Why Colonel Sartoris?

Allow me to explain the puzzling title. Colonel Sartoris is William Faulkner's greatest character. He exemplifies those values that his society cherishes, namely tradition, patriarchy, courtliness, and courage. Though modernity's slow march tries to strip him of these things, Sartoris continues to live as he always has, knowing that "the past is never dead. It's not even past." He seeks order in the honorable folkways and mores of his forbears. Let us not forget his example.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wait. A JD allows me to do . . . THIS????

Of my close friends from high school, I am the only one who has gone on to practice law.  A few are doctors; several work in typical business stuff.  For them, from what I've heard, when they go in on the weekends, it's typically a lower-key, less intense day.  Now, I don't have a ton of friends who have been practicing law for a long time, so I don't have a ton of reliable secondhand knowledge of lawyer work on weekends.  My firsthand knowledge, though, indicates that work has yet to begin until the weekend.

This past weekend, standing on its own, would indicate that I have a 48-hour period in which to cram about 30 hours of horrific boredom, futility, and purposelessness. Now, I typically don't like to rely solely on my own experience to forecast or paint an accurate, unbiased picture of something.  Thus, I'm a little loath to predict that every weekend for the next few years will consist of tedious, mind-numbing tasks dressed up as "legal" work.  Am I being too hard on this stuff?  I don't know; y'all be the judge as I recount this weekend's absurdity.

On Friday, I had two-hour lunch with an attorney at Hunton & Williams in my slowly widening net of contacts to secure employment.  It went great, but during my absence, I missed an announcement back at work--from this day onward, we had to clock in for at least 12 hours each day.  This came as somewhat disappointing news.  It became somewhat bitter news, though, when I got invited to a box at the Rangers game that night, specifically for the purpose of meeting some "bigtime Dallas lawyers."  I asked my boss whether I could leave, and he replied "The expectation is that you work 12 hours."  When I attempted to explain the situation further, he elaborated that "the expectation is that you work 12 hours."  Uhhh . . . hmmmm . . . what duhh . . . wait--huh?  I know he's a huge Rangers fan . . . does that mean . . . ? HUH?  DAMMIT.  I'm f-ing broke, they'll fire me in a heartbeat; dammit.  I guess I should probably stay.  DANG IT.  I settled into my chair, tested my friend, and went back to coding documents until 8:45.

As I slowly stewed in my own annoyance, my boss made a further announcement that he would "need some people at the Ft. Worth site tomorrow.  It'll just be for the day.  I'll take volunteers, and I need 10 people."  After getting 7, he threatened to just choose people, so I volunteered so that people with families and such didn't have to spend an extra hour in the car.  "Oh, Jackson; thanks so much!  It's just for the day, and it shouldn't be too bad."

Saturday morning, I pulled into the parking lot at the client's corporate headquarters.  After waiting for a few minutes in the lobby with a co-worker for security to let us in, we finally got whisked upstairs to the workspace.  For the first few hours, we did exactly what we would have done in Dallas.  I left for lunch, came back, did the same thing, but then FINALLY got put on the specific task for which I was assigned there.  That task was organizing the 150,00 pages or so of documents that we had declared as "privileged."  By "organize," I don't mean "group thematically." No; fail.  Our task was to take the printed documents, punch holes in them, and put them in binders.

But here's the rub (to quote Hamlet): said client hired us to save money.  Client thought (and assumed correctly) that we could do this better/faster than a bunch of overpaid junior associates at Dewey Cheatham & Howe.  Fantastic.  We didn't count on, though, client being so f-ing broke that it wouldn't buy us office supplies.  So we did this: we taped labels to harder cardstock that they already hard.  So people could look at this and identify as "practicing law."

Is this sad?  Unemployment here is 10%; I am very grateful to have made money.  But is this what my education has entitled to?

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