Coffee Break – Air Talia OT Wedge

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  1. dear summer associate who accompanied me to court today,

    next time, bring a notepad. and a pen. and don’t twiddle your thumbs under the table and look around the courtroom while absent mindedly drinking a beverage.

    you’re not expected to substantively contribute anything or save the day, but scribbling a few notes here and there at least proves to me that you’re engaged. you seem totally bright and capable, but i don’t know how to match that up with your lack of writing instruments and paper.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      In fairness to her –

      While taking notes might make you look productive, taking notes is 100% useless to me. I keep salient things in my head, and rarely look back at notes. For me (I’m not saying for everyone) they’re not a valuable tool and I tend to end up doodling, rather than paying attention. I know it’s all about appearances (which is why I do bring a notepad to important meetings) but to be honest, they hinder my own ability to pay attention since I end up just practicing my cursive or something.

      • AnonInfinity :

        I completely agree. I almost never take notes, especially when I’m not expected to remember or contribute anything to the particular event. I understand not wanting her to twiddle her thumbs, but some people are just fidgety so maybe she was getting out some energy. If she otherwise seems bright and capable, maybe she just doesn’t have the same learning style as you?

        Semi relatedly — I have really come to hate the “Dear X” topics that only serve to tear someone else down. It’s one thing to say, “I think that my summer associate is really bright and capable but she’s coming off as not caring about her work because she doesn’t have a pen with her a lot. How can I help?” Or to say “Dear Beautiful Lady on the Subway, You looked so awesome with your single blue nail.” But using these threads to criticize people like this feels like Mean Girls to me.

        • Totally agree.

          • I do agree with the underlying comment that some things have gotten a little Mean Girls. Remember the thread from a few months ago criticizing the woman who came to court when it was completely unexpected and someone posted all about the outfit and she then recognized herself? Just because this is anonymous, doesn’t mean there arent real people on the other end. Positive and constructive is always better, IMO.

        • Yep. And on Fridays, we wear pink!

      • Wow, I can’t imagine how someone can sit through (say) a day’s worth of trial testimony and remember everything salient the witness said without writing it down, especially when the exact wording is often important. More power to you if you have this skill! But it’s got to be an extremely, extremely small portion of the population that has this talent. Odds are that the original poster’s summer associate isn’t one of them. But being a summer associate is supposed to be a learning experience, so you should certainly say to her, nicely, that you were surprised she didn’t bring a notepad, and that she should always take notes, even if not explicitly directed to do so by the attorneys (most of whom would never think to explain something as basic as “take notes”).

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          Well to be fair, I am not a lawyer and am not familiar with the specific skills required. But I do sit through daylong meetings and remember, pretty well, the salient info (which usually boils down to – what do *I* need to do next?) I also have never kept a dayplanner (and I don’t ever remember missing a meeting, even with a packed and busy schedule) and only keep a work calendar now because other people need to see my schedule before scheduling meetings, etc. So I am just not a person who writes things down, in general.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            That’s not what the Summer is there for, though. The attorney actually making the appearance needs to remember the salient info. The Summer does not have anything that s/he needs to do next. Instead, the Summer should be paying attention to the non-essential information – the judge’s demeanor in response to the lead attorney’s statements, the clerk’s facial expressions, the topics the judge was especially focused on, opposing counsel’s main points and ability to respond to questions from the bench. How will opposing counsel’s demeanor seem to a jury? Did anyone look confused or annoyed or bored by anything the lead attorney or opposing counsel said? Did the Summer think that any of the points argued were unclear, in any particular area? All the things that the lead attorney cannot pay attention to while his/her focus is on the actual topic of the hearing. The same is expected of junior associates attending hearings. This is really, really useful information for lead attorney later, especially when preparing for the next hearing and/or trial.

        • i would have been fine if the pad stayed blank throughout our hearing and do not mean to infer that she needs to put on a show for me. i am just shocked she came to court without anything to write with or on (despite her large tote bag- i really want to know what was in it). i just can’t comprehend this oversight.

          maybe it’s because when i was a junior associate i was told never to go to anyone’s office or any meeting without these basic necessities. on a couple of occasions where i swung by someone’s office to simply ask a question (and didn’t intend for it be a formal meeting) i was asked to leave and return when i’m prepared. harsh, yes. but appropriate too.

          i am just completely frustrated because i know i need to write a negative review and it should never need to happen with something so basic. her entire job as a SA is to appear capable and prepared. she didn’t look either in that courtroom.

          • Well, somebody told you exactly what you needed to in order to at least appear prepared. Have you done the same for her?

          • This is going to be the basis for a negative review? I really think this is something you should just talk to her about. If she’s never (or rarely) been to court before, a “Make sure you have something to write on, just in case,” or “We generally don’t drink anything while in court and always have a pen and pad ready,” would have been nice and not even something that would sound insulting or condescending before you went to court. I don’t see why you wouldn’t just take 2-5 minutes to follow up with her.

          • Agree with Godzilla. Plus if she had a giant tote maybe she did have a pad and pen in there in case you asked her to take notes?

            I’ve seen terrible summers but this just doesn’t seem that egregious.

          • Anonsensical :

            You would write a negative review of a summer associate because she didn’t take notes while observing a hearing? Seriously? Now, if you’d instructed her that you wanted her to take notes and she came unprepared, that might be something worth worrying about. But if you didn’t (and I’m assuming you didn’t because your original post didn’t seem concerned about whether she took notes or not), then I think you’re out of line here.

          • Always a NYer :

            A negative review based on not having a notepad and pen for something she wouldn’t understand anyway is extremely harsh. She’s just a summer associate and only knows what she’s told. This is on you for not preparing her. Also, you may come across in a bad light if you actually document something so trivial. I’d reconsider and have a quick talk with her to prepare her for next time.

          • maybe it’s because when i was a junior associate i was told never to go to anyone’s office or any meeting without these basic necessities. on a couple of occasions where i swung by someone’s office to simply ask a question (and didn’t intend for it be a formal meeting) i was asked to leave and return when i’m prepared.

            ok so instead of writing a NEGATIVE REVIEW why don’t you use the same technique you learned from. It’s mind boggling that in the same paragraph you are complaining about a summer associate making a mistake, you admit you made the EXACT SAME MISTAKE as a junior associate.

          • Please mention this to her before you write a negative review based on it. If she doesn’t get any feeback, she won’t know what she’s doing wrong. This is a learning experience for her. She (presumably) wants to improve, and if you explain how disappointed you are that she wasn’t prepared, maybe she’ll be contrite and work extra hard to make it up to you.

          • Really? You’re going to write her a negative review simply for not bringing a notepad? Has she done any actual substantive work for you? Give her a research memo or something and see how she does on that. If her work is good, little things like putting on a show for you can be fixed.

          • When I was a summer, I went to a meeting with the attorney who was supervising me without a pen or a notepad at the beginning of my summer there. He told me (not so kindly) I should always bring a pen and notepad to every meeting, and even when I am walking around the halls in case someone needed me to do something. I’ve never forgotten this. Please just tell her. It will help her immensely in the future.

          • Anne Shirley :

            And you’re sure she didnt have a notepad in her huge tote why? I cant imagine giving one of my summers a negative review for this. It’s your job to teach her what to do, and today you are the one who missed the mark.

