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Rainwood

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Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Aug 8, 2005
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So as not to threadjack.


Well, what you talked about... being really good at finding out information, assimiliating it, etc. That is definitely a valueable skill and you are right, people are surprised by it and it does give me a nice feeling. My co-workers, my family and my friends are rely on me for it. But I often feel like I am the last line of defense against cataclysm.

I have trouble shutting off work mode, where I have to be hypersensitive to everything. I used to do a lot of in person negotiation, and now mostly do phone and email negotations. And I have to be very detail oriented to manage all the nuiances of the large projects because my job has strayed into a lot more than simple contract negotiation, (if it''s ever that simple). To plot, to plan, to think of contingencies, or things that might go wrong, to caution, etc.

It''s not the skill of it that bothers me, it''s the degree of immersion. I suspect a lot of it is my personality. When I use the word "hyper" I mean exactly that. It''s heightened and intense and it''s jolting. Like I said, not normal. And I think for my personality the ''chicken little'' mindset (which I think is more accurate) being forced on me in lawschool in a ''shock'' rather than as something I gradually developed as a result of a matured perspective has made my life much more complicated that it ever needed to be. It''s the bleed into all things ''non-work'' that traps me. If it was something I could turn off it would be one thing. But I haven''t perfected that switch yet, though hopefully it will come with time.

So I guess what I am saying is: It seems to me that seeing the different viewpoints and contingencies can come with age (and should) if you are a non-lawyer. But from my experience for a lawyer what has to come with age is learning how to back off from analyzing every aspect of everything, to realize that you can relax your vigilance sometimes without the sky falling, to realize that you are person and that the world isn''t ''persuade or argue'' but rather sometimes if just ''is.''

It''s probably a case of ''six of one, half dozen of the other'' and the grass just seems greener on that side.
 

rainwood

Brilliant_Rock
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Joined
Mar 29, 2005
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1,472
Thanks, Gypsy. I asked partly because I''m always interested in people who have different perspectives than mine, and partly to see if I could help. One of the things I don''t think women lawyers get much of is sharing of thoughts among those at different levels of experience.

I think I understand what you''re saying, and I''m not sure if what I have to say will be helpful, but here goes. My private practice was part transactional (contract review and negotiation) and part litigation. What I do now is all transactional, counseling, preventive, etc. One of the things that was useful for me to figure out is that although you need to be detail-oriented and be able to scan the horizon for what could happen when you''re dealing with contracts and counseling, etc., there''s no way you can predict every possible contingency and you don''t need to. And sometimes it''s better if you don''t because if you have to negotiate hard to get even the unlikely contingencies covered, you''ve given something else up, either in the contract or the business relationship. If you get the most important things covered in a way that works for your client, the rest is gravy. Switching over to an inside job really helped me understand that. I don''t need to cover every contingency, I just need to cover the most likely, most damaging ones. One of the hardest types of negotiations for me is when the person on the other side won''t concede anything because they can''t tell what''s important from what''s trivial and they''re afraid they''ll concede the wrong thing. I pride myself on not being that kind of negotiator, knowing what I can change and what I need to keep.

And I''ve discovered that sometimes you won''t have drafted for the contingency that actually does happen. Reality can be WACKY. And it won''t kill you if it does happen. You do the best you can, and that''s all that can be expected. And one of the things I learned being a litigator is that 99% of the contracts you negotiate won''t ever need to be looked at again because there''s no dispute so even if they weren''t perfect, it won''t matter. You can''t predict what that 1% will be, but it''s still just 1%.

Thinking in that more practical way helped me learn to shut off the legal mind (and voice) when I''m at home. And oddly enough, once I started taking a more practical view than a legal one when doing my work, I became a better lawyer.

I don''t know if this helps, but I''m happy to talk about it if you find it useful.
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
It's funny-- I think we are saying the same thing. You have to learn to back off, to let go after lawschool, while most people are learning how to hang on.

That's similar to the advice I gave to my co-worker her first week at our current company... we have a very high volume of contracts and projects we see and frankly, the level of care I gave each contract at my previous job (and she gave at her previous job) just isn't possible. I'm not that type of negotiator either. I go into each negotiation that I can with a clear idea of what is practical to give within the boundaries of what my company's interests are with respect to legal provisions. I have learned to pick my battles at work with respect to the issues I am comfortable with (standard legal T&C's), but in this current position there are MANY MANY other issues in our contracts, business issues that while I am not 'techinically' responsible for, I am in reality because no one else deals with them (though it is their job to deal with them), and I can't approve the contracts without them. SO it's been a significant learning curve that I am still in the process of, and since I am unsure still about much of it, don't have any mentoring with it (sink or swim) I'm still erring on the side of caution. And also my role is currently in flux, we don't have vendor managers and so while I am not responsible for the 'relationship' with the vendors, I have to be very conscious of it and that is another thing I am still learning to deal with. I am used to being the 'contract' person, with a confined role. And in my current position (as with life) there are no confines in reality (though there are on paper). The 1%.... you cannot account for it. And I've dealt with opposing counsel who tries too (there is an interesting story about a blind dog) and it does drive me up the wall because truth is stranger than fiction.

In my private life though... it's weird, that I'm not handling so well. The negotiables in real life, when my emotions get engaged and things are as clear as language on a page... that's where I really feel that pressure of the cataclysm.

I think though, what I was trying to say in my post (and I was at work so my attention was not on this 100%) is that my resentment and regret is with regard to the 'return on investment' of it all... and the 'opportunity cost.'

I feel that in exchange for gaining the perspective on the shades of grey (or on how close the sky is to falling) I've gotten debt, a career that vacilates between boring me (too tactical) to stressing me out beyond what is healthy. And that for the same investment, I could have really done something else. And I would give up the shades of grey... and agree to gain that perspective through time... to be passionate, or even itruly nterested in what I do (beyond my pay check and the feeling that I am doing a good job at what my job description is). My job, while SIGNIFICANTLY better than practicing, than the 'standard route' is unfullfilling ultimately and leaves me pretty cold. The problem is. I'm very good at it (which is why I am in the predicament I am with my current job). LOL.
 
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