Emerald City Solo

Seattle: "85 scenic square miles surrounded by reality."

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Oh so many coaches...

So it occurs to me that I have gone from no coaches (aka structured accountability) to lots. Between the personal coach mentioned in yesterday's missive, a personal accountability partner through an organization I am apart of, and the services of Pete Roberts of WSBA's LOMAP. (Law Office Managment Assistance Program) I seem to have arranged for people to be constantly looking over my shoulder and keeping me on track. This will have one of two results: 1) I will succeed in my legal endeavors with flying colors, or 2) I will go absolutely nuts, fire everybody, and run away to become a beach bum in Thailand.

Both seem like good outcomes!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Quote of the day...

"I shall here write my thoughts without order, and not perhaps in unintentional confusion; that is true order, which will always indicate my object by its very disorder. I should do too much honour to my subject, if I treated it with order, since I want to show that it is incapable of it" (Pascal, Pensees 373).


Today I met with a personal coach for the first time. My goal in working with her is to move my practice to the next level. She has no specific expertise in legal or business issues, but that doesn't concern me too much. See, I bring that to the table myself. Her speciality is helping folks like me who know what they need to do, but cannot seem to get it done. She helps to focus ones goals, and then the efforts needed to reach these goals. Yeah, I know, "sounds simple enough - and I graduated from law school...why can't I do that on my own?" Jolly good question. I don't even know that I can't, or that I wouldn't given time. But, I am having trouble in some of these areas, and if I can minimize the effort and maximize the efficiency in getting from point a to point b, I am all for it.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Meditative Activities

Missed yesterday...too many holiday events, I guess. But...it WAS Saturday! Today is Sunday, and I am in the office. Not sure for how long, though...it is BEAUTIFUL outside, and is one of those rare December days that will lend itself to yardwork. I am one of those few who much enjoy yardwork. I find it soothing, almost meditative activity. It requires that I focus, but keeps my thoughts in the present e.g. "How am I going to get this big tangle of branches/stickerbushes etc untangled and tidied up?" or "How am I going to avoid falling OUT of this 65 foot tree as I chop it down piece by piece?" Yes, right now I am in the very foundational part of yard work - where I must thin or clear 25 years of neglect before I can proceed to the more detailed, fussy aspects. I wonder if the "focused on the now" aspect will change when I move out of the tree chopping phase?

I find the same "focused on the now" dynamic to be present when I go out mountinering in the Cascades and decide to tackle a peak requiring rock climbing skills. My present ability in this area is fairly low level, but I will tackle rock that requires concentration on personal safety and strategic holds. This is one of the best cures for day to day stressors of work and relationships that I have found. The only unfortunate aspect is that it is time consuming...driving to the trailhead, trekking to the chosen spot, bagging the peak, and returning easily fill a day. Yard work is a bit more readily accessible!

Friday, December 16, 2005

How Do You Play The Game?

Today, I am working on settling out a claim. One of the tasks of a newish lawyer is to figure out where to spend my time. Take this claim, for instance. It was my first arbitration and I had never seen one done before. I made the mistake of trying to bootstrap medical records into evidence through the Chiro's notes and referalls. In my opinion it should have worked, and with some arbitrators it would have...but not this one. Okay - won't do it that way again. Of course, the crap arbitration award meant an appeal, and a case is now progressing toward a trial that should not happen. Now...odds are 99% that it will settle, but, being conservative, that 1% chance of going to trial gives me pause. So...I struggle with how much of my clients money and my time should be spent working this up for trial - and how much I should just "let it go." From a gambling perspective, "let it go" would seem to be the appropriate choice...but, what if....

I guess it comes down to whether you are playing to win, or playing not to lose.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Zen Listening

Right now I am working "with" another attorney who has two modes: 1) undue, odd flattery, and b) overbearing, in which he tries to assert that "this is the way it is going to be." Every so often the overbearing aspect starts to rankle me, but digging in my heels in out of resistance would not serve my client. Instead, I am practicing dissassociating from his mannerisms. I listen to his words, letting them flow in one ear and out the other. It is kind of a Zen state...where I let the conversation go by, simply listening for any points that may prove important. Most of what he has to say arrogant posturing - probably has something to do with compensating for his short stature. He made a point during out intial contacts to let me know that he knew my (high) bar number, and has been patronizing ever since. That's fine....even mildly amusing. Let him underestimate me.


Whoops...missed one. Yesterday was yet another of those non-billable errand filled days! I need to get a handle on that phenomena. Of course, I have managed to get to noon today in the same state.

On another note...it looks like my trip to Asia may be postponed. Originally scheduled for February, it appears as though we might need some more time to get some foundational work done for this venture. Since my rationalization for spending the money and taking the time off is "business investment" I suppose I ought to make the most of the time. It is a little difficult thought, considering that I have kept my February calendar clear just for this trip. This means that the weeks following the original time alloted to trip have stuff scheduled. Partner says "plenty of time...just reschedule." Partner in the venture is not a lawyer, let alone a solo lawyer.

We shall see how this unfolds.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Petty Irritations

Today I got back some RFA's that I had sent over the the defense attorney exactly 30 days ago. It's a simple rear-end MVA, the only thing in contest is the amount of damages. The RFA's consisted of 10 questions, each asking for admission that the medical bills were reasonable and customary in amount. Got back 10 identical answers "Objection, beyond the scope of CR 36 and/or 26(b)...(case cite)" Oh please. Just because you CAN object doesn't mean you should. The only reason to object to these RFA's was to create more work for me, because the AMOUNT of the bills has not up to this point been contested. It is hardly in the spirit of the RPC's to submit answers soley to tie up opposing counsel's time.


Additional petty gripe: He responded with 10 identical answers. All he had to do was draft one and cut and paste it in. You would think that he would at least take the time to properly blue book his cite, or at least include the year of the case.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Motoring Along

Sure enough...11:30 pm and I am just getting started on that document. Today highlighted one of the huge time sinks of a distractable solo's life - flexibility of schedule! Since most of my day is flexible in how it gets arranged, it is very easy for folks to ask me to run time consuming errands. I in turn find it very difficult to say no, especially when I do not feel like doing the alternative activities. And... I do like driving the new car!

Focus, girlfriend, Focus!

Time for Lunch

Well, the desk is pretty clean. It took FOREVER to clean it yesterday...undoubtedly a result of letting little things pile up. When I clear, I make a point to do all of those things that will take 5 minutes or less - everything else ends up on the master task list and filed. Well, ten 5 minute tasks that have been neglected end up being almost an hour in themselves, and to that must be added the rest of the filing/clearing/throwing process.

I am a bit stressed today, feeling overwhelmed with tasks that are nearing the end of their extended procrastination period. Documents to be created, issues to be researched, including one document that must be submitted by 8 am tomorrow. I know what I will be working on tonight! The first order on the agenda, however, is to grab some lunch. Eating is rather an inconvenience in my day. I tend to put off lunch until an opportune moment. which I would know by the sense of serenity that would accompany it. The problem with that plan is that the longer I go without eating, the less it takes to hijack my sense of peace. Rather reminsicent of my habit of putting off a restroom break until I realize that I am doing the urgent dance in front of my computer. Life is so much easier when you tend to basic needs. I hear that dancing burns calories though...

Off to lunch.