          • Maybe she had a notepad in her tote but never took it out because she didn’t need to write anything down. How the heck would you know? She probably didn’t know her boss is a passive-aggressive crazy person who will give her a negative review based on some imagined fault that isn’t even an actual fault anyway.

          • “i am just completely frustrated because i know i need to write a negative review and it should never need to happen with something so basic.”

            My general theory is that a review shouldn’t be a surprise – have you talked to her about this? She is only a summer associate and it’s your job to help her improve – not expect her to know everything already.

          • I just want to chime in that I understand your frustration, and I’m a little flummoxed by some of the responses you’ve been getting. They seem unnecessarily snarky in some cases. However, I’m not sure what you mean by a negative review here- do you just mean a review of her performance at today’s hearing? Or are we really talking about something with more serious ramifications for her? If the latter, I do agree that it would be nice if you could talk to her before taking action like that. If she seems otherwise bright and capable, doesn’t she deserve the chance to correct her actions?

          • Anonymous :

            Pfft. You need to sleep on this one. We DO have a summer intern who went to court with me every day last week. I was happy to have her just soak it all in. On one day I did ask her to take notes of a particularly important witness because I was afraid I would something. She did as I asked.

          • I’m a summer, and now I’m more than a little worried…
            I accompanied a partner to a client meeting, before which I made sure there was nothing I needed to do but observe. I brought a pen and notepad, which stayed in my tote the whole time. I do carry a pen and notepad everywhere I go and always take notes when anyone, attorney or paralegal or secretary, is telling me something I need to remember, without being told. (i.e. how do I use the copier to scan things to myself? write down a checklist while the secretary is explaining) However, to me, “do nothing but observe” meant exactly that; it did not mean “observe and take notes.” I’d feel blindsided if I got a negative review because I didn’t take out my pen and paper and take notes, but maybe now I will take notes at all times??

          • Definitely agree with others – I can’t believe you would even consider writing a negative review for that, when its not even clear to her that’s what she needs to be doing. I know I was told on my first day as a summer that you should always bring a pad and pen to an attorney’s office for a meeting, but frankly it never even would have occured to me that would extend to court as well. As a summer, when you go to an attorney’s office you are almost always getting feedback or instructions about a project and its important to remember the details of them (e.g. even those with a really good memory might need to write down a billing number they haven’t used before). But when you go into court as a summer (or junior) associate, my understanding has always been that you are expected to watch and learn. The times I’ve gone into court as a junior, I haven’t been focused on writing things down. I don’t even remember if I had a pad and pen. If I did, it definitely stayed in my purse. I’ve always been focused on observing and assisting in ways I was previously instructed to, for example, bringing copies of cases and handing them over as necessary. How would a summer associate be expected to know to bring a pad and paper unless you made clear in advance that you either wanted her to take notes or wanted some kind of written summary from her of the hearing? Even brilliant and capable people are not normally mind-readers.

            Also agree with others: how did you know she didn’t have a paper and pad in her purse? It’s not like you asked her to take notes on something and she said “uhh…oops?”

          • “….despite her large tote bag- i really want to know what was in it…”
            You are very, very catty.

        • Pfft didn’t say she was in trial. If it’s just a hearing, what would that associate write down? She’s not on the case (she’s just a summer), and likely knows next to nothing about the case, so what’s being argued likely makes no sense to her. Any notes she took would also make no sense. Nor would I want her to give me a copy of her notes, so she just wasted some paper and ink. Taking summer asscoiates to court is essentially a field trip for them to show them “what real lawyers do!” – which is often an equal mix of confusing and boring, especially to someone not actually on the case. When I bring a summer along to a hearing, I figure it’s a “fun” out of office assignment for him/her – I definitely don’t expect them to be taking notes as if what they write has any usefullness to anyone.

          • Agree. This would be a great time for you to call her into your office and tell her it was your oversight but you should have told her to bring a pad and pen to court. If your firm is anything like mine, it’s common after a meeting/hearing/whatever for the partner or senior associate to turn to the most junior associate and say “please write this up and circulate the summary to the team.” I remember when that first happened to me and I was dumbstruck. I had sort of paid attention to what was happening, but not enough to recall it all. I have never felt so sick and completely millers’-daughter-in-Rumpelstiltskin-looking-at-straw-like in my life (is there a word for that feeling? there should be.) If this happens at your firm, even more reason to give her a head’s up. But writing a negative review for this just perpetuates the stereotype of the totally toxic law firm environment.

          • “She probably didn’t know her boss is a passive-aggressive crazy person who will give her a negative review based on some imagined fault that isn’t even an actual fault anyway.”

            Hey, you’re kind of awesome, Bluejay. Agree with your assessment.

          • “Her entire job as a SA is to appear capable and prepared.”

            THAT’s her entire job? Her ENTIRE job? Maybe she thinks her job is to actually *be* capable and prepared, and not just “appear” it in accordance with your weird made up standards. Christ, you’re so mean.

          • Pftooey!

    • I watched a Maury where this guy was afraid of paper. It might have been that.

      • “I watched a Maury where this guy . . . .”

        Could be an even bigger and better meme than “Guys in my high school used to ______. It was no big deal.”

        Just sayin’

      • Migraine Sufferer :

        I watched a Maury…..


    • Kontraktor :

      I resent being expected to take notes for something useless where the note taking serves zero purpose. It’s one thing if I am put into a situation where it is my actual job to take notes for a post-summary or something like that. But I hate (hate hate) taking notes ‘just because’ I am there. What is the point? Even when I have attendedevents that were personally interesting, I have never found notes useful. I never reference them again. Mostly I walk out of the event and throw the paper away. Like another commenter, most of the time I end up doodling or doing something else equally as useless. In the rare instance I am intruiged by what is going on, I prefer to just (gasp) listen and find that furious note taking actually inhibits my ability to be fully engaged (ugh at grad school where I wish I could have just listened to the lectures without feverishly trying to take down every word the professor uttered so that I would understand what he was looking for in graded events).

      I think managers need to realize that not all meetings they are having underlings (especially super low level people like interns/summers/etc.) attend demand said underlings take action. Sometimes they are just there to observe and learn. Why this necessarily equates to taking pointless vapid notes, I’m unsure. Additionally somebody may be quite engaged even if they are not note taking. I think if you want your underling to obligatorily take notes or pay attention, give her a task that requires note taking and make it part of her job to do so. Tell her she will have to send out a summary to your team after the event or that you are scheduling a follow up meeting with her to discuss three questions she had during the event.

    • Summer Associates are babies and often have NEVER been to court before. When an attorney says “come with me to court to observe,” summer associates often assume they will be doing just that. Next time send an email ahead of time requesting they dress in interview attire and bring a notepad and pen to take notes so that they can provide a memo summarizing each witness’ testimony and their general impressions of the trial/hearing. You probably don’t NEED their memo but it’ll be a good refresher to stick in the file. I get that some summers are hopeless but others can turn out really well if you give them a little help and provide clear expectations up front.

      • Like I said before, I think the summer should have brought a pen and paper, but giving her busywork? Blech. I’m glad I’m using my summer to write work product that is actually useful to someone.

