Just Say No

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.


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Filed under Job Search, Unemployed, Volunteering

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