Today I turned down a case. It’s an interesting case, sure, but it is very involved and would potentially take up a lot of time. The client is also not 100% there and my gut tells me that she’s hiding some information and/or confused. I hate to not help somebody who does really need the help, but lets review a few facts:
1. I’m unemployed
2. I’m actively job searching in both my city and the next city away, which would involve an hour-long commute, and anywhere in between.
3. I’m looking for both legal and non-legal jobs.
I am not comfortable walking into a job interview, if I should get one, and saying, “gee folks, I’m psyched about this opportunity but I’m going to need these four days off and a week in June for a trial.” If I could guarantee myself a law job in my hometown, I would be okay taking this case. However, if I’m looking at a job in non-profit work that isn’t legal, but instead political or policy related, I’m talking to people who have no understanding of pro-bono work. I’m also talking about needing to take more than just an hour off work to meet with a client. But I can’t take a case and abandon it when I get a job, and I can’t jeopardize my career for a case. So I turned it down. If an attorney would take the lead, I would do the grunt work, but I’m doubting an attorney will take it.
On the bright side, I got assigned a different case, which is actually a fraud case. It’s an interesting fraud case, and it has a better timeline and more support than the first case, so I’m excited to be working on it. We’ll see where it goes.
I think that these are the kind of decisions that can really affect you when you start out. It’s possible in 30 years, I will look back and say, “I wish I had taken that crazy case, I could have changed the law and made people stand up and take notice of me.” Right now, I’m willing to live with the possibility of that regret.