        Also, every law student has been lectured fifty times by their career services office that you always wear a suit to court and to constantly have paper and pen with you. I’m pretty sure the summer associate knows, but I guess you are right that it wouldn’t hurt to double check.

        • My point to the OP was that things like this can be avoided with a quick email or direction to summers. That’s great that you are prepared but I’ve seen a lot of summers come and go and I can assure you, not everyone is prepared. Also, depending on the hearing/trial, a summary memo isn’t busywork (if there are post trial briefs to be written and I have to wait for a transcript, your notes could help me get started right away). But even if it is, doing a good job on crappy assignments is how you get better assignments.

        • LOL. No summer’s work product is ever useful or used. It’s just a test to see if you can write. LOL!

    • I’m a summer associate now. I see where you are coming from – lots of times my notepad stays blank, but I like to have one nearby just in case, and even just holding one in my hand makes people perceive me as an active rather than a passive listener. Mostly it’s useful because I get lots of little, spur of the moment assignments. I was observing a hearing last week and during a break, the attorney asked me to look into a case that had been brought up during the hearing when we got back to the office. You never know when you need to jot stuff like that down, especially as a summer, since I don’t really know when and where people give assignments or will ask me to do something. If I’m spending time in court, I’m supposed to be learning, so I’ll try to note down one or two things that the attorney did well or the judge seemed to like. Maybe it’s not actually useful, but kind of the point of the summer is to look like you are ready and eager to work and learn.

      • mintberrycrunch :

        Another summer here. I take notes on similar things – I spent a whole day of depositions last week writing down questions to ask the associate I was with later on (i.e.: why did you decide to ask X after Y? etc). I also wrote down phrases that she used that I thought were helpful to remember. Although I might not know a ton about the case itself, I see it more as a learning experience about the process of *how* something is done. I was lucky enough to be with an associate who has been a great mentor and didn’t mind my questions, but I think it would have been helpful to note down those things down either way. And yes, it’s also nice to look like an active participant. I definitely would have had a pad out in court – if for no other reason than to look interested and happy to be there.

    • karenpadi :

      I have the same pet peeve with clerks!

      My first mentor was adament that, whenever I was on front of clients, I was to say nothing and keep writing. When the clients’ back was turned, he would make the scribbling gesture if he caught me taking a break. Even if the meeting was paused and no one was saying anything. I had notes on what each person was drinking in the room, if it was sunny outside, and what people were wearing.

      I do expect clerks to take constant notes. No one can remember everything. Plus, I have to justify bringing along a clerk. If he is just staring off into space, what’s the justification? I think the best reason to keep clerks writing though is to keep them from asking inappropriate, irrelevant, or stupid questions. Clerks can be such an embarassment…

      • Pretzel_Logic :

        …really? I’m clerking in a government office now and i carry pen and paper around the office, but not to court. I’m not a notetaker and if i do bring it i end up doodling instead of paying attention. I cannot fathom why clerks not taking notes about nothing is such a source of consternation. CSO did not tell me about the paper-always-everywhere thing–we really are complete newbies and if you all, as mentors, don’t explain, we may remain in the dark. Put yourselves back in clerk shoes for a minute…

        • I like Karenpadi’s advice for many things, but I think you take all the advice about underlings/lower on the totem pole people with a grain of salt

          • Karenpadi once wrote a lengthy message about how her intern committed the unforgivable sin of allowing Karenpadi to clean up after a meeting, instead of doing it herself. The entitlement was shocking. How much are you paying that intern, karenpadi? Just curious.

        • karenpadi :

          Not knowing to bring pen and paper is fair on the first day. But after that? Not so much. It’s not unusual for clerks to be expected to have paper and pencil on them. So by day 3, I assume that another attorney in the office will have clued them in and it would be standard whenever they meet with any of the attorneys.

          I did forget once, on a first day, to ask the clerk to bring paper and a pen. I tore 3 sheets off my pad for myself and “stole” a pen from the client’s office supply room (large company, store room is open to everyone) for the clerk on the way to the meeting.

          What I don’t appreciate is a clerk saying “oh, I don’t need to take notes” or “I’d rather take notes on my iPad” or any number of things that suggest that the clerk thinks he knows better than I do.

          My pet peeve as a junior associate: when the partner would grab my pen and notepad and proceed to write with it and then wonder why I wasn’t taking any notes myself.

        • If you’re at a firm, the client is probably going to be billed for the summer associate to be sitting in the meeting or the courtroom. The same is not true in government. So basically, some firms want the SA to look busy in order to justify the bill, as in karenpadi’s case. Of course, the SA won’t know this by osmosis, so someone has to actually tell her (like karenpadi’s boss did).

          • anon for this :

            Probably not, we write time like this off or bill it to an accountable training number. I would never bill a client for taking a summer to a “learning experience” type event and I discount summer time significantly.

      • Yeesh… I’m sorry but you could not come across as more of a jerk. Clerks are people too you know… with real live college degrees and *gasp* part of the same JD you have. Get over yourself and do what you’re supposed to do… HELP them and TEACH them.

    • I saw this not as mean-girls snark but as more of a rant — and hey, we’ve all done that here — about the SA’s apparent lack of interest in or engagement with the proceedings. Even if it’s boring, you have to at least look like you care. I’ve been a clueless law clerk, a summer associate and now one of the more senior attorneys in the room and I would never have shown up anywhere with pen and paper (or if I forgot, I would immediately borrow them). A hearing is different from a meeting, and there might be important things to note — either from the proceedings or from the attorney giving you an instruction to do something later — but it also just makes you look serious and engaged. Maybe you can do that without a legal pad, but not if you’re also twiddling your thumb and gazing blankly around the room. It seems like that’s what would lead to a negative comment in an evaluation, not the failure to have pen and paper.

      I do agree that a conversation with the SA is in order before a full-out negative review.

      • +1

        One of my first supervisors when I was a law student advised me to never be anywhere without a notebook, and it’s been great advice. I buy bound ones now and still carry them to meetings, lectures, and other events.

      • Aack, I would not have shown up WITHOUT pen and paper.

      • Kontraktor :

        I think if the OP wants to see if the summer is engaged, she should give her a task to do in relation to the event. That way, the summer can have a reason to pay attention. I think it’s reasonable to offer the summer the suggestion that it is a good idea to always at least have a pen and paper in case something comes up, but I think it’s unreasonable to expect a person to be writing all the time for no purpose. A person can be equally as engaged just listening as they can be note taking, or on the flip side, just as mentally wayward taking notes as they might be staring off into space.

        Also, let me say one more thing. Sometimes it is virtually impossible to take meaningful notes in a situation where you know nothing that is going on. I once got criticized for looking a bit ‘dazed’ in a meeting where I was meant to take notes. Well, it was my first day in the space, I was given no notice to attend the meeting, I was not permitted to ask questions (seriously), and it pertained to hardware/electric/IT systems to which I have zero education in. So… yeah, I looked befuddled and felt very frustrated at the superficiality of the notes I was taking because I legimately had no idea what was going on (imagine being told to take notes at a meeting being hosted in a foreign language… how pointless would that be?). Maybe that’s going on here to some extent too, and maybe the lesson for the OP here should be to ask the summer if she feels comfortable taking notes, and if no, what questions she could answer to make note taking possible in the future (and present note taking in these situations as a general best practice/something team members would find helpful so it at least has context).

