The Life of a Lawyer

Sep 28, 2021

You’ve seen them on TV. Commanding a courtroom and yelling “OBJECTION!” with every tense moment. But, how much is reality like tv when it comes to being a lawyer? On this week’s edition of the Lady Lawyer League Podcast, we dive into the reality of being a lawyer and how they manage the problems of dressing right, dealing with emergencies, and how preparation is everything!


Tracy Hightower-Henne: So on today’s podcast, we’re going to talk about what it’s like to be a lawyer and a day in the life of us. Susan and Tracy,

Susan Reff: A day in the life of

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Being a lady lawyer in Nebraska.

Susan Reff: Yes.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And we have all the interesting hats that we wear to. That’s not only lawyer, but managing partner and the personal life of each of us to. That’s really important when we think about self care as well.

Susan Reff: Yeah, the I think people have a misconception of what it’s like to be a lawyer because of TV and movies. So we’re going to kind of dispel all of that today.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yes. And I think that if I could be a TV lawyer, I really like the idea of the Lincoln lawyer drive around in the car. Do all those cool things. So that’s my idea.

Susan Reff: Like, it’s the Lincoln lawyer.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, with. Is that a movie? Yes. I haven’t seen it. Who is it, Matt? Matthew McConaughey, yes, thank you.

Susan Reff: Well, and then he did the link. He does the Lincoln commercials that are creepy,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Probably because of that movie.

Susan Reff: Well, Lincoln the car or Lincoln Abraham Lincoln, I don’t know the reference.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It’s Lincoln. The car is the reference to the movie because he drives around in his Lincoln, huh? So anyways, that I think if I had to pick a TV lawyer, that would be one of them. There’s more, though.

Susan Reff: So what is it about that that you would you like? You would want to be?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Just his days were interesting. Every day it was sort of like you didn’t really know what you were going to get. Although I guess that’s kind of what today is for us.

Susan Reff: Like every day, yeah, you never know what you’re going to get. Yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Speaking of self care. So I am. Where are we speaking of self-care? Well, now we are. So last night, I got to start packing for a scuba diving trip. And if you know me, that’s my super love and haven’t got to do it for about 18 months now because of COVID. Right? Although, with the exception of last summer, we dove in the Atlantic Iowa Rock Quarry to finish some certification. I don’t really count that, although it counts towards my number of dives, but it was awful and it was freezing and it was about five feet of visibility, all while having to complete our master dive course, which meant we had to literally like rescue our partner. So you had to like, drag your partner up onto shore and then pretend to give CPR.

Susan Reff: So that was the water cold? Or is it just was it cold air or is it always cold there?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yes, the water’s freezing. It was in August in Iowa, so it’s very hot. So here you are, putting on a seven mil wetsuit, which is very thick because once you get in the water, it’s freezing, but you’re wearing the seven mill wetsuit in the super hot, humid air. And like, you want to die

Susan Reff: Well, you’re supposed to pee inside your wetsuit to warm up, right?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Secret IP inside my wetsuit. Some people, I think it’s this thing where people are like, Yeah, that’s so gross. No one ever pees in their wetsuit. And then you’re like, You clearly are being in your wetsuit because there is no bathroom anywhere near anything.

Susan Reff: So forever ago in another life, I did triathlons, and I wore wetsuits most of the time for the swimming. And they were like, they were like, basically told you like, that’s what you should do because then your body is like, warmed up to four.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Was it your own wetsuit?

Susan Reff: Yeah, I owned one.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So I do.

Susan Reff: I still own it. Oh, you

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Do? Yeah. Is it a shorty?

Susan Reff: No, it’s long legs and like a tank top style, like no sleeves. So it’s it’s meant for triathlons. It’s like the suck you in, like aerodynamic style.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, got it! I hate wet suits. They’re awful to put on. They obviously do a good job of keeping you warm. So I usually just rent one. And then oftentimes people in our group are like, You don’t rent the wetsuits. You know what people do in those? And I’m like, Yep, because I’m going to do the same

Susan Reff: Thing if people are super grossed out by like urine.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And by the time you’re peeing in the ocean to in your wet suit, it’s like super diluted water

Susan Reff: And what’s going in your eyeballs and your mouth and your nose from the ocean. Water is probably worse like pollution wise, right? Yes.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So we are going to cause a smell. Covid isn’t the greatest there, but it’s pretty low capacity. We’re going to stay low. They’re requiring masks everywhere, but we’re just at a point where we need to dive and I will get my one hundredth lifetime dive. Oh, cool on this trip, so I’m really excited.

