I will soon have reached the “out of the courthouse” for a year anniversary, and it has been a wonderful year. There is so much I do not miss AT ALL about that lawyer job.
I don’t miss all the paperwork, though much of the paperwork had become electronic. The courthouse filings were electronic, as were my invoices, and my monthly reports. I had to report on how I spent my time down to the quarter hour, how my contractual activities benefited the Maryland economy (huh?), which cases went to court for what kind of hearing and when the next hearing was scheduled even though the date was purest conjecture on the judge’s part… And all of that information went into Deep Space, never to be seen again, but heaven forfend the reports were late.
This is exactly the kind of work I loathe–detailed, pointless, largely unverifiable, all for show. How on EARTH did I end up in a job where I was evaluated on the basis of this kind of baloney?
I don’t miss the courthouse itself. I was married in that courthouse, and I was on good terms with the people there, but a courthouse–except for marriages and adoptions–is mostly a house of misery. For every person who wins a case, somebody loses, and sometimes everybody loses. People lose their liberty at courthouses, and are consigned to the most brutal, violent, atavistic, bigoted system of incarceration in the developed world (and one of very few permitted to do business on a for profit basis).
Many of those people aren’t guilty, or aren’t guilty of as serious a crime as they’ve been convicted of (or plead guilty to). Many others did not get adequate representation because We the People do not fund the Public Defender’s Office at nearly the levels justice requires. (While the prosecutors, for some reason, tend to do pretty well.)
I don’t miss the lawyers, though I got on well enough with most of them. I might miss them, but I have romance readers and authors to compare to them. Lawyers can have a quirky sense of humor, they tend to be philosophical about complicated questions, and most of them in my little jurisdiction knew how to be civil while representing opposing parties.
But those attributes pale beside the sheer joy of meeting with a writing buddy for book talk-talk, of trading some chat with a reader who wonders whether Bart is Priscilla’s father, of reading the comments on this blog, of seeing an author friend’s release day go well. I am grateful to the lawyer job for all the financial security it generated, I hope I made a meaningful contribution when I wore that hat, but ye gods, I DO NOT MISS IT.
What don’t you miss? To one commenter, I’ll send a $50 Amazon gift card. ALSO, I’ll be ending out e-ARCs for A Lady of True Distinction in the next week or so. If you’d like one, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, subject: True Distinction ARC.