        • I don’t think it matters so much if the SA was taking notes, but it is important to look like you’re paying attention and taking notes is a good shorthand for that. Yes, some people don’t pay as much attention when they take notes. But they probably still look like they are paying attention if they actually are paying attention. In contrast, the OP’s SA was described as absentmindedly looking around the room and drinking a beverage. I wouldn’t write a negative review, but I would say something like, “don’t bring coffee with you to Court and try to take notes or otherwise look like you are engaged.” Whether fair or not, appearances matter. As a SA, you want to make sure you put your best face forward and looking like you are interested in what’s happening is part of that.

          I had something very similar happen with two interns recently. One sat twirling her hair and staring at the ceiling during an oral argument and another (a young man) was invited to sit in on a very important meeting and spent the entire time twirling his intern badge. It was very distracting. I wanted to throw something at him. And at the same time, how do you say to someone, “when you twirl your ID like and stare off into space like that it makes you look like you have lost 20 IQ points?”

          • Kontraktor :

            It’s definitely hard, and I do agree that underling people especially should try hard to look engaged. But given this discussion, I just don’t know what that is supposed to mean (I think it’s even harder for interns who often do have zero reason for being at a place, with a summer I agree with JessBee below that there should be more responsibility and situational knowledge so that changes things a little). I’ve just been an underling so often in the most boring, silly, pointless, or nonsensical meetings that I know it can be extremely hard to be engaged and look engaged. Especially when I have not been instructed to do anything, and even if I was instructed to do something like take notes, nothing would come of my action (so many meetings I have ‘taken notes in’ only to have nothing happen).

            So, I guess my point is that it can be hard for underlings especially to be engaged in a situation where they might not know what’s going on and they might have no dealings in to boot. I think the far easier way to keep people engaged, rather than expect mind reading or a uniform type of behavior or give an order to pay attention, is to just tell them explicitly that XYZ action is expected of them because it’s a team standard and general best practice and/or to give them a task in relation to the situation so that they have a means to contextualize their presence and find a reason to try to stay engaged.

          • Well, and quite simply put, people make mistakes. Even very competent, qualified people fail to put their best foot forward on occasion.

            As a summer clerk, I once almost fell asleep in a deposition. It’s true. And embarrassing. It was just so freaking boring, and the room was really warm. And I didn’t have any active role to take, so the only way to keep myself awake was to constantly shift around in my chair, which was probably even more distracting than if I’d just gone to sleep in the first place. Despite that, word on the street is that I’m a pretty rockin’ attorney. So, you know, do we always have to be SO. HARD. on people??

        • Kon, your meeting experience sounds awful! Having said that, the situation here is different, I think. If it’s like a meeting in a foreign language, it’s a foreign language that the SA has had two years of training in. I know that’s not enough to figure out how things really work, but it should be enough that the SA at least understands what she doesn’t understand– that is, a Summer should be at least in a position where she can take halfway coherent notes, even if she doesn’t understand what they all mean.

          • Anonymous :

            Sometimes new people look silly when they write everything down. Silly!!!!! Pay attention to what I am saying and stop scribbling.

    • i appreciate that you all are giving the SA the benefit of the doubt and think that instructions from above should be crystal clear–too often they’re not and the underlings need to read minds. unfortunately, when we spoke afterwards i learned my SA did not have the foresight to bring anything to take notes with. i did not directly ask her to take notes and yes, i could have directly asked her to take notes, but at the point i became aware of her lack of prep the hearing had commenced and my trying to rip out pages and locate a second pen for her would have been disruptive while i argued and i didn’t need to make myself look unprepared for an SA’s benefit. i decided not to take a junior associate with me so that an SA would have a chance to to have an interesting experience. too many well-credentialed and well-read SAs fail to remember that it’s a summer-long job interview. i’m not a mean girl and i definitely won’t be ruining her chances at this firm over something so minor and as a few commenters correctly observed, this was a rant not snark– but really, her notes would have been useful and i’m disappointed that something like this is even an issue. she was paying attention and attempted to ask insightful questions afterwards, but she “couldn’t remember” that particular thing the judge/i said so she fumbled a bit. notes would have helped her too, not just me. i’m glad to see that the SAs who do read corporette are super prepared and i’d love to see more juniors like them. i’m sure she realized her rookie error immediately even without my pointing it out – the judge had a row of interns in the juror box who all had notepads and she asked me who they were and why they were taking notes. end rant.

    • I tend to agree with those who say the summer should have tried to look alert and engaged. And as an SA, even though she doesn’t know the details of the case, a hearing was an opportunity to learn some of the process. I vividly remember being thrown into a meeting in a new field of law for me and not knowing the first thing about the case. But I still took notes. I noted acronymns used, questions, etc. so I could remember what to ask about later. I would assume that an SA would have similar questions. Isn’t part of her job to be learning? And it’s July. She didn’t start just yesterday, did she.? Paper and pen to meeting, hearing, etc. should be second nature by now.

      That said, I do think it would be kind to give her a heads up, even if a formal negative review followed. If nothing else, how she responds to the criticism might change how I wrote the review. Being able to say “I raised X and she seemed responsive to the criticism and promised to do Y in the future” will reflect a little better on the SA. If I said something to the SA and she seemed to blow me off would likely result in a harsher review.

    • Anonymous :

      Long time lurker. Are you a partner? If not, I would tread with care in writing your review. When I’m reading summer associate reviews I am not only evaluating the summer, but the associates writing the review. If I ran across the type of review you are proposing, I would see it as a failure of management, not a failure of the summer associate. This is an issue that should have been addressed up front. When the assignment was given, expectations should have been set. If you missed that opportunity, a quick comment at the time (and an offer of paper and pen) also would have sufficed and have served the purpose of educating the summer. If that wasn’t possible, then a brief discussion afterwards would be the most effective way to handle it. Only then would I want to see something like this in a review (if at all) as a brief mention of the issue and how it was handled.

  2. Anonymous :

    anyone have any recs for an engagement photographer in either Arlington/DC or Westchester, NY?

    • on second thought (this is the OP here), are engagement photo shoots totally lame? I’m having a courthouse wedding with just my parents and sister and fiance’s same then going out to dinner after, so any photos of the wedding will be taken by family…but i’ve always thought engagement photo shoots seem kind of weird. any one had good/bad experiances?

      • AnonInfinity :

        My husband and I did not do engagement photos. We had a really small wedding like you and a lunch. We don’t regret our decision.

        You should totally get them done if you want, but I will say that most people I know used them for their save the dates or something similar, so there might not be much purpose (other than a fun day!) for you.

      • We did engagement pictures and don’t regret them. It’s nice to have professional pictures and it can be a fun photo shoot. Both of us still have pictures in our wallets from that shoot and they made good gifts for family.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          Yes, and it’s great to have professional photos of the two of you when you are not in wedding attire. They were much more relaxed and casual in regular, nice looking clothes… great pictures of the everyday “us” than the gussied-up versions of ourselves that got married. We really love ours. And it’s a chance to get comfortable with your wedding photographer.

