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OCTOBER 2009

Don’t Call Me Counselor

WyLD

Washington State Bar Association YOUNG LAWYERS DIVISION

Volume 23 • Issue 5

A lawyer-in-recovery finds solace in Seattle By M. Susan Wilson

O

kay, it’s time I admitted it. Spilled the beans. ’Fessed up. Came clean. After all, I can’t really keep it hidden forever. I harbor a secret identity. I am one of those you loathe. The butt of your cocktailparty banter. The easy target. I am, technically speaking, a lawyer. Mind you, I don’t practice. But being a non-practicing lawyer is sort of like being a non-practicing Catholic: Swear off it all you like, but the imprint of your training stays with you. For years, I’ve tried to keep my lawyerly leanings under wraps. Occasionally, I even try to blend in by telling lawyer jokes around the water cooler:

The author shows off her non-legal skills. (Photo: Doug Landreth)

Now stop me if you’ve heard this one. So, the Pope goes to heaven and he realizes while he’s up there that there’s a lawyer living on the next cloud in an absolute mansion, while the Pope is living in a simple little studio. So the Pope inquires of Saint Peter: ‘Pete, what gives?’ And Saint Peter responds: “Well, we’ve got scores of popes up here, Your Excellency. But we’ve only got one lawyer.” [Insert my forced, nervous laughter here.] As a rule, I never tell new friends — and certainly not romantic partners — until absolutely necessary. (“Sweetie, did you just say ‘heretofore now and hereafter?’”) My lawyer fate was inevitable. You see, I was raised by a pack of lawyers. It’s sort of a family tradition. Or perhaps a congenital disease. I’m not claiming my first words were “promissory estoppel” or “subpoena duces tecum” (why does that always sound dirty?) or anything like that. But when you live among lawyers, it gets in the blood. Sort of like radioactive waste. I always identified it as part of the life cycle: You graduate from high school. You go to college. You go to law school. Problem was, one year in, I knew it wasn’t entirely my cup of brew. But by then I’d knocked a good seven or eight years off the end of my life eating vending-machine food, spending late nights under fluorescent lights while crawling through library stacks looking for casebooks, and sleeping less than the average cult recruit. The next two years were, relatively speaking, cake. So I finished law school, secured my admission to the Wisconsin Bar, and headed west with dreams of doing, well, just about anything else.

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1

Don’t Call Me Counselor by M. Susan Wilson

2

Editor’s Column by Jamila Johnson

3

President’s Column by Julia A. Bahner

4

How to Manage Your Manager by Allison Peryea

7

All A-Twitter by Michael Heatherly

8

Legal Ethics and Social Media by Christopher H. Howard and Colin Folawn

10

Practice Success 101 by Pete Roberts

12

The Legal Needs of Active-Duty Servicemembers and How You Can Help by Jason T. Vail

13

The American Immigration Lawyers Association — Washington Chapter: Dedicated to Helping Our Community by Tahmina Watson

15

When Procrastination Rears Its Ugly Head by Dan Crystal

16

ABA YLD Annual Meeting in Chicago

17

Meet the Trustees

Here in Seattle, I hid among the enemy, doing the least taxing job I was best trained to do. I took a temp position at the Washington State Bar Association, approving Continuing Legal Education courses. Much to my surprise, I never heard “Why not practice?” at WSBA. It was the ’90s, and all the glamour was in the rock scene and, later, in the dot-com world. Everyone was trying to get rich fast. Law school was old school. There were no rules here. You could reinvent yourself as you pleased. It sounds like