soon.

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7 comments:

  1. It's so important to love your job, especially as a mother. I'm so glad that you have found something like that.

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  2. I'm so glad you have a job you really enjoy!

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  3. Thats so great that you've found a place you love and where you know you are making a difference!!! Sounds like a lot of hard work but clearly your managing it...great job, girl!!!

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  4. Love the description, and glad you have a job you love! I agree that makes it so much easier to be away from your little one. Congrats!

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