      • Engagement photos are optional – we didn’t do them and only a couple friends have done them.

        I’d get them only if it’s something you really want to have. They’re not as meaningful for everyone else because they’re essentially just couple photos in regular clothes on some random day. All those who are close to you have likely seen similar photos on your Facebook, etc., and often those non-staged photos were actually better.

      • We just got some casual ones done at somewhere (don’t even remember- Olan Mills or JC Pennys or similar). I’m glad that we have them, just because when else do you get professional shots done, and we do have one framed nicely in our living room (Oh, look at how young we looked!), but it’s certainly nothing to make a big deal over.

        To me, though, they’re totally different from wedding shots, since we’re not super-dressed up and fixed up, so we look more “us.”

      • We mainly did them so we could get comfortable with our photographer and her husband, who would be shooting our wedding–it sounds like that wouldn’t be a concern for you (although I have seen people hire professional photos for courthouse weddings and think that would be nice, if you wanted to do it and it was allowed). We ended up with a lot of photos of us (and some with our dog) that we don’t particularly need, but we did get them in a pretty location near where we used to live, so it’s a nice reminder of that part of our lives.

      • We didn’t do any, mostly because I personally find them lame. But to each his own. I had a lot of friends who did them and they came out nice- a lot of people used them for save-the-dates later. I find it weird when people email them to all of their friends and acquaintances (why do that?), but I can sort of understand why people want them for themselves. It just doesn’t do anything for me personally to have pictures of me and DH pretending to canoodle under a tree or by the Washington Monument. Meh. But if you felt that way already, I suspect you wouldn’t be asking. If you want them, do them. You should learn early on in the wedding planning process not to get too caught up in what other people think about how you handle things. You’ll never please everyone.

      • In House Counsel :

        I really appreciated having my engagement pics for some nice shots of us together younger:) I highly recommend AgaImages for either engagement shots or even perhaps capturing the courthouse wedding (see for a great example of courthouse wedding photography)

      • We decided not to do it. I personally don’t like them but I don’t begrudge others for having them if they do.

      • Anonnymouse :

        I guess it seems odd that you wouldn’t pay for professional photos of the actual wedding, but have the engagement photos. But that is just me.

      • Engagement photos are usually a good way to do a test run and make sure you’re happy with the photographer you picked for your wedding. But if you’re not going to have professional wedding photos, I think it would be nice to have some professional photos taken of you as a couple. Maybe instead of engagement photos, you could get some bride/groom photos taken the day of the wedding?

      • LinLondon :

        If I may express my mild opinion- I think they are absolutely ridiculous. I don’t mind one or two normal smiley shots of a couple, but the “leaning up against a graffitied wall” or “gazing longingly at each other in a field” or “walking along overgrown train tracks” ones are just preposterous. See also: pregnancy photos of dad kissing mom’s belly.

      • I personally think they’re kind of lame. We did them anyway only because my wedding photographer offered it as part of the package and likes the opportunity to get used to working with you before the wedding. We did not enjoy having it done. The engagement pics turned out just fine (our wedding photos were phenomenal!), but we never look at them or use them for anything.

      • My fiance and I are having a small wedding (~70 people) next month. We did our engagement photoshoot near where we are getting married, which happens to be in coastal New England in a naturally very scenic place. They were recommended to us as a way to get comfortable with our wedding photographer, but I guess that doesn’t apply to you. Our photographer is spectactularly talented and affordable by wedding photography standards but still not cheap (btw, I posted the other day about having a low budget wedding – photography was one of the things we splurged on). I love how ours came out and we’re planning to have a book made of them when we get the high-res versions after the wedding. So this is a long-winded way to say I don’t think they’re lame at all and you should definitely do it! Most photographers will do an engagement shoot for a couple hundred bucks. I say its much better to regret the money, which can always be earned back, then to regret missing the opportunity to have some photographs taken of the two of you at this special time.

    • We loved our wedding photographer in DC, Abby Jiu. She does engagement and wedding pictures all across the DC area and I bet that she would be do a shoot in Arlington if you prefer. We worked with her last year and had a fabulous time and ended up with some great pictures.

      As we were doing the engagement pics, it felt a little awkward and silly, but it became more comfortable as we went. Abby did a good job of coaching us, which helped a lot. Looking back it’s really nice to have professional shots of us looking more like us than we did at the wedding (no criticism is meant about the wedding photos, just that we wore more casual clothes/hair/makeup for the e-pics than we did at the wedding!). Abby was awesome. I highly recommend her!

    • Kontraktor :

      We are super super bad at taking pictures of ourselves during events. Add that to the fact that (so far) we are rarely around one another, so it’s sad to have a lack of pictures to look at. We were glad to do engagement pictures because we got 20 or 30 awesome images of us together and happy looking. We liked the result so much, we are considering getting another set of pictures done in that style, though not sure what you call them if you are married. Honestly I think it’s just nice to have well done pictures together.

      • mintberrycrunch :

        Same. We have zero pictures of ourselves so engagement pics were a good opportunity to have a few nice pictures to put in frames around the house (especially ones that don’t scream *wedding* – I can only have so many of those, personally). I love ours.

      • Kontraktor – I call em anniversary shoots :-) I have a side biz as a wedding/family photographer & would love to do that kind of shoot for you & your H & I’m in your area (Northern Cal). Let me know if you’d like more info!

        • Kontraktor :

          Would love more info!! That’s great. If you could email (or post/whichever you feel comfortable with) a link to your site, I would love to take a look at it. If you want to email, you can reach me at cheshercat at hotmail dot com.

    • anonforthis :

      Friends in DC have used Julie Napear (out of Winchester, VA) and Sheaulee Ng (DC) both with great results.

    • Anonymous :

      If you’re looking for something on the photojournalist end of the spectrum, check out –

    • We did them to both get comfortable with our photographer (make sure he was any good) and because we had taken approximately zero photographs of ourselves in the four years we dated before our engagement.

      Engagement sessions on the other hand can be anything you want them to be. So you certainly don’t have to be wearing matching clothes or striking silly poses.

    • FormerPhotog :

      I have a friend in the DC area who specializes in non-traditional types of shoots –

    • Definitely do them. They don’t have to be forced, posed pictures. We took fun pictures in different scenes. Wish we had done outfit changes- definitely consider. We’ve used them on our wedding website, save the dates, engagement party invitations, wedding announcements, and just for fun. Strongly recommend doing them.

      We used Melissa Barrick-
      She is fabulous. We felt super comfortable with her and she had a good balanced of posed (but not stiff) with even more casual shots. She has a specific style too- very natural looking pictures with lots of light. If you flip through her website you can tell what I mean. We subsequently booked her for our rehearsal dinner and wedding.

      • Also, we are in DC. She is in southern Maryland but traveled to DC for our shoot for a little more money (I think under $20). Prices were very reasonable, too.

  3. I just found my Kindle, which I swore I left on a train to Boston, in a pro bono case file in my office. I hadn’t touched that file for a week before I left for that Boston trip (or clearly, for 4 months after.)

    Clearly I need to get my life in order.

    • Oh we all do it. I was trying to sell some gold jewelry and tore apart my house looking for my wedding rings. Months later, it came to me that I had removed everything from the drawer in question and had put it in a tote bag. Sure enough, that’s where the rings were.