Susan Reff: You can just wear your scuba mask all the time instead of a COVID filter mask type thing, right?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It covers your eyes and your nose.

Susan Reff: But then and your mouth thing, right?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Like the mouth thing that’s hooked up to the tank?

Susan Reff: Yeah, just put that in your mouth.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Well, if it’s not hooked up to a tank, you can’t breathe.

Susan Reff: Oh, oh, shoot. Well, yeah, that would be bad. You could just wear the tank.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Ok, so that’s heavy.

Susan Reff: That wouldn’t work, right? Ok? Obviously, I’ve never been scuba diving and don’t know how all the equipment works, except the peeing in the wetsuit. I think I can clearly claim some expertise in this area.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Would you ever be interested in scuba diving?

Susan Reff: No, I don’t know. I don’t think so, I mean, I love water, I love water, like people are like, are you a mountain person or a water person? And I’m like a water person both. Well, I mean, the best, coolest thing would be water in the mountains, but that’s not very common, especially in North America. But yeah, I I don’t know. I and I love to swim, but and I know scuba diving is kind of I mean, you don’t have to be like a great swimmer to do it. It’s part of it. But right,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It’s the thing. Like, it’s one of those things where you can go on vacation and you can just snorkel and you don’t really need any byan or like testing and things. Yeah. So I think it’s one of those things like you have to really like because it’s some time commitment.

Susan Reff: Yeah, it’s yeah, addicting. And in my mind, well, and it’s an expensive hobby, and I already have an expensive hobby with mountain biking. So I think if I had two expensive hobbies, that’d be hard. So, you know, that’s maybe another reason

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And you just went out of town recently.

Susan Reff: I did. I I just took a really super quick little trip to Chicago with my son. We were there for three days. And you know, most of the vacations that we do as a family are either to see other family members or like nature, things like going to the lake or going camping or going hiking because that’s what we really like to do. But I also really think it’s a good idea to expose my son to living in a big city or being in a big city and like the differences. So I made him navigate like the minute we got off the plane, he had to navigate to the train. Now he’s never really had to figure out a train schedule. So I mean, I kind of helped him through that. But I was like, Here’s the deal.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You didn’t just like, make him do it like, I just stood

Susan Reff: There and we were ended up in Michigan. Yeah, no. Yeah, he he did some of the train navigation after a while. The thing that he couldn’t wrap his head around is you have to get on on the right side of the platform because he’s like, yes, the correct side, the right or the left, depending. I mean, he was like, Well, here’s the the state street station. And I was like, OK, which side do we have to get on? And he’s like, What do you mean? I’m like, Well, the, you know, train goes both ways.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And the train is not underground there. It’s right. It’s not a subway.

Susan Reff: They have the L and they have a subway, and then they have like commuter trains and stuff like that, too. We bought the, you know, the pass for the buses and the train, the train, the elevated train. But we didn’t end up on a bus or the subway because the subway line right by where we were staying was under construction, so they had actually rerouted everybody to the elevated train. I don’t know how that all works, but we did a lot of walking. We did a lot of sightseeing. We saw some friends that have a kid the same age as Jonathan that live in Chicago or near Chicago. So that was really fun. You know, I said to him, I said, Well, what do you think of the big city? He goes, It’s so loud. I was like, because it was constantly like sirens and honking lots of car honking, which he doesn’t

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Hear that right except for it from you. I think you’re honk honker sometimes.

Susan Reff: Well, I’m a honker. If people don’t go when they’re had a light, I’m like, Get moving.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Do you lay on your horn there? You just happen.

