Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Claudette Mayfair Jacket

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Claudette Mayfair JacketHappy Monday! The outfit here is not my favorite, but I do like that sharp-shouldered tweed jacket and the nice green. I’d wear it with lavender or a nice dark purple or navy. It’s part of some good sales going at Steven Alan — the blazer was $925 but is now marked to $462. Claudette Mayfair Jacket

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Comments

  1. Wildkitten :

    [Re-posting] What are the best articles to convince a college graduate to not go to law school? This one wants to do international public interest law, if that helps.

    • Anonymous :

      Just point them to Above the Law.

      • And literally search for “international law.” Or ask any lawyer who has been practicing for at least a few years. It is the butt of many jokes.

        On a more practical level, I find that these kinds of hopefuls fall into 2 camps: the ones who want to be justice-seekers at the UN or State Department, and the ones who really just care a lot about human injustice and don’t really know what to do about it. Point out that those in the former camp have decades of experience in various types of law – there are no “junior” positions – and a law degree won’t be of much help for the latter.

      • Yay! Pricey Monday’s! I love Monday’s even if they are pricey! This is cute, but mabye for Rosa, who does NOT work out of the house. She also has alot of discretioneary income from Ed, who likes when she is HAPPY. (that is what I need, a guy who WANTS me to buy thing’s, not like dad, who has a tight leesh on my credit card’s. FOOEY!

        As for the OP, I think it depend’s on how seriou’s you need to be about law school. It is NOT necesarily a bad thing to go, as long as you KNOW what you are getting into. I did not, but it turned out OK b/c I bumped into the manageing partner in an elevator, and the rest is history, but you should tell her that not everybody can be LUCKEY enough to bump into a manageing partner in an elevator. You still have to study hard (like me) and get a few luckey break’s (like me), even if you do get some crummey guys in summer job’s that just want for you to have sex with them (like me)…TRIPEL FOOEY! But even with these negative’s, there are ALSO the positive’s.

        If you work in court, you have to please the judge, so you can get nice clothe’s paid for by the manageing partner at least at my firm, and you also will eventueally get an office with a window, away from the firm toilet that does not have a fan so that it smell’s bad alot of the time.

        Once your freind weigh’s the plusses and the minusses, they can then figure out, on their own, if they want to be a law school. I know at least for me it is workeing out, even if I can not yet find a guy to MARRY me, which is in the long run more important b/c I want a child, which I can NOT get from being a lawyer alone. If some one can get me a husband, and he want’s to give me children, I will have EVERYTHING! YAY!!!!

    • Moon Moon :

      Is international public interest law really a thing? That people get jobs in?

      • Wildkitten :

        I don’t think so.

      • Seriously. I did the Jessup Moot Court competition in law school- it’s public international law specific- and the only attorneys who “practiced” in the area and judged at the competition were either professors who formerly worked for the State department, one attorney who represented the PLO, and then JAG attorneys.

        • Oops I just read the OP’s comment more closely and it’s “public interest” international law v. public international law. And I can’t imagine that the red cross is hiring lawyers left and right.

      • Moon Moon :

        I think that people who want to do this type of “law” really just want to do Peace Corps-type work, that really isn’t practicing law whatsoever, and can be done without a law degree.

        • I went to law school to do international human rights law–I ended up doing domestic rights work, but there is certainly a market for international public interest lawyers, the jobs are just extremely few and far between and competitive. Almost every non-admin position at Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Open Society Institute, etc. is filled by someone who studied public international law. You can most definitely build an amazing career in this field, but there are only so many of these jobs available.

          And the jokes on Above the Law exist because people think international law is unenforceable–there’s some truth to that, but it’s very different outside of the U.S. It’s certainly relied upon in Latin America and much of Europe.

    • http://www.legallyobligated.com/

    • Olivia Pope :

      Yikes. I know people who went to law school with me to do international public interest law – none of them are doing that now. None of them. And these were people who had worked in some of the world’s top international human rights places before law school. And they did incredibly well. Thankfully, my closest friend in that situation had a full scholarship so she’s not that much worse off.

      Sadly, this graduate would be more likely to be involved in those issues if they didn’t go to law school!

      Here’s an article from the Lawyerist: http://lawyerist.com/70883/dont-go-law-school-now/ He offered a scholarship to people who did not go to law school.

      In view, no one should go to law school right now unless you (1) don’t have to pay for it because of wealthy family or massive scholarship; and (2) are open to a wide variety of potential law jobs, because you will be employed based solely on what’s available to you on the other side, not what you want.

    • Is this person wealthy? Like various relatives will use the ed/med gift tax exemptions to pay for law school (no matter how expensive) and living expenses? And then various family trusts will buy said person a house (not give the downpayment, but pay for it in full)? In that case, absolutely go to law school. [And if you remember the Chris Rock routine, I do mean wealthy and not just rich for this analysis; being a first-generation 1%-er won’t do unless you founded Facebook or something.]

      I have no idea what “international public interst law” is. I suspect it’s something fairly esoteric. I am certain it’s ill-paying. So wealthy people, go ahead. For everyone else: your mother wants you to be self-supporting at sometime in your adult life. Go and read some Dickens. Debtor’s prison now looks like a cube with a computer. Beware.

      • +1000. “Debtor’s prison now looks like a cube with a computer” made me laugh out loud at my desk.

    • Hah! That’s cute. Does this graduate have any idea what that even means? What are they doing now?

      • Wildkitten :

        1. Nope. 2. Working for money, I think.

        • Has she seen Bridget Jones’ Diary one too many times? Does she want to be Mark Darcy?

          • Wildkitten :

            I think she has a liberal arts degree, likes international stuff, wants to help the world, and doesn’t understand that she won’t be able to find a job after graduation.

          • There’s another question here, which is that did she get into Harvard, Yale, or Stanford? If so, she may not be able to get an international law job, but she’ll have a fighting chance and she will almost certainly be able to get a public interest job and have public interest loan repayment programs to help her.

          • Maybe encoruage her to actually work in international development then? I know lots of people who work for NGOs and government agencies in this capacity. See if after traveling for 24+ hours to Africa and Asia every month if she’s still super enthusiastic about going into this field…

          • yes, International Development. Which also isn’t easy to get into. I would suggest she either look for entry level positions at international development NGO’s (there is often lots of opportunity to move up) and/or get a degree in International Relations, something similar. There are Masters programs that are much cheaper and much more useful than a law degree.

          • +3 (or whatever number) to international development. A lot of my friends work in development and find it very rewarding and fulfilling. With that said, from their war stories, it’s increasingly competitive, increasingly requires advanced degrees (definitely MAs, not JDs though!) and people get paid dirt. But at least she’d be getting paid dirt with fewer student loans hanging over her head!

        • I’m not a lawyer so I could be missing the boat completely, but my boss has an international law degree (went all the way to a PhD) and has had a very successful career as an academic, as a consultant for many IOs, and now in international economic relations. If this person is interested in international relations work, I can definitely see how a law background can be advantage in understanding how the system works and giving you a different perspective on certain topical issues(i.e. financial regulation). So while it may not make sense from a purely financial point of view, I wouldn’t discount it entirely either.

    • http://lawlemmings.tumblr.com/research

    • Point them to the previous thread on doing away with loan forgiveness. I think most public interest attorneys will be devastated if this happens.

    • I thought I wanted to practice “international law” and now I am a quite successful and happy bankruptcy attorney. Have faith that this graduate will find his or her way. I think the reason so many 1Ls glom onto international law or criminal law is because they are really the fields that people unacquainted with the law “understand” before actually taking law classes.

    • Honestly you won’t convince anyone, especially if you are a lawyer. People tried to talk me out of it, I wouldn’t listen. Everyone thinks they’ll be the exception not the rule.

      • Wildkitten :

        For my own moral compass I have to at least try to explain the hazards of a law degree if someone comes to me for advice on law school. Otherwise I couldn’t sleep at night.

        • That makes sense. In that case though, I’d frame the advice differently from “don’t go” – I’ve tell this person what you know about the area they think they want to practice in/what you know about what’s required to do that job (nothing’s really a pipe dream – some jobs are just harder to get, require more talent and more initiative than others and this person may or may not have that); what debt really looks like after graduation (if this is an issue for the person); what are some areas of law that you didn’t realize could be great practice areas when you went to law school & what sounded great but ended up not being so; what’s important in law school and what isn’t (e.g. real summer jobs/where to get them/how to position themselves v. summer abroad). I’d approach it from the angle that this person is probably going to go, and how do you help them navigate the impact of that decision.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I can put them in touch with my brother who was going to law school for the same reason, against my protestations and dropped out after 1 semester. He is slowly breaking into the field through various internships/fellowships but realized a law degree would not be what gets him there. You can email me at [email protected] and I will give you his email.

    • Point her to the student loan discussion later in this thread. In nice round numbers, payments on a student loan at 6.8% is approximately $600 for every $50,000 borrowed. Then let her know the average starting salary for the jobs available in her field (if any exist.) From what I’ve surmised, there are a few $45k international public interest law jobs available but applicants outnumber positions 100-1.

