Sunday, November 04, 2007

"Not a game, not a game, but we're talking about Practice."

So I've gone and become a lawyer. This isn't law school anymore, folks. No more unfocused, pointless conversations with endless series of ridiculous questions. This is not a game, not a game. We're talking about Practice.

Coming to Terms

I've been working for two weeks. It still feels strange to have been in school my entire life, and then one Monday, start a whole new era. I certainly don't feel like an adult; I play too many videogames still.

Generally the learning curve for a new associate is fairly steep--and steeper as the firm gets smaller--but my transition to full time practice has been quite smooth because of the time I spent at my firm as a summer associate.

I know a lot of law students who lounged around in Manhattan or L.A.,, spent $60 a meal, and occassionally generated some work product for an assignment ginned up to keep summer associates in high spirits. My firm didn't try to kill me, but they made us put in an honest day's work. If I wanted more work or to be put on a special assignment, they were flexible. Something must be working when you find yourself asking to do more work simply because you find the work interesting and enjoy working with your team.

There were a few nights during my summer where I was up late because of an ultra-short deadline, and my friends kept telling me that I shouldn't have to work that hard as a summer associate. But you know what, it was so much more realistic and rewarding than if I had just skated by. Discovering early on that litigation has a frightfully unpredictable schedule gave me a more complete picture of the kind of personal committment it takes to be effective at this job.

To have come to terms with this two years ago is priceless.

An Aside on Technology

So as you know from virtually all of my previous posts, technology plays an important role in my life. So if you don't like technology, then ignore the rest of this post. Yes, yes, I'm a dork. I mean, , I'm a patent lawyer so I'm pretty sure that any argument to the contrary is an uphill battle. Accept my dorkness and move on.

Amazingly, the most difficult part of adjusting to my job had nothing to do with the work that was expected of me; it was getting all of the IT properly set up in my office and at home.

To me, there's nothing more disorienting than to use a computer you've never used and access an array of document management systems that are less than intuitive. Luckily the IT people were nice enough to give me administrator access to my computer and I was able to make a few improvements. I also immediately got one of those adjustable keyboard trays installed under my desk and swapped out the keyboard and mouse with ones from home that don't suck.

The most satisfying upgrade to the office computer was setting up a dual monitor system, which is INVALUABLE for any lawyer. If you don't have one set up yet, do it. You won't go back. If you're going to spend hours in front of your desk staring at various documents, you may as well enjoy the experience. I'm using my two Samsung 19" LCD monitors that I bought about six years ago. They still look fantastic and, hopefully, will serve me well for another six years (or more).

The biggest advantage of bringing two LCD monitors from home is needing to buy two replacements for my home system. This is something I've been itching to do for awhile.
I did some research and found the Gateway FPD2485W (just rolls off the tounge doesn't it?). At first I really wanted another Samsung because I've had such good luck with it. Dell was also a great alternative because they have the same internal components as Samsung displays. One of the major drawbacks with Samsung displays is that they are hopelessly lacking in additional features. For example, they don't have any USB ports or additional inputs. And with prices equal to or higher than the competition, functionality will always trump the trusted brand name.

When I went to Fry's I saw Gateway's 24" monitor and was amazed at how vibrant the colors looked in comparison to the Samsung that was right next to it. The Gateway gives you a lot of bang for your buck. It has: (1) Analog VGA; (2) Digital DVI with HDCP support; (3) HDMI; (4) 2 Component inputs; (5) S-Video; (6) 4-port USB hub; and (7) picture-in-picture. And with the reviews confirming that the quality of the monitor was on par with the competition, I went ahead and bought two of them.

Over the air HDTV (through my computer's TV tuner) looks absolutely stunning. The wide aspect ratio (1920x1200) makes videogames come alive, and also gives you more than enough screen real estate for documents, email, and various task panes without anything feeling cramped. The LCD can rotate 90 degrees, but as with my last set of LCDs, I don't think I'll ever use this feature.

I recommend this monitor to anyone in the market. It also doubles as a full 1080p HDTV, so you may as well kill two birds with one stone.

Chapter 2

But monitors aside, things are really starting to come together for me. I've felt this nagging sense of suspension the last few years, as if everything in life was temporary or arbitrary in some way. And while that's still true in an existential way, I can at least get some joy in establishing some kind of rhythm in life.

Now, if only litigation would let me hold on to that rhythm . . .


Unknown said...

I have the same monitor you described, the gateway. I Love it the best monitor I ever had. your lucky to be getting yours so cheap I paid 750 for mine brand new.

Anonymous said...

Samsung SyncMaster 204B is my monitor of choice. I have purchased no less than 11 of them!

-H Loo