My Second First Year
I feel like a first year associate all over again.
I am going into my fourth year of practice. I was in my second year at my firm when Judge Bernstein asked me to clerk for him. It was the kind of opportunity I could not refuse–even though it involved a substantial pay cut. I had always wanted to clerk at the trial court level–so when the judge called me up, I knew I had to run with it.
My clerkship is now drawing to a close. Whew–this year has really flown by. Even though I do not bill time, or work twelve hour days, or come in on the weekend, this has been a very busy year. The judge keeps me on my toes, let’s just put it that way.
So, I will be starting with a new firm in September. And I have to tell you–I am pretty nervous. I think I am more nervous to start at my new firm than I was at my first firm as a first year. Why? I think it is because I know going in that I know nothing. Sure–at least I know how to write a brief, etc. etc., but I know next to nothing about the daily life in the firm. How will I fit in? What are the firm politics? How can I make sure that I hit the ground running? How can I make sure I don’t make any stupid mistakes? Is there anything else I should worry about that I haven’t even thought about yet? I am only just able to restrain myself from the plaintive query–“will they like me”?
I do know that I have to go back to billing. And I think this might be one thing I am dreading the most. I dread the prospect of working both days on a weekend, consecutive weekends in a row. I dread the burn out. And I really enjoy Thanksgiving with my family, thank you. (Oh, and here is a word of advice to first year associates–even though I know you won’t take it–if work is slow–take advantage of it. Don’t stay at work just for the sake of staying at work. You never know when you might get a breather again.)
Maybe I am just feeling pre race jitters–the kind of feeling I get right before a ten mile race, or that I used to feel before I jumped off the block for a 200 meter butterfly. I know it is going to be long and tough.
But I also know that I am going to be tougher. Maybe now is the time I need to bust out “Eye of the Tiger” and “Chariots of Fire” on my Ipod.
It is ok to be nervous (I keep telling myself). I am visualizing my performance. I am mentally preparing myself for what lies ahead. I am getting ready to give everything I have got.
Good thing I have until September.