  2. So, I have a question for everyone: How do you keep yourself looking put-together when you don’t have the budget to buy new clothing?

    I am on a serious spending freeze, trying to save as much as possible for quitting my job/moving/going back to school, and have cut my clothing budget down to almost $0. I feel like I don’t look put together at work much of the time. Part of this is the budget issue, but I think the bigger issue is getting into a rut (and maybe not caring so much since I’m leaving this job soon). I would love to look majorly awesome and put together, like, for example, Classy Cubicle, but I don’t think I’m cut out to try that hard!

    I suppose I should spend more time getting ready in the morning. I do tend to leave as little time as possible to shower/style my hair/do makeup/get dressed.

    I don’t know if I’m looking for suggestions or just commiseration. Ladies, any thoughts?

    • It may help to put together an outfit the night before. I know if I am in a rush in the morning I sometimes throw on things that don’t look good together. Laying out an outfit the night before may help you to at least make sure your pieces look good together.

    • LeChouette :

      I go as minimal as possible so I can get away with as few outfits as possible. No one notices if I wear the same black suit with the same three shells underneath three days a week…

    • What about accessories? I find a statement necklace or scarf or something turns clothes into an outfit and makes your dressing look more intentional. Plus it doesn’t take long to throw one on!

      • +1

        I rewear the same things all the time and mix and match between them, then change the accessories (shoes, scarf, necklace, earrings) and it’s a totally different outfit!

    • anon in tejas :

      I am pretty clearly in the camp that you don’t have to buy new stuff to feel put together.

      With that said, there is not way to reduce the care/maintenance budget to $0.
      — You will need to take shoes to be resoled/heel capped
      — You will need to take stuff to the dry cleaner

      In the past few years, I’ve moved to buying a few suits/standard pieces at one or two times during the year. I buy things on sale, and that I can generally wear throughout most of the seasons (i.e. multi-season wear). In my city, I can wear summer clothing starting in late April until late September. So my closet reflects that and I have less transition and colder weather clothing. I also can wear more black and less “seasonal” suits to court/work regularly– which also helps. There are very few pieces in my closet that are single season or transitional.

      I stay away from dresses and prints. As those are more memorable, and single wear (i.e. wear something once a month and can’t wear again), as opposed to skirts, thin gauge sweaters, pants, cardigans and blouses.

      • Agree that you need to keep things looking nice- you still need to go to the tailor, dry cleaner and cobbler.

        Additionally, be as kind as possible to your clothes that you wash yourself. A ponte-knit blazer can be machine washed cold water on gentle, hung to dry and hit w/ a cool iron and a lint roller and look great. If you throw it on the floor and never wash it, it will get pilly and disgusting and you will not look put together.

        Committing to the clothes I have and my $0 clothes budget, I’ve really really made an effort to
        1) Take off my clothes immediately when I get home and lay them out on the bed to air out (if I’m not washing them -which is the case for most sweaters, blazers, dress pants, skirts, etc, which I try to wear a few times before washing/dry cleaning)
        2) Before bed, fold sweaters carefully and hang up pants/skirts/blazers on the appropriate hangers – no more throwing anything in a pile.

        That way, even with just a few staples I can wear them several times and they still look nice, to minimize dry cleaning costs. I try to treat all my clothes as if they are amazing designer pieces that I would never schlub around the house in, let the cat rub up against, get food on, etc. To me, this is the key to looking put together on a $0 clothes budget.

    • I'm Just Me :

      Go through your closet and pair things differently than you normally do. You know that tweed skirt that you always wear with a white shirt and a black jacket? Try it with a blue shirt and a pink cardigan. It’s simple, but it works and it extends your wardrobe.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes, this. I like to go to Pinterest and search for something I already own, like “orange pants” (don’t judge!), and it brings up all kinds of outfit ideas I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of. I’m a Pinterest copycat almost every day! And it’s not just copying outfits, but getting ideas about color combinations and so on.

        • I wore orange pants to Easter with my grandma yesterday, and she judged the hell out of me. Haters gonna hate. Wear what you love. (Which for me is orange pants.)

          • Wildkitten :

            My easter pants are pink. I think they’re perfect.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Heh. My grandma was a hater, too.

            Today I am wearing my orange pants with my bright-green-with-navy-striped-heels pumps. Big fun!

        • I want orange pants so bad.

    • You might try “playing closet” as we call it. Go through your closet for this season and lay out everything. Try it all on and make sure it all fits. Donate anything you haven’t worn or can’t see wearing. Include tees, cardigans, accessories like scarves. Then, start thinking about how you could put things together as outfits. Take pictures. Decide what you like together.

      I posted late on the Friday thread, but my weight fluctuates so sometimes I forget what I might have put away that would fit me now. Yesterday morning, I pulled a box out from under my bed and found three cardigans (lilac, dark perinkle, and white) that I had forgotten I had. And, I need to reorganize my shoes so the spring/summer shoes are at the top and more accessible. Also came across a pair of Michael Kors wedges that I had kind of forgotten about and they went perfectly with my dress.

    • kjoirishlastname :

      Goodwill/thrift. If you are really itching for some new pieces, or have to replace what doesn’t fit/is worn/whatever, use Goodwill or thrift stores to patch holes, so to speak.

      The other ideas about shopping your closet are great. You may also want to see if you can arrange a clothes-swap with like-minded & like-sized girls.

      Try a different technique with your hair. Get a cut or some color. I chopped off about 3-4″ from my hair bringing it from just past shoulders to just at my chin, and now I can wear it curly (air dried w/curl product) basically without spending any time on it, and so far I have gotten a ton of compliments.

      FWIW, Coldwater Creek is going out of business. I know that some of their stuff is a little, umm, matronly, but some is really cute, and their accessories are great. Keep an eye out for their liquidation sales.

    • Thanks everyone! I am about to move to a new apartment so that should really help me purge/decide what’s worth keeping. I do think accessories could be a big improvement for me– I wear the same jewellery every day and only sometimes think of putting on a statement necklace. I take care of my shoes and clothing, so no issues there.

      I think one main issue is that I’m currently heavier than I’d like to be, so many of my clothes don’t fit, but I also don’t want to buy new clothes in my current size as I’m on a weight loss plan and hoping to get back to my “normal” size. Typing my original question out on Friday did motivate me to do some light shopping over the weekend, and I got some great basics from the J Crew Outlet (50% off, woo!). Hopefully this can get me through the next few months!

      • kjoirishlastname :

        if you’re in weight flux, that’s where goodwill/thrift really pays off. Treat the items as “disposable” and buy pieces that FIT YOU WELL. There isn’t much you can do for a piece that you LOVE but fits poorly. You’ll never get it to be right despite your best intentions.

      • I'm Just Me :

        A lot of looking pulled together is dressing the body you have. Better to have a few pieces that fit well than a closet full of pieces that don’t fit and that you don’t feel good in. It’s hard when you are in flux, but get a few classic pieces that fit well right now and accessorize them to tide you over.

        • +1 I was in the same boat for a while — most of my clothes didn’t fit well because I had put on some weight. When I finally broke down and bought a few pairs of pants and a dress or two that really fit well, I felt better about myself and even more ready to tackle my weight loss because I didn’t feel so negative when I looked in the mirror and felt like total frump.

          I also recently went through my closet and everything I didn’t know “how” to wear, I made it my goal to find at least two outfits to put it with and ran it by my in-house critic (DH). Now I feel like I’ve been shopping without spending anything.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yes! And also? Have you noticed that we all tend to buy clothes when we are at our lowest weight, and we don’t want to buy clothes when we are at a higher weight? Which means that if we are somebody whose weight fluctuates, we can’t fit into our clothes a lot of the time!

          I say to hell with that. Buy some pieces that you love and look great on you NOW. It will make you feel better and for me, at least, it was always easier to stick to a fitness/weight loss plan when I felt good about myself. Try though I might, I was never able to hate or punish myself into losing a single pound.

        • This. Clothing that fits, no matter what size, is a confidence improver. Use your limited budget to get a pair of pants or skirt that fits your current size. Loft has 50% off and free shipping today. I find that shirts tend to be more forgiving than bottoms and you will feel much better to not have a waistband digging in. You can also accessorize your items cheaply with scarves, necklaces, etc., from places like Forever 21. They’re not great quality items but that store is great for $5 statement pieces that will go out of style.

    • I get my existing wardrobe polished up – shoes re-heeled and polished, clothes dry cleaned and minor repairs made (hems, buttons etc), and purge, makes what info have feel fresh and new.

  3. Something I was really, really hoping for career-wise just fell through. I’m so bummed. What do you do to cheer yourself up in situations like these?

    • this**.

    • 1) Take a walk, 2) Listen to Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair,” and 3) when you can speak intelligently without crying, reach out to mentors (or supportive colleagues/professors) to share your disappointment. Mentors have your back and remind you why you’re excellent and deserve to realize your dreams. They may be able to offer constructive advice. They are probably better positioned than your friends to understand your industry and why things may have turned out the way they did. Also, if you haven’t checked in with your mentor lately – or reconnected with other supportive people – reaching out is the best thing you can do to stay positive.

