Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Small Insight Into Practicing Law

When I was young I thought practicing law was going to be glamorous and exciting.  It is not.  It is actually frustrating, exhausting and filled with gray areas.  Often times, practicing law has nothing to do with the law.  Whether you win or lose SOMETIMES (often times) depends on the bias of your Judge. 

In my small town we have a Judge that is well known to be biased against companies and in favor of employees, individuals and underdogs.  The little guy.  The firm I work for usually represents companies.  I usually lose when I go in front of this Judge.  Not because I'm wrong, not because my argument is not compelling, but because this Judge does not like big companies.  We are humans and we all have biases and prejudices. 

When I practice in some of the surrounding cities I often get "hometowned".  Meaning Judges in those cities are friends with and know the local attorneys.  Again, no matter how good my argument and how much the law is on my side, sometimes I lose if the opposing counsel knows the Judge well.  It's frustrating and I remind myself that is the purpose of appeals, but it is still an annoying part of practicing law.  Being hometowned is common knowledge within the legal community.  At least in my area of the State.  In these situations, only where the opposing counsel's arguments are so spurious as to be laughable will I ever get a fair shake.  I often leave those hearings feeling defeated. 

Earlier this month I went to a conference in South Florida and I spoke to another attorney who told me she had the same experience, even within the county she normally practices.  She said if the Judge knew the opposing counsel better, she knew from the beginning of the hearing that the Judge wasn't going to rule in her favor unless the Judge HAD to rule in her favor.  With that knowledge she stated she never made lengthy oral arguments because she felt they were a waste of time. 

Recently, for the first time ever, I believe I won a hearing because of my familiarity with the Judge.  He and I are not friends, but I have met him before and he knows me.  I never practice in his county, but he recognized me immediately and greeted me by name.  I have a very aggressive opposing counsel on this case and he files motions excessively.  My arguments were good and solid and I should have won, but I really feel like I won because I knew the Judge.  He didn't say anything to me to show that he was biased in my favor (no winking or thumbs up), it's just my feeling.  Just like in those other counties where it's just a feeling that I lose because I'm not friends with the Judge.  

Anyways the purpose of this post is to show why I'm so interested in learning to manage my finances, paying off debt and saving money.  I'm not sure how much longer I am willing to practice law. I make good money and (Sometimes) I like what I do.  However, I don't like knowing that the outcome of my client's case MAY be based on my familiarity with a Judge.  I would prefer that the legal system work more perfectly than it does and that is based more on fairness and the law. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Retirement Savings Update

 My goal this year to contribute $10,500 to my retirement savings. I plan to contribute $5,500 to my Roth and $5,000 to my taxable brokerage account. 

For March I contributed $1,270 to my retirement account. That brings my total contributions for 2018 to $3,270! Only $2,230 more to go to fully fund my Roth for the year.  I hope to be max it out no later than May of this year (maybe April if I can scrounge up some extra money).  Once those contributions are complete I will contribute $5,000 to my taxable brokerage account.

In case you were wondering (and I would because I am a nerd ), I have been tracking my retirement contributions for the year.  They are as follows:

1/15/18    $1,390
2/15/18    $610
3/15/18    $1,270

 How are you doing with your retirement contributions for the year?  Frankly, I feel pretty blessed to be able to put any money towards retirement.  I feel even more blessed that I should be able to max out my Roth in May (less than halfway through the year).  If I receive some of my travel voucher reimbursements in April (I have over $1300 outstanding) I may pull some money out of those to finish out my Roth Contributions in April. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

I'm Back!

and I am tired.  I had a week long trip leaving last Sunday (3/4) and returning this past Saturday(3/10). (It was over a 6 hour drive each way)  I still have not caught up on all my sleep yet.  I was so busy that I couldn't really do my work while on the trip, so now I am behind at work. 

The good news is that I received my tax return yesterday morning!  It only took about 10 or 11 days from the date I filed until the date it was deposited in my account!  I now have $1,184 to put towards replacing my 15 year old mattress and bedroom furniture.  I think that brings the total I have saved up to about $1,700 dollars.  (I need to update my assets and liabilities page). 

I'll have to write more later, as I need to rush to get ready for work.  Happy Thursday Everyone!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Lowered cell phone bill!

Can you believe that it is already March?  It's going to be another one of those years where it is summer before we know it.

Last month, I worked a bit towards my yearly goals.  I put $610 towards retirement, I have been walking at least 4 times a week, I have been using mturk, I did something new by leaving a tip for the hotel cleaning staff (I had never done that before) and I put an extra $397 towards my mortgage payment.

More or most importantly, I got the cell phone bill down by $40- it is now $208 for 4 lines! One more change and the bill will be down to $170 a month (which hopefully will take place in the next couple of months).  You don't know how great that is because when I took over paying the cell phone bill from my sister (we live together and share expenses) it was $372 a month.  In the last 2 years I have gotten the bill down almost $200!!! (Just a note- I know the cell phone bill is higher than most, but we do have Verizon as it has the best coverage for our area and we pay extra for access to the navigation app as we both travel a great deal for work.  It is nice to have an app to guide us through unfamiliar places when sometimes the rental cars don't have navigation systems. I also don't have to worry about whether I remembered to bring my old, old GPS unit with me ). 

This month I would like to:
1. Contribute to my retirement account.
2. Go to a new restaurant and visit a new city.
3. Pay extra on my mortgage.

4. Finish a book.

What are your goals for the month?