Susan Reff: No, I just give a tap. Now, if people do something dumb, then they get they get the lay on the horn thing. But I mean, I think my road rage is contained. It’s gotten a lot better. The older I’ve gotten and I think having a child in the car, you’re like, OK, I can’t, I can’t say the names and say the things and all that that I want to say. So, yeah, and just I think I’ve calmed down a little bit as I’ve gotten older. So day in the life of a lawyer, day in the life of Tracy Day and the life of Susan.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, and I think that’s a good disclaimer to that. A day in the life of a lawyer is so varied, you know, depending on what kind of lawyer, what city you’re in and what kind of practice you’re doing. So disclaimer? We can only talk about our own experiences.

Susan Reff: Yes, we will tell you from our own perspective and then how it’s different from the TV or the movies, the the TV, the TV lawyer.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So obviously, well, from my experience, my day as a lawyer literally can be so different on a Monday versus a Tuesday versus a Wednesday every single day, it can be very different. But there’s a lot of things that I think are similar in what happens on a day to day basis. And I think for me, it’s a lot of thinking about what is my intention for the day, like, what is it that I need to get done today? What is it that I want to get done today and what can wait till another day? And a lot of that has to do with like what hats we wear, right? Am I do I need to focus on legal representation this week and like casework? Or do I need to focus on being a business owner and doing strategic planning as a managing partner? Or do I need to work on some personal things and make sure bills are paid? Things like that, because we still have to do those things too.

Susan Reff: I think it’s interesting. You know, I know some people say, well, Wednesdays are really slow at my office that these are people who aren’t lawyers. Or they’ll say a certain day of the week is their busiest day because they kind of have a thing that reoccurs every like, every Tuesday. We do x, it’s really busy and I’m like, That is not how it is for us. I mean, I think sometimes Fridays, especially Fridays in the afternoons, can be like crazy busy around here. The phone is ringing off the hook. People are having their like before the weekend crisis,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Especially before a holiday weekend. Yeah, what happens if I go to pick up my kid and my co parent won’t give them to me? Yeah, I don’t know. See what happens and then call me on Monday.

Susan Reff: I know and people call and they’ll say, You know, I’m supposed to pick up my son tonight, and my ex is telling me they’re not going to bring him. And I’m like, you know, like, they think we can get something done in the moment, too.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So, OK, I’ll meet you over there and I’ll help you with the pickup. How about that? And I’m going to charge you eight thousand an hour. Take your pick or you want to just call me on Monday. Let me know how it goes.

Susan Reff: Yeah, yeah. So I think a lot of our our our day kind of is putting out fires, right?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Like, yes, and is it a spark or a forest fire? That’s the difference.

Susan Reff: Yeah, I had a gal who was doing a console with me, and she she was asking me questions and she said, You know, please tell me how your firm handles emergencies. And I, I had to think for a while and I said, you know, and I decided, you know, in this moment, I’m going to be completely blunt with her. I said, we’re pretty much of the opinion that there isn’t an emergency. Yeah, I mean, an emergency, a legal emergency is like. People are divorced, they have a newborn baby, and the one parent gets arrested and there’s no one to take care of the baby because the other parent is like in another state like, that’s an emergency, right? But that never happens.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But there’s also not much that we can even do about that. Like, we’d have to file something in court or maybe CPS gets involved.

Susan Reff: And yeah. And I think the when we do solve some of those issues, it’s not because we’re lawyers. It’s just because we’re people like, like, is there a neighbor, a friend, a family member that can help out? Like, that’s just like normal common sense thinking, not lawyer thinking.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I’m going to guess that that woman found a list of questions on Ask Jeeves, ask your initial divorce. Consult lawyer. These 10 questions

Susan Reff: How would I? How does your firm handle emergencies? And I mean, I then said to her, just what you said, like the reason we can’t really say something as an emergency because we can rush off to court. But if the judge isn’t available, if the opposing party isn’t available, you know, like schedules are a huge part of how we get things done and it’s dependent on everyone involved in the case, not just us.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So what’s your in your mind like? What type of day is the day that you really like? Like, is it the day that’s a trial? Or is it the day that you have, like a couple hearings? Like what is your favorite type of day look like?

Susan Reff: I think my favorite type of day would be a day where I have an opportunity to get a little bit of everything done, like the emails that we get are insane, right? I mean, I think,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: What do you mean? The five hundred emails you get every day are insane.

