Thursday, May 26, 2011


We will be taking our summer break from writing the blog from Memorial Day Weekend until July 4th Weekend.  Thanks for reading.  We'll see you again soon!

You're a lawyer!

By Shannon

"Jim's kinda hot.  Why don't you go for him?"  The text message from a fellow prosecutor read.  She was at a conference with Jim and they'd known each other for years.  It was night, so I knew they would be where all good cops and prosecutors are at night during a conference - a bar.  "Are you drunk?  He's married," I replied.  She sent a few more to me and I suddenly recognized the game.  I had a feeling he was sitting next to her and feeling me out to see if I'd be willing to embark on an affair.  My hunch was confirmed when she wrote, "You're awesome!  We're just messing with you."  Typical answer when you discover someone is not interested in you.  I wrote back and said, "Ask Jim why he hasn't helped me find a non-slutty single man."  Jim responded:  "Guys are intimidated by your job, but a real man wouldn't be.  A real man would appreciate you, but I don't know any who are single."  Isn't that always the case?  I actually had a secretary tell me that if my friends and I wanted men, we shouldn't have become lawyers.

Ann and I have bemoaned on this blog the lack of men interested in female lawyers.  The majority (like 90%) of my female lawyer friends and colleagues are single.  Men say they want smart girls and they may, but they don't want lawyers.  The men who do ask us out pick fights and argue with us on the first date (and second if we have a lapse in judgment and agree to another one).  They seem to think fighting turns us on or shows us that they're as smart as we are.  In truth it usually shows us how ignorant they are.  In reality most female lawyers HATE fighting.  The bit we do for a living is more than enough.  Other men won't fight, but they will harp on our title as in: 

"Well of course you would say that - you're a lawyer!


"Of course you like that movie - you're a lawyer!


"Of course you like to eat bottom-feeding scavengers - you're a lawyer!
If only we'd known what it would do to our social life, would we have still chosen law school?

Yet as Ann and I recently talked about the situation, we had an epiphany.  As Ann recounted all the fun and travel she'd had in her 20s in lieu of settling down, I thought of all the fun I'd had too.  Originally it started as a comparison of the frivolous things we'd wasted time doing instead of doing "important" things like raising babies and loving a man, but then it changed.  I couldn't help but think that I would not have traded my life, my experiences, or my education for an earlier start on "what really matters."  Life has favored me and many of my female lawyer friends with a kind of trifurcation.  When a family and love comes our way we will have had a fun, immature life in which we got to sow a lot of oats AND we will have had a mature life of fun, travel and cultural experiences on our own dime and on our own terms THEN we will get to participate in "what really matters." 

Though we tend to look with jealousy at those women who "have it all" I wonder: 
Would any of us REALLY have chosen to do it any differently?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Deep Valley

By Shannon

A young woman was driving down a winding country road.  Her windows were down.  Her sunroof was open.  It was a beautiful day - not a cloud in the sky and the temperature was perfect.  As she sang and drummed her steering wheel with the music, she heard a distinctive beep.  She looked at her phone and saw that she'd just gotten a text message from her boyfriend.  They were still in the honeymoon phase where every one of his smiles stopped her heart and every brush of her fingers on his arm gave him goose bumps (though he was too macho to admit to the bumps).  She smiled as she read his message of love on her phone.  He couldn't wait for her to get to his house.  They were planning a hike and then he was hoping to talk her into doing a bit of fishing with him.  She turned the phone horizontally so that both hands could hold it as she began to write back.  She wasn't speeding.  She glanced up often to make sure she was still on the road.  Unfortunately as she rounded a bend a luxury sedan was suddenly in front of her and going much slower than the speed limit.  The older woman driving the sedan was looking for a specific address to take a hot meal to an ill acquaintance.  The younger woman in the sporty car didn't have time to even slow down though she slammed on the breaks as hard as she could.  She crashed into the back end of the older lady.  The older lady died at the scene.  The case landed on my desk and because God has a sense of humor the following conversation ensued:

Officer:  "The victim's name was Deep Valley*."

We could both hear crickets chirping in the silence as I tried to discern the joke.

Officer:  "No joke."

Apparently the officer was a mind-reader too.

Me:  "What?"

Officer:  "She was a retired porn star.  She loved this part of the country and thought it would be a nice place where she could be anonymous."

Me:  "What?"  I asked a bit more incredulously.

Officer:  "The name referred to her breasts.  They were so large she couldn't wear a seat belt." 

The crickets got loud as we got quiet once again.

