Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tales From the Law (Volume 1)

Merriam-Webster defines a "Tale" as, among other things, "a story about imaginary events: an exciting or dramatic story."  Follows is a tale about the law.

Following a two-year clerkship for a judge in D.C., I began my career in the private sector working for one of the big law firms ("BigLaw").  There was a partner I knew at BigLaw who ran what I'd refer to as a "volume practice."  He had several large clients (all in the same field) that had hundreds of small matters each, most worth $100,000 to $200,000 or so.  The work was primarily what I would categorize as "administrative appellate work."  Mainly brief writing before a government agency.  The work was rather rote.  The briefs involved the same issues time and time again.  Often times, you could lift arguments wholesale from one brief to another, changing only client's/parties' names.  Partner had a junior partner and several associates that wrote the briefs.  Partner's job consisted primarily of (a) acknowledging each new matter/file with a letter to the client, explaining in brief detail the issues presented and the likely outcome; and (b) editing and revising the more complicated briefs.  The latter a more rare task given the relative lack of complexity of this particular area of the law.  Of course, every now and then, Partner would become involved in other issues for the clients, particular during periods of agency rulemaking, etc.  But, by and large, Partner's day-to-day existence involved writing short acknowledgment letters to the clients, and, occasionally, editing a brief.  Based on the nature of the volume practice, the hourly billing rates for Partner and his group were lower than the standard rates typically commanded by similarly situated BigLaw lawyers in D.C.  But, I'd estimate Partner's annual "book of business" was in the $3 million to $5 million range.*

By the time I had gotten to know Partner, he had clearly become overwhelmed with complacency.  While he got to work early -- 7:30 am -- and left late, I'm pretty sure this was simply to get out of the house and away from his wife.  Most of his day was spent wandering the corridors, reading the paper, playing video games on his computer and . . . . sleeping.  In fact, it was not unusual to hear loud snoring coming from his office by 11:30 am.  At times, his assistant would get up and shut his door so that his snoring would not bother other lawyers trying to work.  Partner's lack of work ethic was often joked about by associates at the firm.  I'm not sure what other partners thought, as they too clearly must have been aware of Partner's daily schedule of gaming and napping.   And here's the rub - Partner billed more than any one else in the office.  Generally in the neighborhood of 2400 a year (which, if you are unfamiliar, is a FUCK TON of billable hours).  It was an easy game.  Although Partner actually worked only 3 or so hours a day, he had hundreds of files at his disposal . . . a bounty of new cases entering the door every month.  Partner could easily touch 10 files a day, bill each a mere 1.2 hours, and bill 12 hours a day each day of the week.   And, given his reasonable hourly rate, clients would never complain.  Fraudulent?  You bet.  Provable?  Not likely.  The perfect scam.

Partner was old.  For a BigLaw lawyer, at least.  Mid-sixties, I'd guess.  He'd likely been making a seven-figure salary for decades.  I always wondered why he did not retire.  But, I guess if you can get paid millions of dollars for napping and playing video games, why not?

Of course, this is just a tale [yo]u see.  Someone could never get away with something like this in real life, of course . . .    

*This was not Partner's salary; rather the revenue generated for the firm.   


Monday, May 30, 2016

Vegas, [Yo]u See

I feel a bit like a certain infamous poker blogger whose name sounds like Hony StinkBalls.  I've changed my plans repeatedly the past month, in search of the greenest grass.  The lure of CHEAP accommodations and relaxation had me searching for utopia.  But weeks of indecision are over.  I had two alternate trips booked for next week (June 3-12) and had to cancel one to avoid cancelation fees, [yo]u see.  Having spent the past three days at the beach, and after looking up the long-range forecast for South Florida, I opted for Vegas.  It will be SUNNY at The Signature of course.

I still need to put my roll together for a 9 day trip, which will NOT include $1,335 in Bitcoin thats available in my online account, of course.  Also, I'm sunburned from this weekend and it itches and I'm wondering if any if my readers nos how to remedy this?  I should finally get some decent POKER material to blog about but if you think im gonna just write about hand histories ur crazy because its to much WORK and its also boring and no one wants to actually read that stuff if you dont believe me just ask robvegaspoker.  If anyone can tell my what my hourly rate should be expected to be for a week at mgm let me know.  Maybe pokerdogg can't tell me?      

now I have to relax at the gate before my flight home to BWI leaves in an hour.  will probably read some articles on Donald Trump because its important to unite behind him and convert as many others as possible.  when I land ill probably have to sleep twelve hours and won't see any comments

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Anyone Seen My Last Fuck?

