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A day in the life of a young, married lawyer

(Last month, a fellow blogger took us through a day in the life of a single lawyer. Well, Scott, here’s what you have to look forward to…)

It’s 4:37 a.m. and my alarm goes off. No, not the alarm clock next to my bed. I haven’t needed to set that thing in over two years. I am talking about the little sound monitor to the right of the alarm clock, which is blasting the noise coming from down the hall in my son’s room.

“Daddy! Daddy!” my son yells at the top of his lungs.

“If I get there quickly enough,” I think to myself, “I might be able to put him back down for a few hours.”

Not this time though. He is up, and he is ready to party. Thus starts a typical day in my life.

I make my way downstairs and fix breakfast for my son and a large cup of coffee for me. For the next few hours, we read books (well, really just his favorite book over and over), play with his toys and watch a little Sesame Street. My wife worked the night before and didn’t get home until late, so I play with my son until the last possible moment I need to get ready for work.

I shower, shave, brush my teeth and come back to the room to find my son wearing the clothes I had set out for work. This will be my first negotiation of the day. In exchange for the dress shoes and belt he is wearing, I offer sneakers and a pair of socks. He reluctantly accepts, so long as he can keep my pants and shirt in the deal. The pants and shirt are wrinkled beyond recognition now, so I have no choice but to accept his compelling counteroffer. My wife, who is now working on about three-and-a-half hours of sleep, offers no sympathy.

As I am running out the door, I trip over my basset hound, George, who has been waiting patiently for his morning walk. George and I hustle outside, and in typical fashion, he takes his time to examine every blade of grass before finally doing his business. I run back inside, grab my things, kiss my wife, hug my son and then I am off.

I hurry into the office, throw my things down and fire up my computer. A young associate walks by.

“Nice shirt, Tucker,” he says.

I wish I could say he wasn’t being sarcastic. Because of my son’s earlier acquisition, however, I had settled for the last clean shirt in the closet, a hideous turquoise number that I only break out in emergency situations. I pour my second of many cups of coffee.

I have no court today, but there is plenty to do. I begin the morning by planning out my day. This includes reviewing my calendar and up-coming deadlines, and making a list of the tasks that I want to accomplish for the day. The rest of the day is spent working on those tasks, having conferences with partners, associates and law clerks and returning calls and emails. I eat lunch in my office.

Toward the end of the day, a motion to dismiss hits my desk. I drop everything and read it. I send an email to the client and the partner with whom I am working on the case, and I begin doing preliminary research for our opposition.

Before I know it, it’s 6:30 p.m. Pre-baby, this wouldn’t matter, and I would keep on working until I found a natural stopping point. Post-baby, however, I don’t have that luxury. My son is at the babysitters’ house, and I am now a half-hour late picking him up. I dash out of the office, throwing the motion to dismiss papers in a file, which I deceive myself into thinking I will go over later after my son goes to bed.

As I am running to my car, I shoot a quick text message to my wife who’s at work.

“Did he nap?”

“Nope,” she replies.

“Gotcha. Love you.”

“Love you too.”

I drive to the babysitters’ house, who also happen to be my brother and sister-in-law, quickly stopping along the way to grab a six-pack of fancy beer as a peace offering for being late.  I get to their house around 7 p.m. I am exhausted. I know that I still have to drive home and hurry to get my son ready for bed at a decent time, which is always interesting when he hasn’t napped all day. If I’m lucky, I’ll have an hour or two to get things done around the house before going to bed.

As I get to the door, my exhaustion washes away into a feeling of happiness. I peek through the window and see my son laughing and playing with his cousins. I knock a couple times and watch him jump out of his seat squealing with joy when he hears that I am there. The door opens and he greets me with a huge bear hug.

I am quickly reminded that, despite the chaos and lack of sleep, I am living the dream.