Susan Reff: I know and and I’m really disciplined in that I only use my work email for work things. And then I have a private email for like when I order stuff online or like communicating with friends and just my work email alone, you know? Yeah, it can be three hundred and four hundred emails a day sometimes, and just weeding through that and figuring out what’s important that takes forever. But then there’s the phone calls, you know, returning calls to clients, calling clients, calling attorneys that type of thing. And then it’s if I don’t have court that day, generally, I’ll have something coming up that I have to get ready for. And then there’s documents coming in that we have to review and react to. Ok, do I need to draft something? Do I need to file something? Do I need to make a phone call because of this? So I like a day where I get to do a little bit of all of the stuff that we do. I’ll be honest, I don’t love like the marathon trial days where it’s like all day and trial. Not that I don’t enjoy going to court, but that’s not my favorite day, I would say.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, I definitely like the days where they end and I feel super productive, like, Oh, I just got a lot of stuff done. I marked stuff off my task list. I have a list mostly in my phone that is just really great to say. Got that done, got that done. But I actually really like the trial days. I personally, and I think most of all, the attorneys in our office really find the benefit to helping our clients settle the cases and the ones that don’t settle and you have to go to trial is is kind of a nice balance to like being able to have some court time. And I think everyone here prepares really well for trial, and I feel like I probably over prepare. So once I get to trial, I feel like super comfortable. I’ve overprepared. I know what’s in every document. I almost have every page number exactly where I need to site to. And I think it’s a really fun feeling to go into court being that well prepared and, you know, kind of showing up the legal community like, yeah, look at how good you can do this job too. And having the judges like appreciate the level of preparedness that any of the attorneys in our office are doing.

Susan Reff: Yeah, I I agree with that. I do find a lot of satisfaction in being prepared. And you know, one of my legal mentors said there’s nothing worse than losing because you were less prepared. Yes, and he made it our office motto. This is when I was a public defender that we would always be more prepared than the other side, you know, and you have to prepare for like 15 different contingencies when you’re going to trial, right? Like, well, if they take this path, I have to be able to respond, but maybe they’re going to do this, or maybe they’re going to do that. But you know, I I had a trial, a two day trial divorce trial earlier this year with an attorney who’s. About the same level of experience as me. And, you know, we come in and, you know, trials are so much paperwork. I think in this case we had one hundred and twenty exhibits between the two of us, you know? So it’s like bank statements and credit card statements and house things and documents and pictures and text messages. And our office, we make binders and we tab everything and, you know, keep everything nice and tidy and literally this attorney the entire time was walking circles around her table like trying to get her stuff organized because I was able because I had an outline and I had it tabbed and I had a notebook, I was able to go exhibit one blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Exhibit two blah blah blah, blah blah. And she is like, like a squirrel. And I didn’t really notice this because I’m really focused, and my client was sitting at the table and she was like, I think she got like 400 steps in, you know, just walking around her table. And she didn’t have things in a notebook, like a binder or like a really neat stack. I was just and and I think it actually made my my client more anxious watching her.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: She should have been just more watching you because it should have made her feel so much better that you were so much more prepared and well.

Susan Reff: And I think she was kind of thinking like, what’s going on? Like, Why is she running around the table like that?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah.

Susan Reff: So that kind of unknown that like what’s going to happen next?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Well, and then that idea, though, to when you have your your mentor telling you you should always be more prepared than the other person, it’s kind of an easy thing to do in the divorce world, sadly. You know, to be more prepared because we. Are often more prepared than the opposing counsel in some cases.

Susan Reff: Yeah, and I think you just kind of like gave away a small secret that really shouldn’t be a secret, but like going to trial in in family law, there’s not really surprises. So, I mean, if someone’s presenting a piece of evidence, we’ve we’ve we were supposed to have seen it before trial, now sometimes that doesn’t happen and there’s ways we can deal with that. But for the most part, you know, we know we’re going to be talking about certain assets and debts and all of that, and we know how to handle those things when they come up. You know, there’s not usually like a smoking gun. Unfortunately, that’s like where TV, right TV makes it seem like there’s going to be that duh moment.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I have.

Susan Reff: Yeah, yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Judges sometimes just get annoyed with our objections that are totally reasonably made. But we don’t get to say them that dramatically. Like, you hear that in TV.

