I write this with the intent that it takes two days. Partly because my life has become more “mundane” so as not to require the daily; but also because… it feels important or necessary. Not that I can articulate as to why but… it does.
I’ve been requested by my firm to travel to our Branch Office this evening, meet with a potential new client, and secure his business. It is a Private Criminal Defense issue and I’ve been encouraged to get a certain amount as down payment but also to be flexible. It is both interesting and anxiety ridden. Primarily because… I do need this client. I’ve been continually averaging 2 billable hours per day. That’s… grotesque on the face of it. Granted, I only have one client… but I can’t do much for that client. And it is state paid. So… it will be… less than spectacular financially. But at the same time… from the client’s perspective… I may be less than spectacular as an attorney since there is little I can do for him. This potential new client, however? There also may be little I can do for him. OWI, gave a urine sample… if that comes back positive, I can’t imagine a prosecutor ignoring it. And… that’s what we need. The kid is an F1 student. If he gets popped for an OWI; his immigration status may be at risk.
We had to drive up to Ames for the interview. When I say we, I mean me and Chinese Administrative Assistant. Not because of the kid’s ethnicity… because of his inexperience with vehicles… I should not have let him drive. It was 83 degrees in his car, he went under the speed limit and slammed on the breaks any time a car changed lanes in front of him. I got super duper car sick. Meanwhile, he is discussing how wonderful China is and how China does everything better than United States. Get to the interview, kid is 15 minutes late. Talk to him… try to sell our services… we even underbid our competition… he needs to talk to his parents to see what kind of money he can do. So… I don’t have a contract which makes me sad. Back in the car… way more car sick on the way back; and Chinese Administrative Assistant is talking about how “smartest people in the world not the ones who solve things; but the ones who never have troubles. That why smartest people always richest.” BAH!
Part of me wonders if how I’m feeling, what I’m feeling about myself and the firm and my work… is all wrapped up into the lack of patience I have with myself. I mean… White Boss and Chinese Boss seem to be… okay with me (at least so far). I haven’t gotten the feeling that they are 100% certainly going to terminate my employment. But then again… I also haven’t had many clients. And as I get clients (or don’t get clients) my future will be written through my work and my clients’ response to that work. There are a LOT of lawyers in this city. And this firm doesn’t want to just be “more lawyers”… they want to be good lawyers, client-serving lawyers. And I respect that. It is what I want as well. If our interests and values didn’t match up, I would not have taken the job (probably). But… if I were to simply and only get clients based on appointment? It looks that I’ll be out of a job.
Thursday: In the office at 8. Nobody else here. By 9, there is a client for one of the other lawyers. Nobody else here. I text White Boss for the other attorney’s cell number. I give her a call and leave her a message. She calls me back at 9:30 and I’m able to instruct her client on what is needed. Not our law firm, but always good to help out lawyers who share space… especially as we can/do ask them for help sometimes as well. After the client leaves; Chinese Administrative Assistant walks in. Says, “That lady is size of a elephant. Terrible!” Making me like this kid even less. Cultural differences aside… human decency and respect for others (seems) a personal matter free of the dictates of culture. A good person, who doesn’t mock people as a basic instinct, isn’t going to suddenly mock someone just because they’ve changed languages. Or maybe I’m oversimplifying. I don’t know. I just… it didn’t sit well with me that his first statement when the client was out of ear shot was to mock her weight.
Meanwhile… no attorneys (including my own bosses) have entered the office yet. And… construction going on outside our windows (my seat is vibrating due to said construction.)
I know this is a dick move… I know. I know this is a dick move… but if the bosses don’t come in until 10 (or after 10)… I may leave at 4. I get it; the only person that it hurts is me because I need the billable hours but… guess what! I’m not getting any billable hours sitting around here at the moment any way. So… sitting around doesn’t equal getting paid… I might as well sit around in a place where I can (a) do laundry; (b) help sort unpacking; (c) run errands; (d) sit around naked; (e) watch TV; (f) play video games.
Well, this can’t be good. I think I’m not a fan of some of our clients, lol. We’ve got a kid… in most respects, not a bad guy (from my brief interactions)… but totally a typical Private Client. Chinese Student, arrested for Drinking and Driving, blew a .157. In his car was his beautiful Chinese girlfriend that speaks very little English. The kid isn’t so much “Sorry for drinking and driving” but more “unhappy this isn’t a country where you can bribe your way free.” And… it brings up my own issues. I HATE that justice is different depending on money. One of the reasons I wanted to get out of Tiny Town Prosecution was that my job was primarily to keep poor people poor. The reverse isn’t much better. Granted… this isn’t our entire client base… but it is an important one. And… rich kids breaking the law? Yeeeaaah… kind of a trigger for me.
That being said though… this brutal Billable Hours issue is destroying me. Mid-Day on a Thursday… I’ve spent (physically) at least 31 hours of my week in the office/doing work. My billable hours? 7.1 Apparently, not having clients means that my entire existence only counts for 25%. I know, I know. This is now, there will be a then, and who knows… maybe in the future my existence will count for 125%… but my mental time travel has never been skilled at Future Concepts. My temporal abilities are confined to present and past. And present and past are filled with not being paid what I was worth.
At the tone the time will be (tone) 2:15 p.m. I have a thing and a not thing. I called the client from yesterday to do the “Hey, just thinking about your case and wanted to follow up with you” thing. Yes, it isn’t like me. Yes, it is part of the job. Yes, I need to grovel for clients. Bah. And it didn’t work. Client wants to spend 4k on a lawyer that is in his 50s rather than spend 2k on a lawyer in his 30s. Dammit. Then Chinese Boss said she had something she wanted me to work on that she would tell me about when she was finished working on what she was working on. Soooooo… I’m sitting here. Without an office of my own. With little to do. Waiting for someone more important to throw me a bone. In other words, this is identical to my internship. And… that is terrifying. Because it was an unpaid internship. And.... honestly? I’m not being greedy… I’m not being paranoid… I’m not being an ass. Right now, looking at my billing, and looking at what is on the horizon… I’m worried financially for my future. I have a certain… mark I need to hit. If I hit X every month during a quarter; the rest of that money is paid out in bonus. X isn’t very high. The bonus isn’t very high either but.... Anyway. I’ll put it this way… in three weeks, I’ve earned this firm roughly $6,000. But what that means for me is that I am still over $10,000 away from hitting my monthly billable requirements… and the end of the month is next week. In short… in order to “earn” a salary of $30k per year; I need to earn (for my firm) $17,000 per month. Presently? I’ve got maybe 1/3 of that. Thus… I am concerned.
But to take my mind off of that.......to ask a simple question: Saturday. How should it be spent?
(a) Sleep in, play video games, work on the apartment, and take care of domestics
(b) Read up on Immigration Consequences of Criminal Activity
(c) Read up on Prosebox Entries and (finally) write the personal potentially-image damaging article I’ve wanted to; or
(d) Call up a friend and meet him somewhere to create/go over my potential character for a Dragonlance Campaign?
Last updated April 20, 2017