A Parade of Errors...
As part of my law clerk-ly duties yesterday, I went to court with two members at my firm to watch a portion of a custody battle that had been going on for 3 years. It was a pretty interesting day and definitely much more entertaining than researching about the inheritance tax and pretrial diversions.
During a recess, I was standing with several attorneys (all men) from my firm and discussing the events of the morning. I looked as professional as humanely possible - wearing my cute little black Ann Taylor suit, matching stilettos, pearls - for goodness' sake, I even rolled my hair. Since I was evidently playing "Courtroom Barbie," I carried the perfect accessory, my purple mock croc briefcase (does it matter that the only thing inside was a legal pad and lipstick?).
Across the courtroom came another attorney (not with my firm) and says to the men I was with"Wha'cha'll doin? -- Bringin' yur secretary to court with ya?" (referring to me). It was funny to watch the attorneys stiffen up, puff out their chests, and say "She's not our secretary; she's our law clerk for the summer. AND you met her two days ago." The other attorney blubbered an apology, blushed, and quickly hopped to the judge's chambers. I did not see him again for the rest of day.
I had three thoughts on this. First of all, what does it matter if an attorney brings their secretary to court? Is that such a big deal? If I were trying an important case, it might be helpful to have the other person with me who knows probably as much, if not more, about the case as I do.
Second, it was cute how all those men were so quick to stick up for me. As I've mentioned before, there are no female attorneys in their office. Before I started, I was very nervous as to how I would be treated since I would no doubt be spending some time with each of these men. They have had females in the past, but the women seem to transfer jobs or go have babies. I'm sure that they get teased by their colleagues for appearing to be "politically incorrect," and yesterday they had a chance to rib another attorney for the same thing. Regardless, it was nice that they stuck up for me rather than saying something like "Aw shucks" and ignoring the faux pas.
Third, while what I experienced yesterday was no big deal (it just comes with the territory of working in a small Southern town), it was a small eye-opener into the world of law (and also the world of men). A lot of older attorneys naturally assume that if you are a woman, you are in a subservient job (secretary, paralegal, etc) to the attorney. Because of this assumption, if you are a lady lawyer, you are scrutinized more closely. While such scrutiny can be viewed as encouragement to excel, it is also stressful to be under the watchful eye of so many attorneys. This is something I alternatively dread and look forward to when I finally become a real lawyer.
On a more serious note, I had never watched a custody dispute take place before, and it was an eye-opening experience. I never realized how much each and every action would be carefully inspected if you ever fought over the custody of your child. I guess such examination makes sense when you are considering the 'fitness' of each parent, but to watch each indiscretion, each mistake, each imperfection be paraded before the court by the opposing counsel as proof that that parent should NOT have custody was really... sad. I wish I could think of a better word to describe my feelings about this day, but I just can't. Sadness and frustration with our society. That is how I felt.
To know that at the end of the day, the judge will make a decision based on those past actions is terrifying. To know that your future happiness rests on your past behavior creates such a feeling of powerlessness -- you may have changed, but your past actions are still a considerable factor.
I rarely talk about religion on here, but yesterday's events made me think about being a Christian. It is difficult for me to grasp that God knows all of my flaws - every bad choice, indiscretion, sin, and poor decision. If I were the judge, I would struggle not to consider all those bad parts of a person's life, but He doesn't. As long as we confess our sins (and are truly sorry) and claim him as our Savior, our past doesn't matter. Our future is not a complete consequence of our past if we choose Him.
I do not intend to turn this blog into a devotional blog or anything, but I just wanted to write. I always try to keep things light and silly, but sometimes, no matter how hard I try to avoid thinking about stuff that actually means anything, it hits me in the face with such a smack that I cannot ignore it.
So, if hearing about me being a Christian makes you roll your eyes and think "Oh goodness, how can an educated person believe in such a thing?" well - this is my blog and I can write whatever I want. Shoes, wine, couches, laundry, God -- the sky's the limit.
However, if you are like me, and feel that its much easier to read celebrity gossip than ponder what our lives are all about, maybe my little comments got you thinking about issues in your own life.