It was Monday night that I gave my last fuck.  For the time being, at least.  After spending yet another weekend working, Monday turned into a marathon 16 hour work-day which ended in me getting ripped apart for some one else's error.  Also, I was scheduled for blood work at 8:30 Tuesday morning, and had to fast 12 hours.  As I did not leave the office until 11:30 pm, I ended up not eating dinner.  As I left the office, I no longer gave a fuck . . .

Tuesday, I got to work and pulled the trigger on a last minute flight to Fort Lauderdale and used some points on a suite at the Hilton.  My plan was to bail on work Friday for  a 9:30 flight out of BWI for a workless weekend.

Thursday evening, my plan got off to a rocky start.  I walked around the block for sushi at 8:30 and, while I waited at the bar for my order, found myself answering west coast work emails.  Ok.  No big deal.  Sunshine awaited.  

A awoke at 5:30 Friday and made the 45 minute drive north to BWI.  Lines were brutal, but I was at the gate in plenty of time.  Turns out, Memorial Day Weekend is some sort of "Urban Beach Weekend" in South Beach.  The gate area for the flight to Fort Lauderdale (30 miles or so north of SoBe) was . . . um . . . interesting.   There was, apparently, a large contingency of "gentlemen" and "ladies" flying from Baltimore into FLL and then Ubering south for the weekend.  I shall simply say that it was energetic; and that excitement was in the air.   I had "A Boarding" for Southwest and, while I normally sit near the back of the plane so that I can accommodate my old man enlarged prostate, as I surveyed the scene, I decided to sit in the closest available aisle seat to the front of the plane.  Good choice.  The Urban Beach Weekend crowd filled the back 1/4 of the plan.  And, nearly from take off, what I would describe as a rap battle ensued.  I've been on many flights.   I've been on many drunken late evening flights to Vegas.   I've never encountered this before.  The flight was filled with families with young kids jetting off for a relaxing holiday weekend in the sun.  I felt bad for what they were forced to endure, and can only imagine the questions that may have been asked, and the answers given.  Suffice it to say that, after 2:00 full hours of rapping and yelling, as we touched down, the back of the plane erupted into a screaming chant of "turn it up, n*gga . . . turn it up, n*gga . . ."  Perhaps there's a time and place; a crowded plane full of families heading to Florida on an early morning flight likely was not it.  Anyway . . . I was happy that I decided on Fort Lauderdale over SoBe for the weekend.

I got to the Hilton around 1:00 and was able to check in.  Diamond status got me free breakfast, free coffee in the morning, and two free adult libations a day at the bar.  Not bad.  As the sun was out, and I was excepting work to blow up before the long weekend, I immediately hit the beach while a window of freedom existed.  It was windy, and the water sort of sucked. Not the typical clear water South Florida is known for. I got an hour of sun in before my email blew up with a few work-related issues that need to be handled.  I headed up to the room for a bit to work.  Apparently, the fuck I gave Monday night not was indeed not my last.  After two hours of work, I went out for a quick run along the strip, before handling a few more work items.  Then I broke open the mini bar for a few cold beers on the balcony before heading off to find a reputable filet.

Exhausted, I ended up going to bed at 8:00.

I woke up this morning to thunder storms.  Forecast is for rain most of the day.  Current plan is to work the afternoon (I've got some discovery responses I need to get drafted), then head out for some libations and maybe place a degenerate bet on the Western Conference Game tonight. I can use a break from the sun, as I got a bit, um, burnt to fuck yesterday in the hour I spent at the beach.  Hopefully, tomorrow the sun will be back out and a day at the pool will be in order.

Lastly, I'm considering one last flip-flop on my vacation plans for the week of June 3rd.... I'm strongly considering Vegas again.  Need to make my mind up by Tuesday.   

Monday, May 23, 2016

Heading in a New Direction

A week or so has passed since my last entry, wherein I detailed my upcoming Vegas trip.  During that time, I worked. Non-stop.  I'm tired.  And I've also developed a knot-like feeling in my stomach that persist much of the day.  I assume its stress related.  Last night, when I finally stopped responding to client emails, and was laying on the couch trying not to throw up, I just decided that I have no interest in going to Vegas for 9 days.  The thought of staying up late, gambling, drinking, and all the stuff that comes with a P3-style Vegas vacation was not appealing in the least.  So, I changed plans . . . again.

