I will always remember February 27, 2015 for a couple of reasons. First, it snowed that day, blanketing downtown in a beautiful white. It brought an end to a wild winter weather week in North Texas where we endured multiple winter storms, but I showed up for work everyday.
That’s nothing new. In 2014, I took a total of five days off from work and billed nearly 2,100 hours. During the summer, I worked a couple of 60 and 70 hours weeks. At the time, I didn’t really mind. The work was there and the 30+ hours of overtime certainly looks nice on a paycheck.
In spite of all this productivity, for the first time in my life, my employer relieved me of my job duties that snowy Friday afternoon. You never want to get a call from HR on a Friday afternoon and it’s even more ominous when you walk into the conference room and she’s sitting with one of the partners, yet surprisingly I felt some relief when I sat down at that table and heard the words “today is your last day,” came out the HR manager’s mouth.
As I drove home, I felt calm as I reflected on where I had been and began to plot out the next step in my career.
In September 1999, I accepted a position as a part-time runner for a consumer bankruptcy firm in Tyler, Texas. The job worked well with my college schedule and allowed me to explore my own calling into the legal field. While I spent a lot of time performing menial tasks, such as washing my boss’s car every Friday, I saw every assignment as a learning opportunity.
When asked to update books in the library, I took the time to read the inserts. Similarly, when asked to file a document with the court, I would ask the attorney or their assistant how each document fit into the case. I found the work to be extremely interesting, but 21 year old Josh found it hard to reconcile his laid back personality with that of his boss, which could most politely be described as “extreme Type A.”
I moved on and went back to waiting tables, but I missed the excitement and a few weeks later when I saw a law firm advertise a position for a file clerk, I took my next step up the legal ladder. Here, I had the autonomy I desired and I began to understand a little bit more about litigation.
Since that time, I have worked in various roles in various fields in the legal industry—from paralegal to litigation manager and from toxic torts to patent litigation. I applied for law school back in 2009 and was accepted to my “fall back” school. I was a little disappointed and so I put off enrolling. After getting laid off, I knew it was time to begin my law school pursuit once again.
So here I am. I am officially a 37 year old 1L at the UNT-Dallas College of Law. I am married, have two wonderful children, and work full-time as a labor & employment paralegal for one of the largest law firms in the world. On Saturday, I began “Fundamentals Week,” the official kickoff to the academic portion of my law school journey. I am resurrecting my blog after almost a year away to document my time as a law student, husband, father, and paralegal. Additionally, I will share reflections from my past and maybe even offer a little political and pop culture commentary from time-to-time. I am glad you found this blog and hope you will come back and visit often.