Writing about job related stresses and how they affect my outfit choices yesterday made me think about some of the questions I was asked in my recent giveaway.
And since I'm really trying to answer all the questions, I thought I'd answer a few questions I was asked about being a lawyer.
In particular, Lori from Lori Speak's question came to mind: Is there pressure to dress more feminine or masculine as a woman in court?
If there is any pressure, it's internal. At my courthouse, in general, the men wear suits. The women, on the other hand, wear anything from suits to rather casual attire. The dress code would probably be considered "business casual". In other courthouses, lawyers tend to wear suits more often, but my particular courthouse is a bit more laid back.
Personally, I like to dress up. I think it's fun and I like to feel confident and look nice when I'm in the courtroom. I'm also one of the younger attorneys in the courthouse so I want to dress in a way that the other attorneys and clients take me seriously. And also, I don't have court every day so even I have outfits that I don't consider court-appropriate, though they are office-appropriate.
I get a lot of comments on my clothes. At times I feel a bit like the courthouse Barbie and everyone's waiting to see what I'll dress up in today. Frankly, I don't really care: I enjoy the positive attention and ignore any negative feedback. If someone wants to underestimate me because of how I dress, then he does so at the expense of his case. Not to be conceited, but I'm pretty good at what I do!
Caslon Sweater, Nordstrom
Ikat Print Skirt, Loft
Hue Tights, Macy's
Rampage Shoes, Endless.com
Necklace, Handmade by my sister-in-law
Tricia from Tricia's Take asked: I would like to know what made you want to become a lawyer? Have you always wanted to be one?
Yes, I have (except for a brief period in third grade when I wanted to be a "mad scientist." That may have been Back to the Future-related).
The old joke would be that I like to argue and I think I'm always right, but like every joke, there is a certain element of truth to that: I do like to argue and I do think I'm right, maybe not always, but more often than not!
Ashley from Ashley Getting Dressed asked: What type of lawyering do you do? Do you like it? Was that always your dream area of law? What was your undergrad major and how did that lead you to law school?
Sara from You, Me & Anthropologie asked a related question: What's a normal day like for a lawyer?
I practice in what most people would term "family law". I represent parents and children in state intervention cases (i.e. when children are removed from the custody of their parents due to allegations of abuse and neglect).
On most days I like it. There are some days when it gets frustrating. Being on the defense in these types of cases can often feel like you're starting a race with the other guy getting a ten minute head start. Usually by the time I'm appointed, the case has been going on for several weeks or even months, giving my new client ample opportunity to say and do all sorts of really stupid stuff.
I majored in Politics with a minor in Education and Law & Society with the intention of going to law school. One professor in particular really inspired me to get into this area of law and recommended my law school due to an amazing program that they had in this area.
I start most days at the courthouse at 9am. Then there's usually a lot of sitting and waiting for the judge to call your case. While I wait, I work on other cases or try to negotiate with the attorneys on my case. Typically I'm done by lunch which is at 1pm and I'll go back to my office. We have working lunches where we case crunch and ask advice of the other attorneys in my office. Some afternoons it's back to court and other days I have office time to work on motions and other court preparation.
The interesting part is when you take a new case: you basically have less than a week to prepare for a full blown hearing. It's terribly stressful, but the hearing itself is lots of fun and part of what I enjoy most about my job.
Which leads us to rinnyc's question: Do you enjoy your work as a lawyer? My job makes me feel like I am never really making a difference in peoples lives- but I would think that being a lawyer would give you a sense of purpose?
It's very easy to get discouraged in my life of work. If you look at your cases as a whole, it can get really depressing because the success rate isn't very high. However, if you look at your cases on an individual basis, you begin to feel as if you've made a difference.
One thing I learned very early on is that you can only be as a good as your client. If you have a client that's not following the rules or doing what (s)he's supposed to, you aren't going to succeed. And you can't let that affect your confidence. Obviously encourage your client to be better, but at the end of the day, these cases usually end the way they should: kids go home that should go home and kids that shouldn't, don't. My advocacy and abilities provide the client with the constitutional due process that (s)he's entitled to, but I'm also not a miracle worker and I'm okay with that.
Those were some tough questions: I really had to evaluate my career in a way I've not had to before! If I didn't answer your question today, fear not, I'll get to it eventually!