Susan Reff: Well, and in TV, they like they’re sitting down and then they stand up and they, like, put their hand in the air and they’re like, I object. And in like, real life, you’re sitting there at the table with your like legal pad and your notebooks and you’re like, Objection. Yes. And the judge is like,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You know, did I even hear you? Did you say

Susan Reff: Something well, and they and they just like and then and the flow a lot of times just keeps going. It’s not like this like know moment where it has to be dealt with.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You don’t get a commercial break cliffhanger at that point.

Susan Reff: What’s going to happen? Yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So I think the other thing too, that’s interesting that I hear you talk about is the things that have nothing to do with being a lawyer that we have to think about like our clothing.

Susan Reff: So, you know, life has changed a lot since COVID, but like before COVID, when when we were in court, you know, there was less telephonic hearings, less video hearings, et cetera. I literally would look at my camera or my camera, my calendar, you know, like I turned my alarm off, look at my calendar and be like, OK, do I need to wear a suit today? Or can I be more casual today? And you know, the days of wearing suits, you know, ninety five percent of the time, I think, are totally gone for

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Us have dwindled. Yeah, I think it’s still so true that though, you know, you dress how you want to feel or how you want to be perceived. And I still think there’s a level of professionalism that we always have to be cognizant of, you know, in our career, but also as women attorneys, too, that we talk about this a lot, that it’s more difficult to be business casual than to be casual or professional. Like that middle ground is so hard. Yes, because we can throw on a suit and you know, the pants and the jacket probably match and you throw a shirt on, right? But then you also think about those things like, what’s my comfort level of this suit? Like, Oh, OK, I wear this suit for an hour, but an all day trial. That one’s not going to work.

Susan Reff: Yes.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And if you are having to circle the table and getting your four hundred steps in, like what kind of shoes are you wearing?

Susan Reff: Yes. Yeah. When when I was in Chicago, we went to the, you know, Sears Tower, which is now called the Willis Tower, and they have a lot of corporate offices in that building. And there’s a food court. And we were sitting in the food court eating lunch, and I saw this. These two people come down and they must have they must office in the building and they look like they were about like thirty thirty five. And they were both dressed very, very nicely, very business, you know, suits. But the woman had the highest heels on I had seen in business in the business world in a long time. I mean, she probably had four inch heels on. They were very nice. They definitely looked like a business shoe. They they were not like a platform shoe or anything.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: They were of bling on them.

Susan Reff: There was no bling. They were actually like nude pumps that were nice. I mean, she looked really nice, but I was just like, Man, I wonder if she’s on her feet a lot, you know, or if she just sits at a desk all day, right?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So I the one story that has provided me with some PTSD in my life is when you and I first met in our very first office and we weren’t partners yet. We our office was across the street from the courthouse, and you basically just had to go through a crosswalk to get to the courthouse. Yeah. And I remember I was wearing the skirt and I’m a nylon wearer with skirts because all the reasons I actually think it’s more comfortable and some of it has to do with professionalism. But I was wearing the skirt and I was walking back from court, back to the office, and I was walking across the crosswalk and it was fairly busy. There were people walking around and it felt pretty breezy on my backside. Oh, this is really strange. Like, why is it feeling so airy on my butt area? And I kind of like patted my butt and I was like, Oh my God, this. Lit ripped like all the way up, you know, exposing my butt. Oh, and so I ended up totally mortified in the middle of this crosswalk and I turned my skirt to the side. Well, that’s

Susan Reff: A good idea

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And held, you know, held it on the side. So then and I think I recall I had to I had a little sewing kit in my office and I sewed the slip back down because I didn’t have anything else in my office and I think I had to go to court again. Oh my

Susan Reff: Gosh, that’s

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Horrible. So I fixed the skirt. I’m not a very good SOHR, but I did whatever temporary job I needed to do. And I think it’s that that experience that, you know, you always need to have a couple extra pieces of clothing in your office.

Susan Reff: Well, and I mean, I think people, sometimes the lawyers are portrayed on TV and in movies as being like kind of really powerful people who are, you know, kind of elite, maybe. And I think that just shows we’re we are no different than other people in the in the sense that our skirts rip. You know, we don’t want to wear high heels all day. If we’re going to be on our feet. We have, you know, we think about comfort and we have to balance all that stuff with getting the work done to that we have

Tracy Hightower-Henne: To do and we need an emergency sewing kit.

