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Learn from the losses

Today was my first trial for a family law case.  I have had other trial experience.  I had a criminal defense trial that was dismissed upon arrival to the courtroom and a small claims trial against a pro se litigant.  Although those required preparation, my case today was the true litigation experience.

The opposing party was represented, we had completed full blown discovery of interrogatories, request for production, request for admission and both parties had been deposed.  Subpoenas were issued, ours included a duces tecum.  I had a motion in limine prepared, exhibits marked and my examination questions written.

Before we even started trial, the judge had to consider the opposing side's motion to continue the trial.  I was prepared with the applicable civil procedure rule, a 2013 Iowa Supreme Court case that was spot on the issue, and a succinctly drafted argument for why the judge should dismiss the motion.   

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Select challenging work


"Pink Language Work"

Graham is in a school that uses the Montessori learning method.  Each student is able to select what they do during their work period (usually 75 minutes) if they have had a lesson on the skill.  What he choses is to do is called "work".  Because his class is 3 and 4-year olds and Kindergartners, there is a progression in the type of work available.  

Graham is like me (and his Dad) in that he likes mastery.  The Montessori teaching style encourages this, however, it permits the child to achieve mastery at his or her own pace.  One of disadvantages to striving for mastery is the challenge that comes at some stage in the process.  The challenge that I instintively would rather sidestep or do enough to get by.  Taking the road of least resistance is less stressful but has less rewards.

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It’s ok to be unhappy

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It is the start of a new year.  2013 is history – with its ups and downs, bad and good times, successes and failures.

2012 marked the most difficult year in my life, so 2013 was outstanding in comparison.

I’ve made new year’s resolutions for the last 12 years and they have changed remarkably over time.  From self-centered resolutions (floss my teeth 5 times a week, eat a vegetable with dinner, pay off my VISA) to people-centered (date night once a month, cousin reunion this summer).  I even went so far as to start categorizing them into financial, green living, health, family, etc.

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Sweet Surrender

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The last blog I posted was before I got my bar results.  Yesterday, the next bar round of bar results were posted.  I decided it was time to get back on the board and click away my thoughts.

I feel incredibly blessed to have passed the bar last spring.  I am even more blessed that I got to live the dream of starting my own practice. 

Now that I am in it, four months later, the pendulum swings heavily one way – where I wouldn’t dare dream of wanting something different than I have, and swings heavily the other way where I just want someone to tell me what to do. 

Even though I don’t have a boss to know what I’m doing right and wrong, I am tougher on myself than any boss would be.  I’m a baby lawyer (0-5 years experience).  There is no way to learn without making mistakes.  It is the practice of law.  Practice.  I know this.  40-year veteran attorneys tell me this.  Yet no good deed goes unpunished.  Everything I do for the first time after researching, checking forms and consulting with my mentors has something go wrong. 

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Dial down the intensity

I have been told by my husband that I like to fill my free time with events. He is right. I impulsively schedule meet-ups and play dates when I have any shred of energy or desire to do so. I enjoy it, but I rarely take time to recharge with my unscheduled time.

I have learned the last 15 months that I have to dial down the intensity of my enthusiasm. January 2012 is when the pain from my back kicked in. For most of my life I have dealt with back pain, but I know it's not just the physical structure of my spine that creates problems; I add my own level of trauma by wanting to go go go.

I didn't dial down the intensity until after graduation. If I had, I would have graduated late. Truth be told, taking the bar exam 2 months after a spinal decompression may not be turning it down either. I felt like I did; I put myself and family before studying but I probably put myself second.

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