    • Wallow, drink wine and whine with friends, dust myself off and keep going.

    • Totally let yourself wallow in it for a specific period of time, but then dust yourself off. I’ve been in this situation a few times and EVERY time it’s worked out for the better (even though at the time I couldn’t see how that was a remote possibility). Chin up! This stinks but something better will definitely come along.

    • Senior Attorney :

      When I had a crushing career disappointment some years ago I was just crushed — CRUSHED! for months. The thing that finally got me out of it was getting back on the horse and trying again. Even though it didn’t work out the second time, either, the act of trying again, rather than slinking off with my tail between my legs, somehow helped me get past it.

      And as ANP says, in hindsight it really was for the best, although it was a very very bitter pill to swallow at the time.

  4. Happy Monday.

    If this doesn’t put a smile on your face, check your pulse.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/19/vicious-animals-savage-dogs-cats-photos_n_5175451.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

  5. MBAwannabe :

    Semi-re-posting from this weekend. I found out I got into b-school. Even with the scholarship, it’s going to be about 95k in loans. I’ve never had to take out loans before, and this number seems daunting. I would love to hear anonymous stranger stories about how much you had to take out in loans for school and how long it took to pay them back at what total compensation. There aren’t many people I can talk to about this IRL.

    Shout out to West Coast for a super helpful response over the weekend!

    • For law school, I ended up with about 70K in loans. 5K Perkins, 9K private, and the rest were federal, about 2/3 at 3.75 and 1/3 at 5.8 or 6.8. I’ve been out almost 7 years, and am down to around 38K left (federal only). I live in a fairly low cost of living city, and I started out making 43K and am now making 52K. During law school, I had one scholarship change from 5K per year to 10K per year – it wasn’t a big deal to me at the time, but I realize now that it makes a huge difference in my total repayment. I’ve been pretty aggressive with trying to pay them off over the last few years, and I anticipate being down to 25K in a year or so.

    • 170k law school. 75k private at prime; 30k gradplus at 7.8% (which I completely paid off in 2013) and 65k ish in the stafford at 6.5-6.8%

      I really don’t feel an end yet (and I make market rate) but am saving as well.

    • HYS Law Grad :

      Went to a top-3 law school, ended up with about $120K in debt, basically all of it grad-plus or school-funded. Interest rates are about 6.8% on average. At the present repayment rate (paying nearly $1800/month), I should be paid up in 10 years. That said, I’m presently a 3rd year in Biglaw in NYC (with salary to match), and I’m putting nearly all of my disposable income towards repayment, so I’m hoping to be paid off in 3-5 years from now (so, 6-8 years total).

      Personally (and this may just be because I live in a HCOL area), I find the debt burden very, very limiting. There are lots of great non-profit positions I’d love to go for, but I can’t because I know the salary (usually sub-$100K) wouldn’t even begin to cover loan + rent, never mind loan + rent + eating actual food. That said, in the grand scheme of things, 6-8 years isn’t a particularly big piece of my life, so I try to keep perspective and keep in mind that I’ll be “free” sooner than I think.

    • Top 10 LS. $175K in loans. About 1/3 were at 6.8% and the remainder were at 3%. Repaid in just over 4 years – I know I may have been able to “do better” by trying to beat the 3% interest rate by investing, but I hated the debt hanging over my head so it was worth it to me to get rid of it. I started repaying in earnest (i.e., going well above the minimum required payment) in year 2 of repayment, because I was scared for my job the first year due to the economy and firm layoffs.

      Biglaw salary (mid- to now upper- 100’s, excluding bonuses). 100% of the bonuses, other than a $500 gift-to-self to avoid total misery, went to loans.

    • lucy stone :

      Third-tier law school on a full scholarship, ~$75k in federal loans between law school living expenses and undergrad, one small $3k private loan. All were at 6.8% except the private loan. I’m public interest so I didn’t do anything other than a federal consolidation. I’m currently on IBR and my husband and I earned around $100,000 last year. My loan payments are about $710 a month, but I just got a promotion and a large salary increase, so next year they will be $1000 a month. I’ve been out almost six years and they’ll be forgiven in another four if I keep paying. It’s manageable, and we have a nice house, but it’s still depressing to think about sometimes. I just keep reminding myself that once the balance is forgiven, it’ll be like having an extra paycheck every month!

    • Law school – took out just under $80k (all at 6.8%). I am 2 years out and I have that paid down to just under $30k. Current compensation is $80,000 a year and almost all extra income goes to loans.

    • I was lucky to only have about $35K and I paid it off in my first year in Biglaw ($160K salary) in a very HCOL area. I think I generally tend to live a pretty frugal lifestyle but I do enjoy nice restaurants and nice vacations and I didn’t feel like I had to cut those out of my budget to pay down my loans.
      This may not apply to MBAs so much, but I always tell law students that you don’t just have to get the high paying job, you also have to like it well enough to stay in it long enough to pay down loans. $100K can be paid down pretty easily in a few years in Biglaw (or a similarly high paying job) but many people hate it and are desperate to quit pretty much immediately. If that’s the case, staying 3 years or longer because of the debt can be utterly miserable. I really think one of the reasons I enjoy my job so much is that my debt is paid off, I have significant savings and I know I have the option to quit and do something a lot less lucrative without bankrupting myself.

    • shamlet96 :

      Top 3 law school, about $90K in debt. Paid off a large chunk as a first year associate in NYC. Am eight years out now and have $45K remaining (all federal loans). Work in government and therefore make only the minimum payments necessary each month (I consolidated when i graduated and so my interest rate is very, very low – I think somewhere in the neighborhood of 2%, IIRC). The debt burden isn’t great, but i haven’t found it really changed my career path. Plus, i’m hoping that Obama’s proposal to allow for PILF to be extended to everyone (not just borrowers after 10/2007) will pass, in which case i’ll be eligible for total loan forgiveness in less than 3 years.

    • Top 5 law school, $200k in private/government loans for full tuition/living expenses. Have been in big law since graduating, expect to have loans paid off by end of this year (6 years of repayment). After building up a good emergency fund, I started throwing extra money each month at the loans so that now I have the “snowball effect” going on. I also was able to purchase a condo (granted, I did not have a huge down payment, but the interest rate was very low and I got a good deal on the purchase price), max out 401k each year, enjoy nice restaurants/travel, and live in a HCOL area. Frankly, if you take everything in perspective (only 6 years from my life to pay off my whole degree, which I get to keep forever, plus a nice lifestyle and security to boot) I am just fine with the whole deal. Once the loan payments are gone I will have the freedom either to save a lot more (for a potential baby) or to switch jobs to lower-paying in-house/non-profit.

  6. Yay! It’s no longer Lent! And I can buy shooooooes! Already ordered the Lady Couture Fun wedges this morning (found them cheaper) and I plan to go to DSW sometime today to try on tan pumps since I’ve been on the hunt for a casual tan pump to wear with jeans and cardigans.

    • YAAYYY The Shoes Have Risen!!! ;o)

      • LOL – I was totally thinking about how you said I couldn’t buy shoes “because of Jesus.” But just think, if I’d bought those shoes the day I tried them on, I would have totally overpaid for them, right?

      • THE SHOES HAVE RISEN INDEED!

        (probably blasphemous but I couldn’t resist…)

        • ;o) heehee

          also, cbackson, thanks for your comment on the weekend thread. It is true, I am so ready to be out of there anyway. I’m trying to focus on the positive. And k-padi’s toast for us this weekend was “To Bigger and Better!!” So i’m really trying to internalize that. ;o)

        • Love it! And hey, I went to church twice yesterday so I should be covered. I have to say that this was a good thing to give up. In the past I’ve given up chocolate, but I have been avoiding sugar for awhile, so that wasn’t sacrificial. And I don’t drink much to begin with (except when I have guests, which I have!) so that was out. It definitely made me think about what I NEEDED for spring and summer and not what I WANTED.

          I was kicking myself yesterday afternoon for not bringing home a couple of chocolate eggs. Our choir director’s mom sneaked in and hid them all over the loft (along the baseboards, etc. but I didn’t eat any at church. But that would have been a great way to just have a little chocolate!

        • That was the first thought that popped into my head as well when I read that!

    • Earnest question from a person without religion: What’s the meaning of giving something up for Lent? If you get the shoes anyway, what was “given up”? Is it just the act of having to wait to buy them?

      • Well, the thing is, I’m not “getting the shoes anyway.” I have been a lot more thoughtful about what I need rather than just randomly buying shoes. I was trying to find something for me that would be a) sacrificial (although I admit that not buying shoes is somewhat shallow, but it did make me think); and b) significant in that, although it wasn’t a total shopping ban, it did slow me down on shopping altogether because I was being more thoughtful about spending.

