Monday, December 5, 2011

Today's Task

Today is going to be a busy day. Due entirely to my own fault (well, a discount Shutterfly code shares some of the blame; it expired on 11/30 and I felt compelled to get in all my photo book, photo calendar, stationery, and Christmas card orders -- $800 of merchandise for $295! It was a highlight of my week. And then on Friday afternoon I had to race out of the office early because Landon fell at daycare and needed stitches (he's fine; it's another story). And Claire and I went to Houston for the weekend), I have an entire brief to write today. Approximately 20 pages long, incorporating research across a variety of damages and intellectual property issues, in response to an issue of enormous importance to the case and the client. I promised the partner a draft on Monday. On Friday, sensing the fact that I really had not left myself enough time to do this, I clarified "Monday" to mean "before he wakes up and checks his email on Tuesday."

So today, I am writing.

I think one day soon I will write a post about writing a brief. It occurs to me that I had no idea what that meant before law school and reading about the process (i.e. about what it is litigators do when they're not dealing with discovery) will probably turn a lot of law students into future transactional attorneys, but I love it. It's hard- I'm staring at this stack of cases, a few half-written outlines, a highlighted and marked up copy of the opposing side's original brief (with things like "that's not what that case really says" or "check trial trascript, day 6- pretty sure we countered that in direct testimony" hand-written in the margins), and my big cup of Earl Gray tea and think, I love my job. Where else, outside of academia itself, could I get paid to be this academic? To simply write and think and write and think and write some more. Hopefully, by 5 a.m. this morning I'll have a coherent, well-organized response for the partner to redline. Then I'll incorporate his comments and we'll do another round of commenting, then I'll send it to the client and incorporate their comments, then it will go to a paralegal to cite-check, and then, on the day it has to be filed (the filing deadline in federal court is midnight), I will print out our latest version around 9 p.m., sit in an empty office somewhere on my floor, and read it from start to finish, making small hand-written edits to change a word, add a comma, etc. Then it will be filed, along with the exhibits and declarations in support and whatever else it needs. And then we will wait for their Reply brief where they'll try to convince the court that I didn't just really tear their original brief apart.

Because I will. Starting in about five minutes. Happy Monday everyone!


  1. That's kind of funny, because I am an academic, and I frequently thank the heavens that I don't have to write briefs.

  2. Um, THANK YOU for summing up what I love about being a lawyer! I could do without the doc review new associates get stuck with at my firm, and even some of the hearings. Writing briefs/motions/writs is something I totally love. I feel like I'm putting a giant puzzle together.

    Of course, writing 20 pages of one in one day is not ideal, but it's some sort of nerdy adrenaline rush from me, so I hope it is for you too (to get you through the night).

    Good luck!

  3. I would love a post on brief-writing! Please write it.

  4. I love your confidence! Its so nice to see.

  5. Love it. You go girl:)