It was quite a whirlwind, but it couldn't have come at a better time, as it plucked me away from a miserable contract job doing an electronic document review. For those who don't know, firms often hire attorneys on a contract basis for weeks at a time to review documents. This firm was, no surprise, up against a deadline and needed a ton of the client's employees' emails reviewed. But the client wanted to staff the project leanly, so there were six of us staring at computer screens 84 hours per week and clicking furiously (e.g. this document we can produce, this one is privileged, this one is irrelevant, this one screws us over, etc.). And it was a patent case involving mechanical parts for downhole oil well operations, so the emails we were reviewing were all written by engineers. No offense, Dad, but you guys write very, um, 'technical' (i.e. soul-crushing) emails. My back and eyes were quite displeased; my eyeballs would quite literally shake in their sockets for the last three or four hours of each day. Plus, almost every day I had an interview or a meeting with a recruiter or something like that, which would take up a few additional hours. Add that to a 45-minute commute, and a newborn who enjoys slowly savoring her bottles in the middle of the night. I've been in a few trials before, where we'd work 22-hour days for a few weeks straight, and even that was more tolerable; at least then the work is interesting and you can let your eyes drift from the computer screen occasionally. We were grateful to have some income, but I deeply resented the invention of email and its unfortunate effect upon the practice of law.
In the midst of this, on Tuesday morning, I got a call from a friend from my old firm. He had been networking and advocating for me, putting me in touch with various people he knew around town. Apparently he had mentioned my name to an old law school friend of his, a partner in a small litigation boutique, and by happy coincidence, he and his partners had just decided the day before that they needed to hire someone new. They wanted me to give them a call, and when I did, they asked if I could come in that afternoon. I didn't even have a suit, since I was downtown slogging away on the document review, but they didn't care. The interview went great; I met with all three of the named partners, and they wanted me to come back the next morning to meet with their fourth partner, who works up in Dallas. On Wednesday morning I met her and a few of the associates, and then they offered me the job right afterwards, saying they would be eager to get me started the next morning, Thursday. After a 3-minute phone call to Shelly (who didn't need any convincing), I accepted and then gleefully skipped off to go quit the contract job.
So far the firm has been great. The partners and everyone else are all extremely nice, friendly, likable people, which for me is by far the most important factor affecting whether or not I enjoy my job. The pay is less, but enough for our needs. The firm is quite busy -- they started with eight attorneys just this past January, most coming from a bigger Texas firm (Bracewell & Guiliani). In the ten months since they have now hired nine more attorneys; all of their clients followed them from Bracewell, and they just keep getting more and more work. The environment is much more collegial and close-knit than at my prior firms; everyone seems very proud of this new enterprise and dedicated to building it up. And so far, they really like my work product. I know it's only been two days, but it looks like I'm really going to like it there.
To yet again restate the obvious, we absolutely recognize and are deeply grateful for the way our path has been so unmistakably guided. It's not even remotely subtle. My last day at my prior job was in July. One week later went to San Francisco and qualified for an extremely rare surgery which so far appears to have been a wild success. It would have been infinitely more difficult for Shelly to have gone through that alone, if work had kept me in Houston. And then, just weeks after returning, I find a new position, one that so far looks like it will be a great fit for me. We've been so incredibly blessed, clearly much more so than we deserve. So again, many many thanks for all your prayers, your faith made it happen.