        • Oh, and I should say that I grew up in a Protestant tradition where giving up things for Lent was a Catholic tradition and we didn’t do it at all. The town where I grew up was divided between Catholic (Eastern Europeans who emigrated to work in the steel mills) and Protestant (more often white collar). Odd, I would say. So now I live in a very Catholic city where the Catholic traditions are so pervasive that they have become part of the Protestant tradition. We give up things for Lent, celebrate All Saints, and probably other things I can’t think of. So it’s somewhat new for me, too!

      • lucy stone :

        There is a decent explanation here: http://www.catholic.org/clife/lent/faq.php#giving

        I view Lent as a time for self-improvement, but nobody is perfect!

      • Same reason many religious traditions have some form of fasting or deprivation as part of their observances. It’s a designated period of time to abstain from something to encourage you to be more intentional about consumption and appreciate the things/food, etc that you have in your life every day. See: Lent, Passover, Yom Kippur, Ramadan, Hindu: tons of ’em, Buddhism: tons of ’em…. At least that’s my ‘comparative religions study’ generalizing take on the whole thing. ;o)

        • Well the other thing that I thought of after writing above is that New Orleans is really different about the whole Carnival/Lent thing. Mardi Gras is a big party that’s all about excess then the city really does shut down for awhile afterward. So it feels right to do something sacrificial to observe that.

    • Weren’t you contemplating getting them from a local shop? I’m sad to see you not support them in favor of a cheaper deal.

      • I was going to but the shop really isn’t local (it’s a chain). Also, I doubt if I would have gone back to the French Quarter just to pay $88 for a pair of shoes that are $30-$50 elsewhere. I thought it was a bit high for something that were essentially a novelty but would have paid that if I couldn’t get them anywhere else. Or even to support a local store – if it were Uptown or Garden District, I would have considered it.

  7. switching litigation practice areas? :

    Have any of you switched practice areas in litigation before? Why did you decide to switch? And how did you convince others that this switch would be beneficial from a business point of view?

    I am a 3rd year biglaw associate in a specialized litigation area (think employment, IP, etc.). My current firm is very siloed and has indicated such a switch will not be possible, so I am somewhat at a crossroads in deciding whether I want to stay in my area at this firm or look elsewhere.

    I have been to a few trials at this point and want to switch to a more general litigation practice (where I would have the opportunity to litigate in my current field but also do a more variety of cases). I like the practice of litigation and want to keep doing it, and I am wondering if someone here has made a similar switch, why you did it, and the reasons you gave to the powers that be in making the switch.

    • I haven’t myself, but I know of several associates at my firm in their 3rd-4th years that accomplished this by lateraling to another firm. This is much easier if the new practice area is something that your firm doesn’t do or isn’t well-known in, because it’s easy to pitch to the new firm that you’re leaving to get new experience. I’m not sure how you’d go about doing it at your firm though if the management is resistant to it.

    • It’s possible. If you want to stay at a firm, I’d look for firms where your specialization is not completely segmented off from the general litigation group — e.g., I know people who do 80% employment work/20% commercial litigation within a general litigation group. You can also try to spin what you’ve learned in the specialty in a way that makes you attractive to general litigation practices, like if you’ve worked on smaller cases so have had more responsibility than a typical general litigation at your level. Good luck.

    • I did through lateraling. The new firm was very receptive to the fact that litigation skills are transferable from different practice areas. It’s taken about a year for me to get up to speed on the new practice area, but overall it has been a very good experience.

    • Thanks, roses, that’s good to hear.

      At the end of the day, my bottom line is that I want to get new and more varied experiences. I am wondering, though, how to sell this point when I start look at a new firm (which is probably what I will need to do). That is, if my litigation/trial experience is just in A practice area, how do I sell myself as capable of litigating cases in A+B+C practice areas, when I don’t have direct experience in B + C areas but am very willing and eager to learn?

      • You emphasize what you did: briefed complex points of law, took and defended depositions, trial prep etc not the subject matter. If you’re looking to get into general lit they don’t care about your subject matter skills anyway, so selling them on your technical skills shouldn’t be too hard. I’d anticipate any q’s about your speciality too – like in employment, can you handle cases larger than single plaintiff, if patent, can you handle a case where there’s no technical expert to rely on?

      • I did exactly this – was in a very specialized litigation area in a boutique law firm and then lateraled to big GP firm that had a great specialized litigation department. I was hired specifically for my specialized experience but I knew I wanted to grow and do more general litigation. So once I joined the new firm, I started cultivating relationships with the partners who served my same clients but in the general, commercial litigation side. When our specialized practice hit a slower point, I specifically asked to pick up work on the commercial side. I had to sell myself but litigation is litigation – the same basic skills apply to them all. As an early mid-level, that’s a pretty easy sell.

        If my first firm had had more of a generalized practice I don’t think that the lateral move would have been necessary to apply the same approach. But your circumstances (as described) might require a lateral move. Still, if you’re really happy at your first firm, try quietly cross selling your self and see how it goes. A good environment is worth a lot. Start small and try to pick up some discrete projects. Then you’ll see how it’s really received. Good luck!

    • I switched from commercial litigation to IP litigation, so kind of the opposite of what you want to do, in that I became more specialized. I still do some commercial litigation, but I’m in an actual IP practice group now. I’m also a partner, so I think I have more flexibility. It would be very hard for IP litigators at our firm to switch to something else, mostly because we are insanely busy. However, I think the skills you learn in specialized litigation do translate to a general litigation practice. If I were advising someone at my firm, I’d tell them to look for assignments from people in commercial litigation (or from me, because I can give assignments in commercial and IP). As far as lateraling, I totally think that specialized litigation skills are still litigation skills and translate to more general commercial litigation.

    • Do you want to kill your chances of going in-house? If do, pursue the switch. If not,count your blessings for being in a specialized area.

      • If the specialized area is employment law, that’s hardly an in-house dream killer.

        • Uh, yeah that would be one of the areas – way more jobs doing employment in-house than general lit.

  8. Summer dress recommendation: I got this at Old Navy recently and love it. Seriously can’t wait to wear it. Not for work, obviously, but super cute for weekend BBQs and picnics. Runs on the larger side – so if between sizes, size down. Should be around $20 with the promo code.

    http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=91340&vid=1&pid=954197082

    • That is adorable! All my summer clothes are too baggy on me so will have to pay a visit when I’m stateside next month (less than 3 weeks, cannot wait to see my parents and my awesome niece)

    • Adorable! Perfect for summer.

    • Great find! What color did you get, may I ask? I’m very drawn to the white but, no surprise, already have something very similar in ivory.

      • I got the red. It’s a pinky red, which I really like. But I am now considering also getting it in navy because it just seems like a dress I’ll live in all summer. I love, love, love the white but I worry it wouldn’t stay white for very long with me wearing it…

    • I bought and returned this dress because it was super short even in a tall.

      • I’m about 5’3-5’4 and it an inch or so above the knee in the regular size. I can see how if you’re taller, it could be too short though.

  9. Lady Tetra :

    Does anyone have the Boden Ravello top? Is it worth $58 (quality of fabric and construction, longevity)? Thanks!

    • I love it. I know Boden does a year to return if you’re unhappy with a product (provided you don’t abuse it) so perhaps worth a gamble.

      • Lady Tetra :

        Thanks! They have 25% off tops today and free shipping, in case anyone else is interested.

    • I have three of them. I would not pay $58, but like them a lot. I think I purchased mine for $20-30 during a sale. The washable silk has pilled a little where it rubs against my suit jacket. I like that they are machine washable, have sleeves, and aren’t too long.

    • I have an older season version of it in a solid purple. I thought it was difficult to care for (needs ironing and no machine wash) and the neckline didn’t work for me. The pleats made the neckline in front sag a bit and I didn’t even need to lean forward to show an inordinate amount of chest.
      However, if it fits you better in the chest, maybe you won’t have this problem. Not sure if it’s worth $58, but I’d probably try to get it at $40ish with coupons.

  10. Outside the box :

    After 3 years of practice I find myself practically crying every morning because I hate my job so much I don’t want to go to work. I’ve been applying to jobs in other legal fields that interest me more, but I’m getting nowhere I think because my field is so highly specialized (IP pros). I started reading that “legally obligated” blog someone recommended over the weekend and realized I need to start thinking outside the box, and outside the legal field, for new employment. So I’m looking for all your off the wall ideas, the crazier the better to break me out of my job search rut and motivate me to get moving! If you could just walk into a new job tomorrow what would it be??

    • Not a lawyer (and this is not a crazy, off-the-wall career idea), but I’ve seen a ton of lawyers go into nonprofit fundraising and be very happy with their decisions. You can either focus on planned giving (trusts, estates, etc.) or take your analytic skills and become a major gifts officer.

      If your area is IP, maybe you could find a related nonprofit and raise money for them? I realize that’s a bit of a long shot, but figured I’d throw the idea out there!

    • Ooh, I just lateraled out of IP pros. I swear that area of law was turning my brain to mush. You have my sympathies. It took me many many interviews to get out of there. Just keep trying. Good luck.

    • I really want to own my own bakery! Or even just work in someone else’s. On the more realistic front, I applied for a tax associate position (JD preferred) at a local company.