Officer:  "Seriously."
*Name changed for this post.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


By Shannon

While I was at the beach this weekend, I interviewed for a job as a prosecutor.  Part of me REALLY wants it and part of me doesn’t have the energy to even think of moving.  Last night I was thinking of how many times I’ve moved in the last 9 years.  I moved to the east coast, from the east coast, to my first job as a prosecutor, from my first job as a prosecutor, to this job and now I may be looking at yet another move.  I’m getting to an age where I really want to get somewhere and set down some roots.  I want to stay in the same location and in the same house for 10 years.  I want to really get to know my community – enough to love it and hate it at the same time.  I want to be involved enough in a community to know what the current issues and needs are.  I want to be invested enough in that community to step in and try to help meet those needs.  I began to despair of ever having that kind of community, but then I realized my travels have given me a community of my own.  Mine may be spread out, but it is no less valuable.  For example:

I have Ann.  She’s far enough away that we’ve not seen each other in 2 years, but we talk almost every day.  We started out so very opposite from each other and it is only by the grace of God that our friendship grew, strengthened and lasted.  She’s the one I call when I’m so distraught or overwrought that I cannot make my own decisions.  I trust her to make them for me in those moments.

I have J.H.  He’s almost 9 hours away which for a girl who hates to drive might as well be across the ocean.  He’s been going through a difficult time of his own.  We talk weekly.  He’s got a lovely wife and family who embraced our friendship which grew from hours spent in a patrol car together tracking down witnesses in the bad parts of town.  He’s closer to me than a brother ever could be.  He’s even willing to drive hours and hours and hours to help me move from here to there if I get the job on the beach.

I have S.H. - an old girlfriend from high school.  We weren’t close in high school, though we liked each other.  Adulthood brought us together.  We are in different phases of life, but still are so connected.  She’s about 6 hours away and we see each other as often as possible which is never often enough.  When there is a crisis we have each other on speed dial.  Only we can handle each other when our emotions go on overdrive.

I have so many others including my mom, sister, brother-in-law, and his family.  None of them live near me, but on holidays you will not find me with anyone else.

These are the people who are there for me and for whom I am there.  These are the ones I laugh with and sometimes fight with.  These are the ones I run to in crisis and run to support in their times of crisis.  These are the people I love and in whose love I trust.  These are my family – my community.  After all, whoever said community had to live within the same city?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

To Breathe or Not to Breathe

By Ann

Confined to a small space, I gasp for breath.   A hot noxious gas sweeps over my shoulders, my neck, and the back of my head.  I grab the closest surface within my reach and hold on for dear life.  My heart feverishly pounds in protest and I pray that the cloud of pure evil will not make its way to my nose and into my lungs.  It starts out slowly enough but begins to gain momentum and before I can even gasp, it is in my nose, my throat, my lungs and my eyes.  I am losing consciousness and falling into a vivid old memory.
It is another time, a lifetime ago, when I lived in the city.  There had been a terrorist attack and people were buying Israeli gas masks in the event that we were subject to biological warfare.  I didn’t buy one at the time but at this moment I understood what a grave mistake that had been.

With blurred vision and shaking hands I try to maintain my lucidity but all I can see is an obnoxious orange and all I can hear is … “Counsel.  Counsel.  COUNSEL!” 
The judge impatiently waited for me to respond.  He had been arguing with the prosecutor for what felt like an indeterminable amount of time about an issue that really wasn’t relevant to these proceedings.   They were engaged in a pissing contest and the prosecutor was threatened with being held in contempt.
Nonetheless, my client, a jailed inmate clad in an orange jumpsuit was getting annoyingly excited and anxious.  He was explaining, no whispering, no passionately whispering and hissing his custody agreement to me.  He was doing this and spewing his dirty breath all over me and all I could do was sit there and try not to die.  Before I could respond to the judge, I had to wonder why the jail did not require inmates to brush.  Then I wondered why inmates chose not to brush.  Then I wondered if his breath would stick to my suit.

I’ll never understand why men choose not to brush when they are in prison.  But I do understand one thing.  I understand that no one in the courtroom actually knows what is going on except for the lawyers and the judge.  I had been told this in the past by an older, experienced attorney but I didn’t truly understand it until today.  Today the judge and the prosecutor were going at it about a document that wasn’t relevant.  I knew it.  The prosecutor knew it.  The judge knew it.  But my client did not know it and the argument threw him into a state as a frenzied human dragon with deadly breath with which he used to furiously and viciously whisper and cruelly annunciate.
The officer didn’t know it because he had that deer stuck in headlight expression and the bubble over his head, the one that contains verbal thoughts in comics, that bubble was empty. 
I regained my composure and leaned into my client before I responded to the judge.   “Sometimes, it’s a better strategy to sit back and watch the train wreck and this is one of those times.”  He nodded. 

“I have nothing to add your honor.” 

My client was released right after that hearing.