      • I lost the emerald and diamond ring left to me by my grandmother plus another gold ring that I wore every day. I was so upset and MONTHS later my SO found them in a zippered pocket of my backpack which I had used many times since I realized the rings were gone.

    • If it makes you feel better, I was convinced my iPad was stolen…very long story but I even gave away my adorable Kate Spade purse because I associated it with the bad memory of the “crime”. Fast forward 3 mos later, I got a call from a coffee shop I had been at earlier that day, they had the iPad and a sleuthing employee had figured out the owner via photos. I guess we are all a little over-worked.

    • Migraine Sufferer :

      I’ve been organizing and cleaning the entire house over the course of the last few days because I can not find a book that I swear saw just last week in a spot that it no longer is. I’ve just about convinced myself I threw it away accidentally. Its an 80.oo book that I do not want to have to replace. :(

      • Seattleite :

        I think I accidentally threw away my iPod Touch last Christmas. Once a month or so, I tear apart my (pretty tidy) house looking for it, but no dice.

  4. Having a holiday in the middle of the week has totally thrown me for a loop. I am completely confused about what day it is!

    Can we all agree to never do this again? Thank you!

    • I’ve been totally unproductive this week, and I’m going to pay dearly for it.

    • double word :

      Me too. And it’s messing with my TV routine. I was thinking about how I was missing True Blood last night while watching fireworks and was thinking how I was going to miss Bachelorette when I go out tonight.

    • Suffering monday depression (a case of the Mondays!) twice is too much to bear.

    • I know! In the future, let’s just agree that July 4 falling in the middle of the week means everyone gets the whole week off, okay?

    • Ditto — it’s the worst of both worlds — the non-productivity of Friday coupled with the evilness of Monday. I’m debating just giving up entirely, how much better can it get?

      Stupid billable hours.

    • Agree. This week has been so strange. The midweek vacation day + the heat wave = everyone phoning it in.

    • Out sick last thursday and friday. No power at home from Friday night until Monday night (yes, I’m in Pepco territory). No power at the office until Monday afternoon/evening. Holiday wednesday. Doctor’s appointment this morning, not in office until after 11 am.

      I’ve pretty much written off the last week and a half. Plus I am obsessed with my power going out again, on top of the fog of clogged sinuses and medications. I have no focus!!

    • I’m having a rough time because I had Monday off (I’m in Canada) and our office is closed tomorrow for a parade that is happening downtown, so this is like my Friday. And I’m only working 2 days next week – excited about that as well. Not to mention that my boss is working from home, I just got finished month end, and I really don’t want to do anything. However, I’m the only management of our department here today, so I want to set a good example & stay to the end. It’s going to almost kill me, though, I’m sure.

      • Equity's Darling :

        Sigh, we’re not technically closed tomorrow for the parade. I really wish we were though, because now 70% of the office won’t be here at all, and the rest will show up at 1pm and then leave at like 3:30 to go to Ranchmans or Wildhorse Saloon.

        So pointless.

    • Long Tall Sally :

      Counterpoint: I’m kinda digging the “two-day week” thing. OK, there’s two Mondays, but also two Fridays. I liked the little mid-week break more than I thought I might.

  5. I have these shoes in a different color. They run narrow. For people on the wider side, footwise, I recommend either sizing up 1/2 size or taking to cobbler for stretching.

    • S in Chicago :

      I have them in two colors in a closed-toe style with smooth leather and find them to be super soft and forgiving (have a bunionette–such a cute name for a gross foot!). They stretched quite a bit with the first wear or two, so I’m really glad I didn’t size up as I had been wavering. Anyway, just something to consider. May depend on the shape of your foot?

      One serious word of warning if you’re going with something other than black: The peweter ones I have rubbed black in any spots with wear (top of toes, side off foot, back of heel) during the very first wear. Granted, it was a long day since I was at a trade show with a lot of walking on and off carpet. But still had hoped they would hold up better! On the plus side, I didn’t have a single blister or any foot pain (I’m prone to plantar fasciitis ) so would give them high marks for comfort. Next time around I’d go with black or a material that looks like it might be a bit more substantial like the slightly textured one featured.

      • S in Chicago :

        The style where the color scuffed so bad was the “Air Tali Lace Wedge” in dark metalic for what it’s worth…

      • I have these too and I love them. I did size up 1/2 size and they fit perfectly (my feet are a little bit wide but not enough to go to a wide size).

      • Texas LawGal :

        I have them, too, and LOVE them. No breaking in necessary!!

      • Air Tali and Air Talia are not hte same style! Very confuisng choice of names, I know. I love my Air Tali 40 wedges, which I have in closed-toe styles in black and nougat and open-toe in beet. None of those have scuffed at all, and I can and do walk over a mile in them.

    • If I normally wear an AA and these run narrow, do you think I could get away with them AIMS? Finding narrow shoes is a PITA for me and I’m on a perpetual hunt for shoes that aren’t orthopedic or grandma looking.

      • I have a friend with narrow feet and she loves CH shoes for this very reason, but if you only wear AA, it might be a bit of a gamble. But it’s free shipping so if you have to pay for a return, just think of it as a try on fee? FYI – Stuart Weitzmans also often run narrow, at least in certain styles, so keep an eye out for that brand, they’re often on crazy sale on 6 pm.

  6. Longtime reader with urgent request:
    Ladies of academia, please help. I have a friend up for tenure, and she’s writing a personal statement about challenges she has faced to accompany her “why you should give me tenure” packet. She has not mentioned her broken engagement, which was really damaging to her for some time. I’m not sure (a) if it should be mentioned, because it was a big part of her life, and (b) if it should, how to mention it without looking like a whiny girl who got dumped (like, reference it broadly as some sort of family issue, or what?).
    For the record, we are all very happy that it happened, but it did cause her significant personal challenges and it seems that if she is mentioning others, she could allude to it among the other components of the s—storm. Any ideas/tips?

    • I’m off to a meeting but the short answer is no. She should not mention personal circumstances. She should be in her sixth year and should have had interim reviews to discuss that sort of thing. I don’t mean to sound unfeeling but tenure is a big deal and most personal circumstances (other than your own illness, which should stop the clock) wouldn’t mean anything to a committee. I have served on many rank and tenure committees, including appeals at the university level.

    • I hate to say it, but no. Academia still is a bit of boys club and I can’t see that flying. I would have her focus on something on something tangible (ie. not getting a grant, even during that time) and how she overcame that.

    • LadyEnginerd :

      Agree with NOLA, though I am but a lowly postdoc and her opinion is much more informed than mine. In general, I always think “challenges” to be described should be work-related, like how she handled a particularly difficult person to manage, or how she successfully changed X investigation to focus on Y due to the field research trip to Z country being cancelled due to a natural disaster.

      I do have one thing to add to NOLA’s advice: if there are components of the s-storm that are directly related to her work, like for instance they are both on the faculty and advise graduate students jointly (hey, it happens), then she should focus on how she has pulled that off successfully, thereby giving her a track record of the kinds of herding cats management strategies necessary at a university. If it’s that closely related to work, at the departmental level everyone probably already knows about the situation anyway so she won’t have to say anything explicit about the problem, just the solutions she’s implemented and how well they work (universities are breeding grounds for gossip) and hope that the politics surrounding the s-storm don’t derail her application for tenure. As someone who has been at the center of a s-storm at a university, I sincerely hope this isn’t the case and I’m reading too much into your description of the situation.