    • I want to be a cameraperson…or director…of live sporting events. Currently an executive assistant in IT but my major was broadcast journalism. I realized upon graduation that I should have studied film (to be behind the scenes) rather than news (being in front of the camera is exciting but not for me).

  11. Parenting Question - Feel Free to Skip :

    For those who have college age kids: when or how is it appropriate to comment on bad choices that may be limiting life options for your kid?

    Issue here is other parent inviting kid on five-day vacation the week before final exams for Spring semester. Other parent offered (not great parenting choice). Kid accepted instead of buckling down despite repeated laments in weeks prior that kid had “so much schoolwork” and was “overwhelmed” (not great college/kid choice).

    Do you:

    – say nothing. ever.
    – wait to see what natural consequences are (bad grades or grades that are worse than they would have been without vacation).
    – wait to see what natural consequences are and then say something. if so, say what?
    – point out that we visited college at point in the semester calculated to interrupt academics the least and invited for vacation while school was not in session (thus demonstrating that there are choices in life to be made).
    – let it go and realize that kid is destined to be as impulsive and unambitious as other parent.

    Yes, there are feelings about other parent and other parent’s life choices here; that’s why other parent lives in different house now.

    But there are also important lessons for kid, I think, if there is a way to teach them.

    This is a serious question, and I would love any insight that parents who have been here could share.

    Just realized there may be readers who were in this, or similar, position with your own parents, and your insights would also be helpful if you care to share.

    Many thanks.

    • I haven’t been there yet, but I think as a parent you get to say something. Once. And then you have to drop it and let your child face the consequences.

      • My kids are (much) younger, but I agree with this. I think you bring it up once – asking how/if/whether the trip will impact how the student plans to study for his or her exams. It may be that the kid’s exams are all towards the back end of the schedule (or maybe the classes just have papers, or something like that) and the vacation won’t impact studying as much as one might assume. Or, it could be a bad choice and the kid will have to see the natural consequences of that action.

        Are you in a place in your relationship with the other parent that you can ask about the vacation with him?

      • I agree. I am there, and it is incredibly frustrating. But as you likely know, nagging doesn’t work, and if you say something multiple times and the outcome you predicted occurs, the kid just resents you instead of recognizing it was their own bad choice that led to the outcome. So we now advise against poor choice once, and bite our tongue from saying “I told you so” when bad outcome occurs. Ultimately, I am hoping that maturity and experience will result in better outcome next time, and that does seem to be occurring (somewhat).

      • THIS! Voice your concern about how you think there will be negative consequences to this choice, and then tell your kid that the decision is up to him/her.

    • why can’t you talk to your co-parent about it? does co-parent realize that it’s bad timing?

      • anon in tejas :

        I think that OP said or insinuated that they have differing values on this issue, and likely doesn’t see anything wrong with a trip like this. OP feels like she can’t convince the other parent to not go on the trip.

      • It does sound like ‘other parent’ isn’t really a ‘co-parent’ which happens pretty often. I have ‘other parents’ – there is no way talking about it would result in a change, likely ‘other parent’ would dig their heels in/put down parent 1 for ruining the fun.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Definitely do not point out how you visited at an appropriate time ! That’s all about competing with other parent, not parenting your child.

      And get over yourself a bit- a 5 day vacation in college does not mean your kid is destined to be unambitious and impulsive. It means the kid is a college student and may not make great choices all the time.

      I’d go with the obvious unlisted option. Call your child, say you’re concerned about the timing because finals, ask if child has made a study plan to get stuff done pre-vacation and during vacation, offer to talk it through if child would like, and then breathe and back off.

      • “Get over yourself”?
        Do you have to be so sour? It is possible to give advice and to disagree without making the other person feel stupid (“obvious” unlisted option?).

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes. All of this. Especially the last paragraph, which is precisely what I would do.

        • Senior Attorney :

          And of course you’re not stupid and I hope Anne Shirley didn’t intend to make you feel stupid. These issues are super tough — believe me, I have been where you are. It’s easy to start ruminating and stressing and forget you have the option to do simple things like picking up the phone and actually talking to your kid!

          I hade to laugh because if I had a nickel for every time I thought “OMG my kid is going to be [insert undesirable characteristics here] just like his dad!” I could retire tomorrow! So I’ll tell you what I told myself in those moments: “He’s on his own path. And don’t forget to breathe.”

          • Anne Shirley :

            If I intended to make the OP feel stupid, I woulda just called her stupid! Like you said, I think she’s wrapped up in the battle with other parent and missing the obvious solution for all the random distracting trees in the forest. That’s not stupid, and happily getting to those solutions is one of the great things about asking for advice from people who can just tell you what they think without worrying about seeming sour or fully understanding your circumstances.

          • Senior Attorney :

            I wasn’t clear: “I hope” = “I know” in the first line above. ;)

    • Well, you certainly don’t assume they’re destined to become undedicated and unambitious in life because they decide, in college, to take a long weekend at a time you don’t approve of. Yikes.

      • Wildkitten :

        +1 I did a lot of stupid stuff in college and they’re some of my favorite memories. You have the rest of your life to be responsible.

      • Anonymous :

        Agree with this. And frankly “I’m so stressed and I don’t have enough time to do everything” is muttered by college students ALL the time when in reality they have a ton of time to do all the things. It could just be part of their vocabulary. Frankly, a vacation before finals week would’ve worked out fine for me in college.

    • I was remarking to a friend how much prom had been and about people sneaking liquor up the back staircase and this and that and the other and my mother overheard me. She (who was not one to normally say anything to me, ever; same with dad) that she and my father both worked very hard so that I could have nice things and a fun time and that they were not working so hard so that I could make some stupid decisions (FWIW, I did not do anything really stupid, but I did think that very stupid things were cool and awesome because cool kids did them and were glamorous and what’s the worst that could happen . . .).

      I got the message. I was never a bad kid, but I did draw the line about being really stupid / lazy / etc. on someone else’s hard-earned dime.

      My children are very, very young and even now I tell them that I have to work hard for what we have. I wouldn’t hesitate to tell them them more when they were older (including that my paying for college is very conditional and just putting the $ in the back for if/when they get their priorities in order).

      • Just FWIW, if my mom told college-aged me that I couldn’t go on a vacation that she wasn’t paying for, because she wasn’t helping with college for me to make stupid decisions…my reaction would have been a variation on “scr*w you.”

        I’m with the posters above. Say something once, and then let the kid live with the results. I know it has to be hard, but one semester of bad grades (if that even happens!) are not the end of the world, and can be a major learning experience. A college student making an impulsive, maybe not that great, decision to do something fun instead of studying for finals is totally normal, and does not indicate that he or she is overall an unambitious or impulsive person. (Also, is being impulsive necessarily a bad thing? Some of my best choices were made on impulse. Not all, obviously, but you learn from the ones that don’t work out and do things differently next time.)

        • I’m going to push back a little. Some colleges can cost about 1K/week. Even for the less expensive ones, someone is paying for the student to be in a seat in class or in the library studying. And now that money has been wasted by taking a vacation during that week.

          I do not get the idea that college is a 4-6 year party the parents have to pay for no matter what.

          At this point, you know your child. And I have a feeling that this is not the first red flag (if it were, you probably would not treat it as such: Shelly is going to Antigua, so she has probably given her term paper to the professor already and arranged to take her linguistics exam in advance).

          So you can wait and see how things go. Maybe the child squeaks through. Maybe this will be their burning bush moment. And maybe have a serious talk about what, exactly, you’re funding here. If you’re not funding anything, your couch is still at risk of becoming this child’s residence when he/she fails to launch.

          • At least in my college, the week before exams was “Dead Week.” Classes were not in session and most students were either studying at the library or went home to study for the week. I am not the type of person who can study for days on end, especially when my exams were usually at the end of the exam period. My parents took me on a vacation for two of those weeks prior to exams and I turned out just fine.

            I’m not one to advocate that College is purely for partying, but a savvy college student could easily work out a five day vacation in the week prior to exams. Let’s say she is enrolled in five courses: one has a term paper instead of an exam, one exam is the Monday after she returns but that professor will drop her lowest test/exam score, one exam is a practical she schedules and completes prior to her vacation and her final two exams are on Thursday and Friday of exam week. This student could complete her term paper and study for her practical in the weeks prior to vacation, study for the optional exam that drops her lowest test score during vacation and devote all of Tuesday and Wednesday for her final two exams.

          • Anonymous :

            @ Aggie

            I think the Dead Week you describe has largely fallen by the wayside. It has shifted to a week that still has classes and can require homework if it’s on the syllabus. The only “dead” part is that there can’t be tests, quizzes, or homework that wasn’t listed on the syllabus. And the classes that are held are often review sessions, which are especially helpful for someone struggling with the class (they also often reveal info on the test format and focus that is good to know even if you have a good grasp of the material).

