Your desk doesn't usually look like this...

Photo:  my desk centered with a card from Cristina

Photo:  my desk centered with a card from Cristina

My parents had a pretty good strategy on how to keep the five of us out of trouble.   Both of them worked.  We had various babysitters (one of whom ripped us off but that's another story).  This was in the days when neighbors kept a lookout for us kids as well.   Still, mom and dad left nothing to chance.

The strategy was to keep us busy.  For me, in addition to regular school it meant piano lessons (and practicing every day), religious school twice a week, being in various extracurricular school activities, and lots of time outside.  We had a mobile home between Stevens Pass and Leavenworth that we drove to (in the Chrysler town & country) every weekend.

In high school I continued to take piano, practice two hours a day, taught students of my own, was co-editor of the student newspaper, in the orchestra (string bass), sometimes in the band, performed piano accompaniment for soloists, parliamentarian of student government, and was in charge of raising the "three little kids" (Susan, Jen & Greg the youngest of us 5).

Forward fast.

Mary Ann has come to help with bookkeeping for the nonprofit organization that I head.  She takes a look around and remarks:  wow.  your desk doesn't usually look like this."  It is a mess.

I'm preparing for my third trial in as many months.  But this trial is unlike the other two.

Usually I can get ready for trial without causing hardly a ripple in our office.  With the exception of John and Anne my paralegals, Garth who handles jury instructions, and Mike/Ryan who help with tech set up; the other attorneys, paralegals and support staff go about their merry way.

Not so this time.

This is a very big case.  My co-counsel is here from out of state.  He's set up a trial lawyer's technological dream downstairs in our mock court room.  The 70" tv that we will bring with us is connected to our laptops and ipads and elmo and dvd.    We have a bag of cords, piles of big board exhibits,  easels, laptop and ipad stands.  The stuff keeps accumulating.

Anne is the lead paralegal.  She's running around so much that she finally has to let go of something precious.  She takes off her gilt gold high heeled sandles that match her leopard skin sparkly flouncy top.  I do a double take when she shows up in sneakers.  There's a first for everything.

Jody is the second lead paralegal, she is in our Hoquiam office.  I can imagine her running around just like Anne.  John loads 100s of exhibits onto my ipad,  Mike is editing videos and dealing with tech, Ryan is dealing with tech and laughing at me, Patti stays late to help Anne (one time they were here til 10 - as in p.m.). Ken helps with exhibit creation and enlarging.  Thelma fields the masses of calls and mail. Jayne works for my cocounsel far far away.  And there are others in this wonderful firm of mine.  All helping us out.  Two of my partners, Paul and Garth have worked on the case for a long time.  Helping to fend off attacks from the defense.   It takes a village.

My days now start at 8 and end around 2 in the morning.  Briefs have to be researched and written.  Witnesses coordinated.  Exhibits organized and digested.  Depositions read. Testimony outlines prepared.  Defense counsel handled.  Software figured out.  Other cases managed.

I sit on the bouncy ball, surrounded by my computer screens, covered by paper, on the phone with an expert, texting co-counsel and a daughter,  Earth Wind & Fire Pandora playing, Nala crunching her bone in the background.

And silently thank my parents for preparing me so well.

Note:  I do write trial diaries.  Portions of those diaries are sometimes published in this blog.  They are never posted until after the trial ends and the jury verdict is entered.