      Here’s hoping your friend gets tenure and celebrates by doing exactly one (legal) thing she has the freedom to do now that she can’t be fired or denied tenure (like take a sabbatical to Hawaii, or bring her dog into her office once a week, or buy The Skirt in 5 vibrant colors and wear them proudly without worrying about whether people take her seriously).

      • One of my students workers years ago decided that tenure meant that I could “pants the president at high noon in the neutral ground (aka median) and not get fired.” That kid killed me.

        • LadyEnginerd :

          Funny how nudity is involved in I got tenure fantasies. Only in mine, I’d be able to go streaking at high noon thru the quad and not get fired. No need to embarrass the president – in my fantasies, I’m happy humiliating myself in a hypothetical display of joyous exuberance instead.

          • Oh if you knew our president at the time you’d want to pants him. Trust me.

    • dancinglonghorn :

      This is a strong no! The challenges should either be (1) Related to the type of medical issues that qualify for FMLA leave (I’ve only ever seen cancer of a prof’s child), or (2) related to funding issues due to grant money, etc. falling through, etc. or grant issues. Both of these things should already be known in her department and therefore not new information. The tenure packet is more of a CV of the past rather than a personal statement.

  7. Anonymous :

    Hey- I posted here a while back on the post about embarrassing medical conditions about a spinal lesion in my lower back and the need to schedule a biopsy where I wouldn’t be able to sit for days after. Wanted to say thanks for the support & advice, which I took to heart.

    Everyone at the office was good with the information I shared and showed concern without being overly nosy. I had the biopsy, which hurt like hell, and recovered for three days at home (one work day + a weekend). And I got the results today: it’s benign! Huge relief!!

  8. 2/3 attorney :

    Uh oh, I think I am about to buy my first pair of Cole Haan Air pumps. I am weak on this weirdo-Thursday-that-feels-like-Monday. Does anyone have the Air Violet? Looks like a pretty almond toe. Are they as comfortable as I hear?

    • I feel like it’s Monday too! So weird! But hooray for Friday being the day after “Monday” this week :)

    • I don’ thave the Violet, but i have the Air Talia (that’s Talia, not Tali) pumps and they are ridiculously comfortable and are on sale now on 6pm. They have a really nice almond toe, which I find really pretty.

  9. Two quick job questions.
    1. What is the rule for following up on a job where the posting says that only short listed candidates will be contacted but nothing else? Same as usual? Do you only not follow up when it specifically says no follow ups?
    2. I applied for a job at the end of May and was told they would be notifying accepted candidates in 5 weeks. It’s almost the end of week 6. Their top priority is likely not hiring someone like them reviewing my application is mine. I followed up and still haven’t heard anything. When do jobs become lost causes? (A friend applied for and was interviewed for a job at a major social media company. Was told they were going to make the decision very quickly and she heard back 11 weeks later. Not anyone’s definition of quick, but also an outlier.)

    I’m still applying to jobs that sound good enough to make me give up my current job, I just really would like one of these!

    • Having been on the interview-er side of things, where we told candidates we intended to make a selection in X weeks (and honestly thought we would/could at the time), and then ran into internal bureaucratic issues that had exactly zilch to do with the candidates/interviews, and then had the hiring manager on vacation, and, and, and so many other issues… we finally gave the offers X+8 weeks later, I would say that sh*t happens that has nothing to do with you, and there’s unfortunately nothing you can do about it. Had someone come to us with a “competing” offer, we wouldn’t have been able to do anything other than say, I’m sorry – we’re not able to make a decision yet. So my thought is don’t bank on a job, but don’t be surprised if they contact you well after you reasonably expected to hear. Also, if they say don’t contact, don’t contact… but if you know someone within the organization, maybe you could subtlely/unofficially inquire.

  10. I know there have been discussions on this site before about tools you can use to stalk items online for when they go on sale. Does anyone know if there is something similar that will notify you when an item is almost sold out? There have been a few things recently that I was debating about, and by the time I was finally ready to pull the trigger … too late!

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      Yes, the site is: www shoppingnotes com (no periods to avoid moderation).

  11. Ok, long-time lurker here. Senior Partner for whom I’ve worked almost exclusively for my entire 5 years at the firm has asked me, husband and toddler to come over for dinner Saturday night for the first time, ever. A Junior Partner will be there, too, with her family. I’m trying not to resist speculating as to what the heck it is about – the guy never does anything for no reason – I just have to wait and see. Here’s the question – take a hostess gift? If so, ideas? Wine is so generic.

    • Kontraktor :

      A box of gourmet chocolates, nice loose leaf tea, or coffee? I think food items are always good because they are somewhat expendable and not too personal. Plus, I think generic is good for these sorts of things (that way if the host doesn’t care for the item, it is easy to just forget or get rid of without much feeling bad).

    • Anne Shirley :

      Absolutely take something, or have flowers delivered earlier in the day. I might do a box of chocolates, but wrapped so they won’t take it as a hint to share, or some other such treat- a great olive oil perhaps? And don’t forget a thank you card. And to let us know the reason for the dinner ( my money is on moving to a new firm and trying to poach you)

      • karenpadi :

        Second. The partner is moving to a new firm/starting own firm and wants you to come too.

        • Third. That was my first thought. Definitely bring a hostess gift, other ideas soaps or those fancy paper momgrammed guest towels.

  12. TCFKAG & other shopping gurus – I need shopping help, I love this lace top at Madewell, but it’s a little more than I want to spend on this trend, have you seen anything out there like it?
    Anyone have this top? Worth it? Run big or small?

    • I have it. It’s lovely and well made. But, I do feel like lace tops are a dime a dozen this year and you could probably find similar for less (or on sale). The quality of the lace is noticeable nice, though, so if you decided to splurge, it would be worth it.

  13. So if you have 20,000 pages of documents in a pdf document, other than making it searchable, is there any software out there that makes it easier to work with? These are documents produced by an opposing party. A consultant recommended Total Discovery, but I have not used it and am not familiar with it.

    • 20,000 pages?!?! :

      Dear God,

      Thank you for not making me a litigation attorney.


    • Yeah, you can, but it’s expensive. I always used Equivalent Data to help me with that stuff. Not sure if they’ll have an office near you, but you can google them for more info.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      It’s a single PDF?? Was it stored that way by opposing party? Or is it a PDF compilation of a bazillion emails that they PDF’d just to make your life miserable? This format sounds completely ridiculous – if you don’t already have a production format stipulation in place, then see if you can agree to one post hoc, especially if you are threatening to drop a 20k PDF of your own back on them, and get them to re-produce the production as single image TIFFs or single-document PDFs, and you will do the same. But assuming it’s a war of attrition, yes, you need to load the document into a database. Call your usual ediscovery vendors and see what they will offer you.

      • It was produced that way by the opposing party, it is a single pdf. I would think a single pdf would be better, because you can search terms in the entire document? I’ve never worked with one that big though, so it may take too long to even do a search. It’s not searchable right now, we were thinking of setting it up on an unused computer and starting the OCR process. I assume it might take a couple of days.