        • Anonymous :

          Agree to disagree. I would be mad if my mother said anything more than once, but that is because I paid for college myself. It was not her money at issue. But no child is entitled to a parent-paid college experience. If parents choose to pay, they are entitled to make conditions (similar to my partial scholarship conditions). It is to late for this year; but I would consider setting a required GPA for the child to recieve in order to continue to receive parential support. It would still be their choice to go on the vacation, but they would know the consequences (no more parent-paid college) if they received bad grades as a result.

          • This. We are setting aside money for a full ride for college for my son but making it GPA-dependent. If he wants to scr*w around, that’s on his dime, not ours.

    • In this situation, I’d take a different view – I don’t think a vacation close to finals is going to make that much of a grade difference, if any. If your kid is overwhelmed and not getting it, cramming isn’t going to solve that problem. Grades are made all semester not in the 11th hour.

    • I’m firmly in camp don’t say anything ever. My kids are nearly college age and older children. I’ve found that when I try to give them advice all they hear is “nag nag nag, blah blah blah, you think I’m a moron who doesn’t understand the consequences of my actions.”

      I’ve found life lessons are much better learned when they are learned through one’s own choices, not because someone else points out the flaws in the choice. This applies to parents, spouses, kids, friends, bosses, coworkers, everyone. I’ve been much happier since stopping trying to control other people’s choices. You love and want to protect your kids, but the best way is to let go and let them screw up. A lot. You presumably gave your child 18+ years of great guidance. Let them use it.

      And don’t feel its your job to pick up the pieces when things go bad (and they probably won’t go bad based on a one week vacation.) Paying for college is a gift, that you can take away at any time if your child abuses it. If your child cannot get a job, that doesn’t mean you have to let them back on your couch, unless you want to. And you can change your mind as your child’s circumstances change. Your child will probably learn a better lesson living in a tiny, dirty apartment with 8 other people than back on your comfy couch.

      And seriously, your child is over 18, don’t let the other parents choices get to you. Co-parenting is over. You never. have. to. speak. to. them. again. (except at weddings when you have to be polite.) Get the negative gone and be happy it’s not in your world anymore.

      • I firmly agree with “Don’t say anything ever.” Calling and asking about their study plan seems overly passive-aggressive and also pretty helicoptor-ish to me.

        I don’t know your kid, so maybe this is my own biases, but I would guess either your kid is (1) a responsible, school-centered kid and wouldn’t accept a trip without having figured out a way to make it not impact their grades; or (2) much less of a school-centered kid and taking the trip or not won’t affect their grades. If they are not dedicated to studying, they won’t study regardless of whether the lack of studying happens on a beach or in a college dorm room.

        Your kid is in a college. I think you have to lean back and breathe and let them live their life. And remember, they are taking a vacation– not dropping out of school, marrying an abusive partner, becoming addicted to something, robbing banks, etc. Save your words for a time when it really is life altering.

    • I just want to sympathize. It is so unfair to be paying for college and not be able to tell your kid you are not paying for them to party on your dime (exactly what my parents told me. I wasn’t happy about it, but they weren’t wrong). My stepkid is not in college yet, but I envision similar issues arising. I agree with those who said you can say something to your kid once and then have to button it and I’m sorry that is the crappy position you’re in.

    • anonymama :

      I think you need to make sure to separate your feelings about the other parent from your feelings about your child, and child’s decision-making. Not easy, but it sounds like it’s kind of become in your head a black-and-white thing, either the kid is responsible like you and doesn’t go or is impulsive and irresponsible like other parent and doomed to a lifetime of failure. Which is absurd and not fair to your kid or the other parent. So talk to your kid: “You’ve been talking about how overwhelmed you’ve been feeling about finals coming up, have you thought about how you’ll be able to get your work done on your trip?” or “I’m worried that missing class will mean you have even more work to make up before finals.” But ultimately, once your child is in college you have to let them fly on their own, and take the consequences of their actions.

  12. BigLaw --> MidLaw :

    I’m contemplating a move from a firm that’s solidly big law to one that’s def a mid size firm- smaller in numbers, lower rates, smaller clients, lower pay. My thought process is that I’m never going to make partner in big law, and I hate the environment, and I might have a shot in MidLaw and actually like the work. I’m in corporate, so I’d be trading working on some pretty important deals for more every day stuff.

    Has anyone made a similar move? Thoughts? Am I leaning out?

    • I’ve spent most of my career in MidLaw, now in regional BigLaw through a series of mergers. MidLaw still does great deals–sometimes multi-billion dollar deals involving huge companies. I know my old 25-person MidLaw corporate boutique did a multi-billion dollar deal selling a niche company (think shampoo or baby food or something) to a Fortune 100 company with a slew of brands. I don’t think it’s “leaning out” to not be BigLaw.

    • If you interview with the midlaw firm, please don’t have the attitude like working there is “leaning out” from your career. That’s fairly insulting to people who are very successful and good attorneys at mid-size firms.

      To answer your question: it’s very firm-specific. I moved from midlaw to biglaw and the mid-size firm was a terrible, horrible place to work that was a death-march each day with no chance of making partner. Biglaw is paradise compared to that.

      • BigLaw --> MidLaw :

        Good. I don’t think of it as leaning out myself, but I wanted to check and get an out sider’s POV.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I started in BigLaw and moved to MidLaw at the end of my first year. It was absolutely the right decision for me — interesting work, decent pay, and I made partner. Then I was able to transition to the public sector and have a new and interesting career doing something different.

      That said, there is no question that MidLaw is not BigLaw and whether you are “leaning out” depends on your definition of “leaning out.” Are you setting your sights a bit lower than some other lawyers? Well, yeah. Of course. Does that mean you’re not still going to have an awesome career with good pay and interesting work? Hell, no.

      I do agree with JJ on both points: Don’t let the MidLaw people know that you think they are all big ol’ losers and that you would be one if you joined their firm. Not true, and insulting. And also, definitely check out the firm culture. There are plenty of MidLaw firms out there that are just as bad as BigLaw, and you don’t even get the BigLaw money to help make up for it.

  13. militarygf :

    Anyone want to do some kind of cute vicarious shopping?

    My boyfriend returns home from a long deployment in a few weeks (yay!) and I’ll be meeting him at the airport at 7am. I want a really pretty, flirty sundress to wear. I’m thinking super girlish – pinks, pastels, florals – but casual, because of the hour. Suggestions?

    A-line looks best on me, and I’m hoping for something a little All-American s*xy. A little short, a little lowcut, but still classy.

    • I posted this up top, but may I recommend the Old Navy eyelet dress in either red or white? It’s very summer USA to me. No flowers but lovely & s*xy and totally appropriate for morning all the same. The red is a bright scarlet red a la Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and you can never go wrong with a white sundress either. Whatever you wear, enjoy the moment!

    • kjoirishlastname :

      see the above-referenced Old Navy sundress. Adorbs in navy blue.

    • Clementine :

      YAY!

      Whatever sundress you pick will be perfect- I can tell you that I’ve heard many many times over when someone comes back from deployment, you could be wearing a trash bag and they’d think you look great and were happy to see you.

      • Hahaha yes – I’m sure what you’re wearing will be the last thought on his mind. But I do think that Old Navy sundress would be supercute!!

    • So glad he’s coming home! I like this one a lot: http://www.shopbop.com/floral-frenzy-box-pleat-dress/vp/v=1/1599880243.htm?folderID=2534374302072409&fm=other-shopbysize&colorId=10917

      Fairly demure from the front, but it’s got a fun (and by fun I mean s*xy) low back!

      • http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/bb-dakota-basha-floral-print-fit-flare-dress/3694705?origin=category&BaseUrl=Day

      • Subtly patriotic! http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/jessica-simpson-seersucker-fit-flare-dress/3654873?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=2374331&fashionColor=Moreal+Blue&resultback=0&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-searchresults-_-1_1_B

  14. I’ve been having terrible middle of the night insomnia- waking up every night between 3-4am and not falling back asleep until 5, then waking up again for work at 6:30. I’m in bed by 11 usually, but I am just exhausted . Anyone else have this? What helped? It’s only been a few weeks, so I’m hesitant to see my doctor. I have no idea how parents handle their sleep deprivation, I just want to curl up and sleep.

    • I’ve been having this – for me it’s work stress related. I wake a 2am and stay up until 4-5am. It’s terrible. The only thing that’s helped so far is forcing myself to keep moving during the day and stay up until 11pm or so even on the 3rd or 4th night in a row of it, because if I go to bed at 8 or 9 like I want to, it just keeps happening. It’s challenging and I don’t have any better advice other than to keep pushing.

    • What do you do when you wake up? Do you lay in bed thinking about how you need to go to sleep? Do you get on your phone? I had the same problem earlier in the year and these were things that helped me:

      – Are you stressed? Maybe do some yoga or meditating.

      – go to bed at the same time every night, including weekends. I kept messing up my sleep routine because I’d stay up until midnight on Saturday, sleep until 9:30 on Sunday and then I wasn’t tired Sunday night. The cycle continued.

      – make sure you are getting at least 30 minutes of hard cardio per day and drink a ton of water. When you think you’ve had enough water, drink more.