Current itinerary:

  • 4 Days (Friday - Monday) @ The Loews, South Beach.  Ocean front.  Pool.  Beach. Beverages.  Added bonus, the Mets are in town for a weekend series.  Tickets for all three games, field level over the visitor dug out.  
  • Tuesday, driving down to Key West for 2 nights.  I've never been.  Looking forward to the drive, itself, as well as the local scene.  I've heard the beaches suck, but we'll see.
  • Thursday through Sunday - a return to The Diplomat.  Pool, Beach, beverages.  Still one of my all-time favorite resorts.  I haven't been there since Hilton bought it from SPG a year ago.  Hoping things haven't changed.

Hoping the weather is decent.  I'm still hanging on to my flight and hotel in Vegas for the time being, just in case things look bleak as June 3rd approaches.  But I think this is the winner.  Now, just need to survive the next two weeks . . .

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Creature of Habit

Work continues to be brutal.  It's non stop.  It's been over three weeks since I've had a day off.  After working this weekend, I'm on pace to bill a solid 245 hours in June.  That's "billed," not "worked."  The latter number would be closer to 300.  I've got a two day mediation scheduled for June 1-2 in D.C.  Hopefully, after that, things will slow down . . . at least a bit.  They better, because I'm scheduled for vacation beginning June 3rd.

I had been planning a trip to Vegas for nine days.  But, given the way things were going, and given that my client is located in Vegas, I started thinking about just going off the grid for a bit.  So, I booked a trip to Aruba.  But, then, Lightning began blowing up twitter and texts with chip porn and stories from his recent trip to Vegas.  And, suddenly, Vegas started sounding good again.  I wavered back and forth between Aruba and Vegas almost daily.  Finally, this morning, while taking a brief break from, well, brief-writing, I logged on to my MLIFE account and discovered I had 5 free nights at Aria.  Jackpot!  Decision made.  Aruba cancelled.  I mean, who needs Zika anyway?

So, I'll be getting in to Vegas Friday June 3rd, and staying at Aria through Tuesday.  Then off to Signature for 4 more days before leaving Sunday June 12th.  Unless, of course, I end up having to cancel.  Which, given past history, will likely be the case.  But, in the meantime, it's fun to think about 9 days in Paradise, Nevada.


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Blazing Trails

Getting old sucks.  Apparently, my cholesterol is still too high. And my blood sugar has crept up over the past 6 months. My A1C is Still "under control," but not the 5.5 it use to be.  In fairness, I'm not surprised.  The past 6 months have not been my healthiest, starting with the nearly two months I spent in Vegas living out of a hotel; moving and being a two minute walk from a handful of restaurants; working more hours than I ever have since being a first year associate at a big firm.  My exercise waned, and my diet deteriorated.

But I've settled into the new location and new work routine.  And I've recommitted to diet and exercise.   My daily diet usually involves egg whites or muscle milk for breakfast; almonds / protein bars for snacks; and salads / vegetables for lunch.  I found a few decent lunch options around the office, including a Korean place and Jose Andres' Beefsteak, which is premised on steamed vegetables:

Dinner is generally chicken/fish and more vegetables or homemade protein shake.   With respect to the latter, I generally create one using (a) cup of unsweetened almond milk; (b) two scoops of muscle milk powder; (c) scoop of natural peanut butter; (d) handful of berries; and (e) a large cup of ice.  Blend it all up.  It's about 30 grams of carbs (all from the protein powder, peanut butter and fruit), 80 grams of protein and 800 calories. Entire meal.  And, for someone like me, who's been off sugar for years, it's like a milkshake!

As for exercise . . . I've been lifting more often, and have vastly increased my weekly miles on the trails.  I downloaded a county trail map a few weeks ago and, on the weekends, have been searching out new trail runs.  I always find that running the unknown - exploring -- enables me to power through far more miles than running the same old routes.  Last weekend, I hit the Muddy Branch Trail near Potomac, Maryland.  It started with 2.5 miles through the woods, then opened up on the C&O Canal adjacent the Potomac River.  I ended up running 8 miles - the most I had run in one stint in probably a decade.  The scenery made it enjoyable: