Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Pausing to catch my breath at the rim of the abyss -- and yet, there's reason to hope

Oh, sure, you say -- tongue firmly in cheek -- poor Curmudgeon, you've been blogging yourself to a nub.

Well, no, I reply, perhaps a bit sheepishly. I have a life offline... sort of... and things have been a tad busy.

We got Granddaughter #2 baptized a week ago Sunday. That looks so recent when I write it, but -- trust me on this -- June 29 feels already like ancient history.

I just finished an appellate brief -- a few days after the promised delivery date. Nothing ever seems to get done as fast as I think it will.

The delay in delivery does not diminish my sense of accomplishment in finishing a task like this. I get so narrowly focused -- I got at least a couple hours work in each day on the holiday weekend, family obligations notwithstanding -- and I felt almost like a lawyer. Almost like a real, serious person.

And then I sent the brief off to my co-counsel, who is vacationing in Europe at the moment, with her husband and family. She probably won't read it until next week, when she gets back. We'll see what she thinks of it then. (What she thinks will, in large part, be dictated by what her referring attorney -- trial counsel -- thinks of the brief. If he likes it, she'll like it, too. If he hates it, well....)

Either way, by next week I hope to be getting into the next brief -- I have another in the hopper -- and I'm looking forward to getting this one done because it will have a blue cover.

No, I haven't developed a fashion sense in my dotage; that just means that, in this next case, I will be the appellee. In Illinois, an appellant's opening brief has a white cover, an appellee's response has a blue cover, and the appellant's reply has a yellow cover. I've done waaaaaaaay too many white and yellow covers in recent years. But this blue cover on my brief-to-be means I'll be the lawyer telling the Appellate Court how smart the jury and the trial judge were to see things my client's way. Statistics show that I have a 2 in 3 chance of success as appellee, whatever cockamamie drivel I concoct. And, you can bet the rent -- I am -- that's what one does in taking contingent fee cases -- that I will be writing my heart out, not driveling at all. See... if we win on that appeal, I'll get paid.

These things don't happen overnight, unfortunately.

The Appellate Court decided a big case in my favor a month or so ago. I worked on it last spring. But it too had a blue cover. If my colleague now in Europe had been able to negotiate the traditional fee for our appellate representation in that case, I'd be looking at a seven figure payday. The case was that big.

But... alas. She did not. She could not. I will still get, from that one case, more money than I grossed last year. Five figures is not seven -- decimal points do matter -- but, all by itself, it will make a healthy dent in my $60,000 credit card debt. But first will come the Petition for Leave to Appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. There's only a 1% chance that the court will take it -- and, assuming it does not, I should see that money during the fourth quarter of this year.

I just have to live that long.

The brief I just finished will have a white cover. And while there was the momentary satisfaction of a job well done -- I liked it, whether anyone else does or not -- there was also the sad reality yesterday that I was $300 short on the July rent. And the Lexis bill -- you know, the electronic research service I need in order to find the cases to discern the law to quote in these masterpieces, white cover or blue -- is about to become two months overdue.

My remaining partner in the office suite was able to advance me the $300. What a heel I am. He's been short the last couple of months and I haven't been in a position to reciprocate. So he's gotten socked with the late fees -- and now he saves me from one.

The American Express bill was due yesterday, too. I couldn't pay the balance (even though, just a couple of months ago, I moved the really big balance on that card to one of those way-too-short-term 0% deals from the Soulless Megabank). For some reason, we keep buying groceries. And gasoline. Still, I paid what I could. Now I have less than $50 in my personal checking account and my business checking account.

I really am at the rim of the abyss.

This morning I went to court for a matter where I expected a final order to be entered -- a final order that would allow me to bill and close my file.


The attorney was unable to accomplish, in the last 30 days or so, what he was supposed to. We now wait to mid-August.

I have bills out.

They're just not getting paid.

That gets very old, I assure you. Meanwhile, I should be doing time sheets. But I did this instead. And, now, I think, I will go home. I will do better tomorrow.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

it WILL be better tomorrow. and those grandchildren make it all worthwhile, all the hard work, i know.

blessings my friend,

The Curmudgeon said...

Thanks, Bee.