      – Take one Melatonin 3 hours before bed time (you can buy it in the vitamin section OTC).

      – check the temperature of your bedroom. 65-67 degrees is perfect for most people.

      – when you wake up, do not look at the clock. That starts the “I have to get up in 3 hours, I have this and this and this that has to be done tomorrow, I’m going to be so exhausted, etc.” Reposition yourself into your favorite sleeping position and then think about your favorite place in the world (whether it be hiking, the beach, etc.) and go there. When you feel your mind start to wander pull it back to your favorite place. Listen to the waves or look closely at the trees and flowers. Do square breathing while visualizing your place. Breathe in in two breaths, hold for 2 seconds, breath out in two breaths, hold for 2 seconds and repeat. Between the counting and being in your place it doesn’t really allow your brain to wander. This is how I fall asleep every night.

      – If you still can’t go back to sleep, get out of bed. You want to train your body that when you’re in bed, you’re sleeping. Don’t work in bed or watch TV in bed. Make a warm cup of milk with honey or sleepy time tea. Don’t look at the TV/computer/phone. Read a book or just sit in a chair and relax. Go back to bed and repeat previous step.

      I went to the doctor because I was having issues sleeping and she recommended that they draw my blood and run my panels. She said that thyroid issues can really have an affect on sleep. All of my levels came back normal. Maybe you should consider getting your blood done? A physical at your Dr.’s office is typically 100% covered by insurance so there may not even be a cost to you.

      Hope this helps, let me know if you have any specific questions.

      • This is really helpful! I have an appointment for my thyroid anyways, because my hairdresser commented that my hair is thinning, and earlier this year I managed to pack on 20 lbs in just under 2 months without eating more or exercising less, so, maybe that’s what it is.

        In the meantime, I’ll try your tips- thanks!

        • Glad I could help. Sounds like it could be a thyroid issue based on your other symptoms. I’d definitely go to the doctor sooner than later.

        • kjoirishlastname :

          thyroid meds can be life-changing. Hope it’s an “easy” answer such as that.

        • Also, are you taking vitamins at night? If there are enough “energy” vitamins, it could wake you up.

          • This definitely happens to me as well. I’ve had to cut vitamins to early morning only.

        • Are you in your early 40s? Your symptoms sound like perimenopause. It sucks, but that’s when it can start. Insomnia, hair loss, feeling very warm, as if you’ve just worked out.

    • I have no practical suggestions, but it made me think of this article about how maybe we’re not supposed to be sleeping in 8-hour chunks:

      http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16964783

    • As a new parent, I’m slam in sleep deprivation mode. And the kicker is that on nights where Baby does sleep through, I lay awake.

      So I lay still in bed, turned away from the clock and with my eyes shut, and count backwards from 5,000. It’s challenging enough that it keeps my mind from dwelling on everything I need to do, but monotonous enough that I zone out. I’ve never made it to zero.

    • FedTaxAtty :

      Try ear plugs and an eye cover. It may be that some night noise/light is consistently waking you up. Perhaps removing all stimulus will help you sleep through the night.

      I also find that my diet greatly affects my sleep patterns. For example, I always wake up in the middle of the night after drinking wine.

    • Ugh, that sounds terrible. All my sympathies. I am just mentioning this because it’s allergy season, but one year I stupidly was taking 24 hour allergy meds in the early evenings, which interrupted my sleep for about three days, so as badly as it sounds like yours is. I readjusted and took them in the mornings and was better after a day or two. Good luck!

  15. OK gang, I have an interview tomorrow (second round) for a job I’m interested in but am not totally sold on (yet). I consider this interview process as a chance to, as a former boss used to say, “fill my information bucket.” I’ve already met with the CEO (whom I’d report to) and a few Board members; tomorrow I’m sitting down with the CEO (again) and the CFO. CFO and I would report to CEO and the three of us would run the organization together.

    I was told to bring a list of questions with me, which is great — they view this as a conversation, hurrah! Here’s what I’ve got so far:

    – Their expectations for the position (it’s brand new)
    – How they envision this person fitting into their team and the org overall
    – Their work, meeting and communication style
    – (More delicately phrased than this) Potential dynamic between the three of us. CEO has been with the org 5-6 years, and she brought CFO with her from OldJob. I don’t want to be the odd woman out.
    – Organizational culture
    – Biggest challenges for each of them

    What am I missing here? Any input would be greatly appreciated! I feel as though I’m missing something big.

    • Beyond communication style, I would ask about their decision-making style. Does the CEO tend to work collaboratively? Talk to people separately then make the decision for him/herself? Talk to others together and try to gain consensus? I realize that the dynamic is different in the corporate world and the stakes are higher but it could give you a sense of how the three of you would work together and how your role would fit with them.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I would ask specifically, “What do you envision this person doing every day? What would a typical day/week/month look like for me if I were to take the position?” That might get a little more specific information than asking about “expectations.”

      • I also like to ask “What will be my first priority after starting this position”.

    • kjoirishlastname :

      Can’t think of anything off the top of my head, but good luck!

      • Thanks — this is all good stuff, and I’ll definitely take the well wishes too!

    • Your questions come across as very focused on the internal/ day-to-day aspects of the job. I would add some questions that show you think about the organisation in its wider context – how does the management team see their organisation’s competitive position (is it a leader in its field ? an upstart ?), what are their aspirations for the organisation, what are some elements of their plan for getting there, what are some of the challenges, who do they consider their competitors and how would they assess their ability to compete ?

      And then to tie it back to your role and your interest in the organisation – will there be opportunities for you to learn, to acquire relevant experience and to take on more responsibilities if the organisation progresses as its managers hope ?

    • Silvercurls :

      Three ideas, arranged from most to least useful:
      – Go to askamanager(dot)org and download her free guide to preparing for interviews.
      – Piggyback on comments already posted here: Ask about their expectations for past experience, present working style, and future outcomes & opportunities for the person who the envision being successful in this position.
      – Project confidence in yourself and interest in the position and the two potential colleagues (CEO and CFO) without being so starry-eyed that they’ll be totally puzzled later if they make you an offer which you decline b/c of what you learn in the interview.

      YMMV so adjust my suggestions as necessary to fit your precise circumstances! I am _no_ expert in these matters. Disregard any or all of my advice if it seems tactically unwise in any way.

  16. It’s always nice to get an “atta girl”

    Our in-house attorney (local govt) emailed me with a pretty simple question. I answered with a little more detail than was specifically requested. Got an email response back from him with “awesome response, thanks”

    booyah. That’s how you start a monday!

  17. Reporting back on this dress that I tried at NY&Co last week (I did buy it, but ended up not wearing it for Easter service because I didn’t have quite the right accessories. Tags are still on, and if I don’t find the belt and shoes I want, it may yet be returned). http://www.nyandcompany.com/nyco/prod/dresses/floral-fit-flare-dress/A-prod450012/#.U1U5n_lXARU

    Overall, cute dress, and seems well made for the price! I’m slightly pear shaped, 5’9, about 150, and I got a size 8. The bodice fits a tiny bit more loosely than would be ideal, but there wasn’t a 6 available for me to try on, and even if there had been, I suspect the length would have been an issue in that size. The fabric is medium-weight (I wouldn’t wear this in 90% humidity; it doesn’t seem like it would breathe) and hangs well, stiff enough to keep the flared shape. I do think it will probably wrinkle easily, but I imagine I would mostly wear it places that I’d be standing more than sitting, so I’m overlooking that. The waist seam is a smidge high on me, and the length is about where it is on the model, maybe even a little shorter. Definitely too short for work, but that print and shape aren’t something I’d wear to work anyway.

    I also got this dress in blue, which I like even better than the first. It is drapier, and feels lighter (although the fabric is still synthetic, so breathability probably remains an issue). http://www.nyandcompany.com/nyco/prod/dresses/crochet-lace-fit-flare-dress-circle-dot/A-prod450015/#.U1U6IflXARU

    I tried on a bunch more dresses, but couldn’t justify buying all of them… in general, though, I love the cut of these fit-and-flare styles. It’s a really flattering silhouette on me and I’m glad it’s in fashion this year!

  18. Amelia Earhart :

    Career Advice TJ, I apologize in advance if I sound naive, I haven’t seriously been job hunting in a while: I really like my organization, my compensation is decent and I have a ton of PTO, but my department is toxic and my manager is awful, I spend 8+ hours at my desk wanting to be sick from the anxiety.

    It was announced today that position is opening up in another department that I work with closely and everyone there has a good work/life balance and really enjoys working for their manager and director. Three people in said department reached out to me to say that I’d be a “perfect fit” and to talk to their director about the role, which I plan to do, but am not sure if I should mention to the director that these people have made these comments?

    • hellskitchen :

      I think you should, unless there’s any reason the director doesn’t like those three people (highly unlikely if it’s three people versus just one who made the comment). You could reach out and say something like “X, Y and Z, who I have worked with (if applicable) encouraged me to explore this role; upon learning more about it, I think it is a great role and I believe my skills would make me a great fit for it.”

  19. MM LaFleur :

    I got my M.M. LaFleur box a few weeks ago, and several commenters wanted to know how it was.

    I have mixed reviews. Everything they sent me was perfectly lovely, but the fit was definitely small for me. I usually wear a 10-12 in dresses and the 12 was very snug.

    The one thing I ended up keeping has been a huge disappointment. I kept the Tarantin in Oatmeal. When I removed the hang tag from the side (they put hang tags on the outside so you can’t wear the item and then return it.) it left a noticeable hole in the fabric. After further inspection, the hem was snagged. I contacted the company, and they were very nice about sending me a replacement. Upon arrival, my replacement piece also has a hole from the tag (I don’t understand why they don’t put the hang tag in the seam), a snag on the sleeve, the button hole is too large on the inside and won’t stay shut, and a huge green marker stripe down the back of the inside.

    In short, I thought the pieces were nice, but quality is lacking for the prices. I’m really disappointed that I spend $175 on something that’s already in bad shape.

    • You should definitely return it. It sounds like their customer service department is pretty good. Sorry for the frustration :(

    • Charlotte York :

      I am actually waiting for my MM La Fleur box. Yikes, I hope I have a better experience.

  20. hellskitchen :

    Need help crafting a note for a former co-worker who is going through saying goodbye to a parent with a terminal disease. Have ordered some food but don’t know what to write in the card beyond “you are in my thoughts.” We are friendly but not friends. Any advice?

    • Senior Attorney :

      I don’t think you need anything more than that. I’d probably say something like “I’m thinking of you in this difficult time. Hang in there.”

    • anon-oh-no :

      I just went through this on the receiving end. The things that helped me the most were just getting the card and knowing there were folks out there that cared and that I could talk to if I felt like it. I was overwealmed with the expressions of thoughtfullness by so many friends and co-workers.

      I would just let him/her know that you are thinking about her and that you are there in case she wants to talk. And if you are close enough or comfortable with the idea, in another week or two, I would give her a call to see if she wants to talk or have lunch.

    • hellskitchen :

      Thank you ladies. I never know in times like these whether the recipient prefers to be left alone or would like to hear from acquaintances. Anon-oh-no, I am sorry to hear that you were on the receiving end; thank you for sharing your perspective. My co-workers in not local so at this point a card will have to do.

  21. Miz Swizz :

    DH and I are scheduled to close on our first house at the end of May. We’ve already started to purge some of our random belongings but I’m struggling with how we can pack up in preparation without having to step over boxes everywhere. Any seasoned movers out there with tips?

    • Anne Shirley :

      Pack by zone and stack your boxes. So living room stuff gets packed one week, and those boxes are labeled living room: books, living room: tchotchkes, etc, and then stacked against the living room wall. Then move onto another room. You’ll be making actual progress without having half full boxes all over your house.

    • You cold rent a storage unit to store boxes once they are packed. If that is not an option, is there one room of the house that can be used just for box storage?

      We did a double move recently – sold our house and lived in an apartement for 6 months while our house was being built. Moving is a lot of work, but these are some things we did:

      – Label boxes as clearly as possible
      – Start packing seasonal items that you won’t need immediately
      – Pare down your kitchen and keep only the essential pots and pans, etc until you get to your moving date
      – Pack an “overnight” bag with clothes, toiletries, electronics that you can get to easily right after you move
      – I used Evernote to keep track of my to-d0 list for contacting utility companies to disconnect old service and set up new service
      – We were sending documents back and forth with our mortgage company up until the day before closing. Keep your computer/laptop/printer connected and ready for any last minute paperwork.
      – Dismantle a much furniture as possible before your moving day. Keep any screws, etc in baggies attached to the furniture

      We had family/friends help us move, so for the actual moving day we had as much packed up as possible to make it easy on our helpers. If you can, try and move items in small trips in the days prior to the big moving day. That makes the final move a bit easier.

      Good luck and have fun setting up your new house!

    • Clementine :

      Pack a ‘Open me First’ box. In it should be (at the very least): Paper towels, bath tissue, coffee maker, coffee filters, coffee, can opener, a good knife, a pair of scissors, a roll of duct tape, spare electronics chargers, a few paper plates, some silverware, a radio/ipod speaker and a couple of coffee mugs plus whatever else you determine to be ‘essential’. Having coffee when you move in is key for my happiness.

      Also, if you think you would ever want to paint your closets, do it NOW before you move in. Someone told me that if I didn’t paint my closets before I moved in, I probably never would.

      Oh, and don’t let your MIL ‘help’ by packing (aka shoving in the back of a moving van) all the things you left out because you needed them to physically move. See: jackets, tape, trash that needed to go out and… keys to the moving van.

      • Include a shower curtain in your ‘Open Me First’ box.

        • Definitely. We didn’t have one after one move and it had been raining that day (I always seem to get rain on my moving days!!) and all I wanted was to take a hot shower. Luckily, the shower head was one of those you could pull off with a hose, so I kind of did it that way, but it still got water all over the floor.

    • Silvercurls :

      Lots of good ideas here. My first impulse is “run away” (or follow my DH’s long-ago comment, mid-move, that “possessions are evil!”)…after that urge subsides, here are some more ideas.

      1. Label your boxes on the top and two sides (so you can see the information no matter how you or the movers position the boxes).

      2. Also _number_ your boxes and keep a separate list showing box #, room, and contents (e.g. #57, living room, cookbooks) so you have a snowball’s chance in you-know-where of locating categories of items if not immediately laying your hands on, say, The Moosewood Cookbook. This plus checking off each item as it crosses your new threshold lets you confirm sooner rather than later that all of your boxes were unloaded at your destination.

      3. While you’re packing up, keep your packing list (I used a legal pad & kept all pages attached) in a small box of Moving Essentials along with: packing tape, scissors or utility knife, Sharpies, regular pen, wall charger for phone & other electronics, bandages, and a bar of dark chocolate.

      4. Add items from the list below to turn this box into your Arrival Essentials Kit in our new place:
      – hand soap, paper towels, toilet paper, possibly some basic cleaning supplies (so you can have a non-icky bathroom ASAP), a couple of light bulbs, an extension cord, and enough bedding & bath linens for you to survive the first night without having to dig out the sheets at midnight. Might also add shower curtain, bath mat & a few cloth rags. I usually added a radio b/c I’m addicted to public radio.

      5. Keep the Arrival Essentials Kit as easy to locate as your “overnight bag”–either move it yourself or color code it (on more than one side) with bright labels or colorful Duck tape so you can grab it & set it aside as it comes off the truck.

      6. Start as early as you can if not earlier.

      7. Get rid of as much as you can before you move because why spend time & money to move your junk?

      8. If you’re over 30 years old, don’t plan on staying up all night packing.

      8. I’ve always found #6-8 really difficult advice to follow!

    • This may seem a little silly to say out loud, but make sure to pack books in small boxes. Coming from someone who has a) a lot of physical books and b) moved A LOT growing up, boxes with books can get heavy very fast.

      Also, you really shouldn’t have to pay for boxes – most stores would happily part with empty boxes, as long as you can get them before they compress them. When I was first moving out of my mom’s and working at JCPenney, they would let me take boxes at the end of the night; security just had to check them before I could leave. They may be all different sizes and a little awkward, but moving boxes are unnecessarily expensive.

      Also, a big second to the Moving Essentials/Open Me First box. If you’re moving in-town and able to get in before actually moving day, bring some of that along with you one night. But definitely make sure to put out at least toilet paper.

      It’s okay to wake up the morning of in a panic – I know I did for my second move (but first on my own) and my dad, who, bless his heart, was in the Navy when I was born and the first one there that morning, let me ramble for five minutes (without giving him a hug or saying hello) before he looked at me, told me to breath, and sit and drink some coffee.

      Good luck and remember to go easy on yourself. As long as you possessions all make it one piece and without harm, it was a good move. You learn something new from them every time.

  22. Chiming in late here, but just wanted to add a couple points to the excellent advice so far. I usually start with the things I don’t need: decor, books, DVDs, CDs (yes I still have all of mine and they fill three boxes); I might leave out a few for entertainment, but most of that’s stuff I can do without for a few weeks. I usually then move on to the kitchen and just go in order of what I need least; again, I leave out a few dishes and glasses and such, but packing the breakable stuff takes time and it’s better not to leave it for last. It helps to plan to live on takeout for a few days at the end! (I spend the month before my move “eating down” the contents of my freezer and pantry.) I usually leave the bathroom for last; very little of what’s in there is breakable, so it can all just be tossed in a few boxes if things come down to the wire.

    Also, a fantastic source for small sturdy boxes is the liquor store – they get tons of them and are always happy to give them away, and those are perfect for books and such.

    Make sure things that are valuable stay with you. After a moving company lost the box containing all my framed pictures a number of years ago, the art always goes in the car with me. You should also keep your jewelry, computer, and backup drive with you, and anything else that is valuable or irreplaceable. I have one fragile antique side table that comes with me as well; it’s an odd shape and got broken in one move (though the company paid to have it repaired).

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