Monday, April 10, 2017

Decisions, Decisions

Apologies for not posting new chapters last week! I had some unexpected things come up. First I had to travel for work, so I was busy night and day. Then when I returned, my husband and I started talking about the future and whether we want to stay in L.A. for the next three years or start a simpler life now. It would mean giving up more money in the long-term, but it might be worth it to us.

How do you go about making big life decisions? Any advice?

I'll post new chapters Wednesday and Thursday.

Thanks for reading!!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Death by Default: Chapter 6 -Speechless

Photo courtesy of jgolby,
Detective Rosetti led me to his car – a black sedan with coffee stains on the armrest and a bullet-proof vest lying on the backseat – and had me wait inside while he made a phone call under the awning of the nail salon. I watched him from the rearview mirror through the drizzling rain thudding on the back window. It was cold, but I could feel beads of sweat collecting across my brow. Why had he gone out of his way to find me? (continue reading here)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Death by Default: Chapter 5 - Hiding Out

Photo courtesy of jgolby,

They buried Winnie on Tuesday.

I didn’t go to the funeral. It didn’t feel right. I hadn’t known her that well in law school, and under the circumstances I figured her family would want privacy when they laid her to rest. The papers said it was suicide like Emily Mara the week before, although they had yet to reveal a motive. Emily had been in debt, but so far the headlines were mum on Winnie’s finances at the time of her death. I sent Derek a sympathy card at his office after looking up his address on the state bar website, and now I found myself all out of ideas on how to respond to yet another suicide by one of my fellow graduates. It felt like I should be doing something, but I didn’t know what. (continue reading here)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Pulling a Geographic

There’s a term that people in AA use called “pulling a geographic,” which describes the process of moving to a new place looking to escape one’s problems. It’s criticized by some because, as the saying goes, “wherever you go, there you are.”
But sometimes, pulling a geographic can be just the ticket.
Take Daniel Bailey, a 2010 law school graduate who knew early on in his career (like, the sixth week of his 1L year) that (continue reading here)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Death by Default: Chapter 4 - Warm Bodies

Photo courtesy of jgolby,

I saw Michelle talking to Alex on one of the mahogany benches in front of the view of Lake Michigan. The violinist had switched from Bach to the Beatles, the gloomy strains of Eleanor Rigby providing an appropriate soundtrack for a room full of would-be lawyers. (continue reading here)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Death by Default: Chapter 3 - Voices

Photo courtesy of jgolby,

Alex drifted back into the crowd while I tried to talk Michelle out of saying anything about Emily Mara. Eventually she agreed – with a huff – and abandoned me when she spotted Derek Ubel. She and Derek had a fling during our 1L year, which started after the “Race Judicata” fundraiser in October – Michelle and Derek tied for first – and ended just before On-Campus Recruiting in January. She never told me why they broke up. (continue reading here)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

“Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another?” (Or, An Open Apology to Curves for Women)

I’ve been catching up on my blog email lately and I came across a message from a struggling attorney who enjoys the research and writing aspect of her job, but dreads going to court because of all the anxiety and insecurity it provokes. It got me thinking about my litigation days, and one of the worst courtroom experiences I ever had.

Actually, the courtroom wasn’t the real problem (more on that in a minute); the lead up to the courtroom was.

The exact circumstances are foggy now, since it happened so long ago, but I’ll give you
the gist. The firm I worked for (continue reading here)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Death by Default: Chapter 2 - Sacrificial Lambs

Photo courtesy of jgolby,
Kerner Law School, founded in 1965 and regrettably named after Otto Kerner, Jr., one of several Illinois governors who eventually landed in prison, overlooked Lake Michigan and was recently anointed by Time magazine as the school whose graduates were least likely to repay their student loans. It was located in Cold Lake, Illinois, just a few miles north of Chicago and three short blocks from Cold Lake University, where Michelle and I earned useless humanities degrees before taking the twenty-thousand-dollar-a-year plunge at Kerner Law School. Tuition now cost (continue reading here)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Death by Default: Chapter 1 - Hunger Pangs

Photo courtesy of jgolby,
I should’ve stayed home. 
That’s all I could think as the taxi hiccupped down University Drive in the stop-and-go Friday night traffic. Michelle wouldn’t take no for an answer, though. Michelle could never take no for an answer, which was how I found myself sharing a cab with her – a cab I could not afford – to a law school recruitment mixer I would not enjoy on a Friday night when I should have stayed home.(continue reading here)

Death by Default: Prologue

Photo courtesy of jgolby,

I never really knew Emily Mara. In fact, when I saw her photo in the paper after she died, I almost didn’t recognize her at all. Back when we were in law school, she had dirty blonde hair and wore a nose ring, wanted to go into environmental law. In the newspaper photo, she was a PI lawyer wearing a sleek brunette ponytail and a strand of pearls. A lawyer who – shortly before she flung herself from the Skyway Bridge into the freezing Calumet River – worked for Smith and Associates LLP, a firm that specialized in processing asbestos claims until (continue reading here)

A New Blog Series

Photo courtesy of Daniel McCullough,

I've been thinking a lot lately about creativity and what inspires it. My first novel was inspired by my experiences as a young lawyer working in criminal defense. It felt cathartic when I finished it, like I'd finally worked through all of the emotions I felt trying to navigate the justice system while at the same time hating my job and looking for a way out. My Pizza Diaries series was inspired by my adventures in trying to escape student debt hell. Again, when I finished it, I felt like I'd worked through that part of my life.

But I still feel like there's a part of my story that I'm working through. The trouble is (continue reading here)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Four Years of Debt Freedom

Warren, you had one job!

Greetings from La La Land (or is it Moonlight?)! :) I couldn’t resist.

It feels like it’s been forever since I updated my blog! Thank you to everyone who emailed me or left kind words in the comments. It really helped lift my spirits since my last depressing post. I figured that even though I’m still struggling with life here in the city of angels, I have (continue reading here)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

"Lonely As I Am, Together We Cry"

I haven’t updated my blog in a while because [sigh...] once again, my husband and I have moved.

I wrote a few versions of this post, none of which seemed quite right because they sugarcoated things. [continue reading here]

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Letting Go

A few weeks ago, I was catching up with “Howard” (the colleague I interviewed in episodes 3 and 4 of my podcast) After chatting about what’s new in both of our lives, the conversation inevitably turned to the subject that has bonded the two of us ever since we met at the bus stop on that first day of 1L year: the practice of law. (continue reading here)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

99 Homes and the Law School Bubble: We Got Emotional About JDs

My husband and I recently watched a movie called 99 Homes, starring Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire) and Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spiderman). It’s a thriller about the foreclosure crisis that (continue reading here)