        • I should clarify, it’s a mixture of emails, documents, etc., everything they produced, is pdf’d into one document.

          • I’d be asking if they could break it up or provide a table of contents or something. They might not do it, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to ask.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Ok. Check your local rules, and case law from your jurisdiction about discovery format. Hopefully your jurisdiction has rules that discovery must be produced as it is in the usual course of business or in another reasonable organizational format, which effectively means they can’t compile all of their responses to production into a single PDF just to make your life difficult. Many jurisdictions, especially SDNY and NDCal have benchslaps about this sort of bull. What jurisdiction are you dealing with? Look for your law, then start the meet and confer process in writing. If they refuse to meet and confer and re-produce in a reasonable format, I’d begin the process to move for sanctions (which you will get your fees for if you prevail, in most jurisdictions). This is absolutely wrong of them, completely unacceptable, and your client should not have to pay for you to deal with a 20k PDF problem that they created.

          • Late to the game, but if you’re in federal court on this case then you should ask opposing counsel to re-produce the documents in their native format. Federal courts (and some state courts…check your local rules and state rules of civil procedure) are becoming very keyed in to discovery abuse with .pdf’s and the like where very important metadata is lost.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          Assuming the document didn’t start out as a 20k PDF in opposing client’s files, have you tried asking for re-production in a reasonable format? Does the relevant jurisdiction have rules on format of production? California and my local federal district courts do. If the original document wasn’t a 20k page file with no subfolders, no other delination whatsoever, then that means opposing counsel created this 20k page flaming pile of crap just for you, which in my jurisidctions would mean that this production is almost certainly be a violation of local rules.

          A single massive PDF has no upside. Acrobat Pro can run a search term across multiple PDFs in the same folder(s), but does not offer boolean searches, nor the ability to search specific metadata fields. What you really want are is a re-production with each original file as either a single-image TIFF with OCR or a PDF, which can then be loaded into a database for searching and review. Check Sedona Conference for best practices. If you have any budget whatsoever, get a vendor to deal with this monstrosity. It’s an incredible waste of your time and money, which is probably why they produced it to you in that format. Jerks. I again suggest you talk to your usual vendors and see what they suggest.

      • i agree. A 20k pdf is insanity! Its also going to freeze every time you try to work with it. If possible, I would meet and confer and ask them to (re)produce it in a manageable formate that can be loaded into a program like Summation.

    • If you have Acrobat Pro, you could at least extract individual documents, but holy cow, that’s a lot!

  14. This is exactly why I want to get MARRIED! None of this!

  15. I placed my first Talbots order a couple weeks ago thanks to the commentors here (TCFKAG and others) who recommended the boatneck ponte sheath. That dress hasn’t arrived yet, but another one has and I love it! It has a gorgeous flattering fit, seems to be high quality fabric, and best of all is LOOOONG. I’m 5’11” and I’ve never had a work dress that actually reaches my knees and this one does! Its’ the Ella Fluid Crepe Pleat-Scoop Dress and I highly highly recommend it. I can’t believe it was only $50 something on sale.

    Thanks for the recommendation, ladies! I’d always thought of Talbots as frumpy mom clothes, but it will be my new go-to for work dresses now.

  16. Oooh, these shoes look amazing…so comfy yet stylish for work. Has anyone bought a pair and did they need a lot of breaking in? I have sensitive feet.

  17. Frustrated and need help :

    I’m sorry I don’t want to be a downer on Friday but I think I need somebody who can help me by telling me what exactly I’m doing wrong. I don’t want to lose people anymore and be reasonably happy at 29.

    – I forgot how to be friends or make friends
    – I am nervous most of the times – foe eg. extremely self conscious when I go out for lunch with my colleagues about my table manners (but at the same time I’m quite proper when I go out with my husband or people I am comfortable with)
    – I think I appear confused and slow to other people – this is my perception but I think I’m right
    – I am quiet in company
    – I have these high lofty dreams about a great job, great friends, great body, living a fast life, but I’m stuck right on step 1. And when I hear about somebody who’s doing well at work, or out having fun with friends, I get depressed wondering why I’m this way
    – Sometimes I know what I need to do to improve myself like going to the gym, may be take a hobby class, but I never do it
    – Honestly, I’m not too clear about what I want out of life. I am not in a position to confidently say “THAT’S what I want to do”. Interests keep changing, and most of my interests are base don my mood. I go through these phases if you know what I mean

    I’ve just started doing these things over the last couple of years, don’t remember being this way before. May be there have been some incidents in the past (which are probably surfacing now) that probably made me self conscious and withdrawn.

    Do I go to a therapist? I’ve been living in US for the last 7 years (born and grew up in a different country), I’m afraid there may be some cultural difference in terms of expectations when I see a therapist.

    • I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way. My first piece of advice would be to re-post this on this morning’s TPS Report thread or the weekend open-thread. I’m sure you’ll get a lot of responses from people that want to help.

    • HereThere :

      Some of these items sound like me. I’m going to make a few suggestions for you.

      1) Repost this in the morning thread for today once it is posted, as that will get significantly more readers and thus responses.

      2) See a therapist if it is possible. You can shop therapists – keep going to new ones until you find one with whom you are comfortable. What types of differences are you expecting?

      3) Try to focus on why you are feeling x way (for whichever of the above) and reflect on it. At the beginning, you may want to reflect later, in case any difficult feelings come up. But sometimes, just saying to yourself ‘Why am I feeling x?’ can lead you to not feeling that way. (For example, when you are out eating, maybe you had a past experience eating out that is making you nervous. If you reflect on that later, you might be able to work through it. When you later feel nervous when out to eat, you can reflect on this, tell yourself you know how to be proper, and this may help the nerves.) A therapist will be able to give you better, more targeted ways.

  18. Aw, JJ and HereTHere, your responses were nice.
    OP, I’m so sorry. You sound like such a sweet gal. It sounds like its your own thoughts that are your worst enemy here, and that maybe if you were able to turn your focus outward instead of inward, you wouldn’t be so hindered. I don’t mean that you sound self-absorbed; rather, you sound like you’re worried about how you’re appearing and thus unable to enjoy the moment. I’ve been there. You can change this with practice – a method called cognitive therapy really helps. I recommend reading “Feeling Good,” by David Burns – it sounds SO cheesy (the title alone, goodness) but it’s surprisingly powerful in its simplicity. Its main thrust is that how you are thinking informs how you feel. And so what’s important in that is not the “power of positive thinking,” but the power of *realistic* thinking. You might be focused at lunch on how ill-mannered (or whatever) you’re appearing — meanwhile, it’s likely that no one else is even noticing. That’s not being positive as much as it is thinking realistically, and accurately. The reason this is so powerful is that likely no one’s even noticing what you think you’re projecting, and yet you’re letting it hinder and upset you. So the source of your anxiety isn’t something accurate — it’s something you kind of made up. Which is something we all do, but I’ve found myself far less encumbered by these thoughts since starting the cognitive therapy. Again, I’m not deluding myself — I just know now to be more realistic in my perception of things.
    Good luck to you.

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