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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Old Life as a Litigator

For over 21 years I worked in a fast paced, high stress career as a litigator.  Before entering management, I tried many cases in federal court in the areas of employment discrimination, and later in police defense litigation for the City of Chicago.  I was always busy racing from one court imposed deadline to another, often working long hours and missing out on time with my growing family.  I really resented the time I was not with my daughters even though I had what could be called a successful career.  Admittedly, there were aspects that I enjoyed:  working closely with my colleagues, building a theory for each case, reviewing interesting documents and taking the depositions of countless fascinating people, including experts in many fields from economists to police shooting experts.  The last couple of years that I litigated, I handled and supervised many cases involving police related shooting deaths, tasering and other injuries so I learned a lot about bullet trajectories, tasers, deaths in custody, blood spatter patterns, etc.  It may sound gruesome but it was often fascinating and there was a thrill in the chase of taking a case to trial before a jury.

But I longed to have more time for my family and all the interests I have, particularly my dream of writing.  So the end of September 2011 I bid farewell to the City and a few months later moved with Arturo to Mexico.  Unfortunately, it was too late to spend more time in the formative years of my daughters, but I love watching how they are now living their lives.  Even if I do watch from afar.

Then yesterday I saw a movie about the attorney who helped expose the scandal involving the priests in Boston.  Some of the scenes, involving brainstorming, preparing for huge depositions, and being in court, brought me right back to what I used to do.  And I started missing it.  But then I thought deeper and started remembering everything that I disliked so much about litigating.  I can honestly say that the brief feeling of missing litigation quickly passed!

I am fortunate to have the life I now have.  I'm no longer exhausted or in a bad mood, and I feel like I'm starting to remember who I am.  I can't waste the opportunities I now have to do what I spent so many years dreaming of.

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