Susan Reff: Yes. Yeah. Now now you just have extra clothes, right? Because you’re like, There’s no way I’m going to sew that up.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Every time I put a new suit on, though, I just picture sitting down and then the the butt seam splitting. But so far, it’s never happened again. I think I mean, that was a very new lawyer, so it was probably a very less expensive skirt that for whatever reason, that happened.

Susan Reff: Yeah, I the clothing thing is is really interesting. And I think it’s like highlighted by the fact, you know, we’re women. And so we are judged more on how we look, how we dress, what we’re wearing, how it fits us. All of that. And. You know, in my mind, my dad always said when I was a new lawyer, he’s like, you know, we talked about this like, Oh, you know, it’s expensive to wear suits, you know, and I only had to. It’s expensive to not fall out of your chair

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And having chair problems right now.

Susan Reff: And he said, you know, and my dad never had come and seen me in court or anything. But he, you know, got the picture of it and he said, you know, you want people to walk in and be able to say, like, that person’s a lawyer and you know, he’s like a suit. Is a lawyer uniform? In a sense, yes. So I always kind of wanted to stand out from just the general people in the courtroom by wearing an as nice of a suit as I could, right?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And I think as women to still in a male dominated industry and as a young lawyer, you walk into court, you want people to know that you’re a lawyer and for a period of time until people know you, they may say, Are you the client name? And you have to just kindly correct them until they kind of start to recognize you’re the lawyer. But unless you’re dressing the part, you may always get that too.

Susan Reff: Yeah, yeah, that’s true.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So I think, you know, when we talk about a day in the life of a lawyer for me, I really like the variety and I I was thinking about some of the most memorable days that I’ve had so far, and I really enjoy doing some of the things that are actually high stress, you know, because that level of preparedness that you can have. And I remember doing a lot of oral arguments in some of my earlier days and haven’t had them for a while. But I think oral arguments are a thing that you leave feeling like, Oh, I did the best I could do, and that was really great. I don’t think I’d want to do that every day.

Susan Reff: But yeah, when I think about oral arguments, I think of that game at the Carnival where you have like the gun and the targets like pop up really fast and you have to not only like, be ready to shoot that target, but you have to be like accurate and hit it because in an oral argument, you know you’ve prepared your case. But this is usually there’s usually a panel of judges, you know, and they could ask you anything. Yes, they could pull some obscure thing they could say, Well, Tracy, tell me about this case that you didn’t cite that the other side didn’t cite that they pulled out of their own research that they think relates to the case. And if you’re not familiar with it, you know, like, how do you respond? And that’s a lot about being a lawyer to write like we have a ton of thinking on our feet. Yeah, every day.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And a lot of it also, too is being OK with saying, I don’t know. And instead of making up an answer and. And trying to like, you know, passageway through something, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Susan Reff: And I think that’s something that you and I probably with some experience are doing, but maybe on day one we weren’t doing right. We weren’t we weren’t willing to admit we didn’t know.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I remember that I still will never forget before we were partners. You asked me to cover a hearing for you and maybe we were partners. It was this after we partnered.

Susan Reff: I’m not sure the story. I can’t read your mind yet.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Ok, I’m working on it. I need to cover a hearing. And it was a criminal hearing and I wasn’t doing any criminal work at that point. And so you described exactly what would happen. And so I went to the hearing and you said, now the judge is going to say this and I want you to say this. So I did that. The judge is going to say this and I want you to say this, then this thing may happen. So if this thing happens, you say this. And so I go to the jail courthouse and I stand at the podium and I was super nervous because everyone knew everyone and no one knew me. And then I’m just like, I don’t know where to go and what to do. Ok, so I do it. And then the judge asked me the question that you didn’t tell me the judge would ask, and it was, So do you want to waive your preliminary hearing on behalf of your client? And I was like, Oh shit, in this moment, I was like, Susan did not tell me this because I had written down word for word and it was in front of me what you said. And then I thought, in my mind, if I don’t waive this hearing, is it happening right now because this certainly wasn’t going to happen? I’m not prepared to have a hearing right now. So I said, yes, we’re waiving and I came back and I told you

Susan Reff: And you were like, what? You just waived

Tracy Hightower-Henne: A preliminary hearing. No, I didn’t tell you to do that. And I said, Well, you didn’t tell me she was going to ask that question.

