“No, I’m Not Dead Yet – Just thinking about it all the time.
A collections agency person called me several times at work today. He made sure to let the receptionist know why he was calling. He represents the good people at Sallie Mae who haven’t been paid in a while. He basically called me a deadbeat.”
That was the first thing I read when I visited Legal Love Letters from Isolde, a blog written by a lawyer who is seemingly at the end of her rope. More from the same post:
I lost a significant amount of money when my old firm went under and I’m still on the hook for the firm’s debts, one of which is a doozy. And I’ve had all sorts of other personal issues for the past, oh, ten years, not least of which was my husband’s extended period of unemployment after 9/11. I’m financially fucked. But I’m a deadbeat. And I sit at work and try not to cry and hope the closed door will keep my managing partner out, since I know he’s been looking for me to schedule a lunch meeting. Like I don’t know what that’s about.
The blog is a gripping, inside view of the mind of a lawyer who has a job, but sounds like she has lost it all. From a post entitled, Ativan, How Do I Love Thee?:
Everyone I know is taking something, as am I. What sort of pathetic fucking job has a pharmaceutical for a prerequisite? And I’m not some misbegotten waif who got lost on the way to estates and tax. Courtrooms don’t scare me. Crowds of people don’t scare me. I speak in public all the time these days and hardly ever bother to prepare beforehand anymore.
I’m just so sick of being under attack. ALL THE TIME. When I became a litigator I was prepared for the adversary system. I was not prepared for life in a law firm. Law firms are populated by the evil, the malicious, the power hungry, the narcissistic, the delusional, the addicted, and the mice. If you are a mouse you are dead meat and you might as well take a legal aid job now. I mean now, stop reading, go apply, now.
Another post, To the Stranger in the Elevator – Thank You:
For your kindness. For seeing me cry and refusing to pretend that I wasn’t there. For turning to someone you had never seen before and would likely never see again to tell me that you hoped my day would get better. For reaching out and touching my arm in a gesture of simple human compassion.
I was in the middle of a heated mediation conference. My clients were difficult, the opposition was difficult. My phone rang at the conference table and it was my secretary, calling to give me yet another piece of horrible news relating to the dissolution of my former law firm. I tried everything to hold back the tears, didn’t do very well, hid in the ladies room for a while trying to get myself together because I didn’t want my clients to see me in such a state.
The blog goes on like this. I read every entry in one sitting – you should too. I’m not even sure how I stumbled upon her blog anymore, I think I clicked on a comment from somewhere and was consumed from the first entry.
Isodale’s blog is a sobering review of all that could possibly go wrong in one’s career. From what I could piece together Isolde managed to make partner at a firm after a few years as an associate. She had made it, the career track, everything was smooth sailing. But apparently her partners were lying, embezzling, and backstabbing all the while. The firm dissolved and went bankrupt. Despite that Isolde had nothing to do with the lying and stealing, those debts are currently an albatross around her new partner neck.
I trusted my former business partners. I stupidly signed off on loans and guarantees because I was drunk with new partner-itis. I was an absolutely dense little patsy and now I am paying the price for my naivete. Maybe I will be able to resolve all of this without resorting to Chapter 7, but I kind of doubt it. People around me are exhorting me to sue my former partners. All I want to do is throw up, all of the time.”
I am convinced that I have no prospects, no future, and I am so tired.
I just wish to God people would stop behaving as though none of this is happening.
Isolde is in an awful state. I can’t even imagine. However, despite all the tears and rage she shares, despite the dark thoughts of suicide she posts, despite looming bankruptcy and financial duress, despite that she is lost in the depths of depression – she hasn’t given up.
Isolde says she wants to. That she lies in bed and doesn’t want to get out. But also in her September 7th post, No, I’m Not Dead Yet, is this:
I was in trial last week. I did a good job, I got a defense verdict, and my client was thrilled. I went to law school because I actually wanted to be a lawyer and I was and am good at it. I never wanted to be rich. I was willing to work hard and I did and I still do. I could care less if I ever drive a Mercedes. And yet all around me I see these asswipes printing money and they’re not even good lawyers. They just got luckier than me.
She’s in trial, winning verdicts for her clients, in what seems to be one of the darker periods of her life. To have that sort of constitution and resolve is a rare thing. Whoever has her for their lawyer is a lucky person. If I have half as much grit as she must have I think I’ll be a pretty good lawyer.
Isodale, for what it’s worth, I’m rooting for you.
As Churchill said: “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never, Never, Never, Never give up.”