Susan Reff: I know well that. I mean, that was completely my fault for not not talking about that part of it.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But I think in that moment, I mean, the lesson for me was, I don’t know what else I should have said, and I don’t know if in that moment I could have said, like, I don’t know the answer to that. Can I get back to you? I don’t know that I could have said that.

Susan Reff: Yeah, you know, and I think there’s this idea that lawyers are perfect to write that we know the answer to everything, right, that we are completely scripted and and we’re not.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So was that before we partnered or after, I think that

Susan Reff: Was before, I think it was before. I mean, or maybe like right at the very beginning.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So you so if it was before then you still decided to partner with me, even though I messed that up. Well, I

Susan Reff: Messed it up because I didn’t prepare

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You, I know, but I felt like I messed it up. And I’ll never forget that because in that moment I was like, Oh, cool, I cover this hearing. For Susan, this is that was really fun to do something different. And I go back and report back to you and you’re like, what? You just fucked that up. I was like, Oh, great.

Susan Reff: In the in the grand scheme of the world, probably not having a preliminary hearing wasn’t that big of a deal in that case, right? Because I don’t even remember

Tracy Hightower-Henne: What case was like 10 years ago. So anyways, I think the story is the a day in the life of a lawyer, or at least Susan and Tracy is. It’s so varied. Some of it’s exciting. Some of it’s boring, but it’s very different than TV.

Susan Reff: Yeah, I mean, we’re not, you know, the lawyer TV shows, they have like fancy lunches and they’re drinking wine and bourbon in the afternoon and whatever

Tracy Hightower-Henne: On a deck. Yeah, their high rise we get. We like to get La Mesa for lunch every once in a while, so we get some nacho bar. That’s our fancy lunch. And and sometimes we get a bottle of red wine and at four 30, tell everyone to start drinking

Susan Reff: Like once a year. Stuff like that happens. Yeah, yeah, nothing. I mean, we are regular everyday people that and I want people to see us that way because it’s we can do a better job for people. If people view us as approachable and ask someone that they can open up to and tell, tell us, you know, everything we would need to know about their case. Yes. So not like TV.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, not like TV. Although we could. We don’t smoke cigars and we aren’t at the office until like midnight. I think that happens on TV all the time, like every day.

Susan Reff: Yeah. I mean, there’s there’s times when people are here after hours or on the weekends, like

Tracy Hightower-Henne: At six thirty.

Susan Reff: Yeah, but I don’t. I mean, that’s not the norm. And I think that that’s the culture that we’ve created is, you know, we don’t expect people to work. Twenty four, seven, four for us, you know, it’s good to have that balance of non-work time.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, self care.

Announcer: So it’s now time for your random moment of nonsense on the Lady Lawyer League podcast.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Show me the ropes. Oh my god, if you ever go to Chicago or anyone, they have one, you have to go to the Nutella café. Yes. What does that mean? Tell me the story on podcasts.

Susan Reff: Ok, tell you about

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It, so I can be like, What? Ok, are we ready? You’re good. Ok?

Susan Reff: Good morning, says hi.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I’m going to guess that Matt’s hung over.

Susan Reff: I don’t get that. He drinks a lot. Oh, oh, OK. Because he’s Mr. Healthy now.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh yeah.

Susan Reff: So he like, he said, the only thing he eats the cereal and soup.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It’s funny, though, if we talk shit about Matt right now, he’s probably going to hear it later. I don’t think we’re talking shit. I know. But if we get into that

Susan Reff: Realm, we love Matt. I mean, he’s the best podcast producer ever.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Ok? Are we calling this a day in the life of Susan and Tracy?

Susan Reff: Yeah. As lawyers, it’s supposed to like the other hats we wear.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I think we should talk about all the hats, baseball hats, cowboy hats. Do you have a cowboy hat? No. Also, what’s the gender neutral of cowboy? I mean, cow person is not it. So you just have to say cowgirl or cowboy.

Susan Reff: I have never thought of it like how human, yeah, cow person, why is it cow person? Well, well, human. I mean, there’s a lot of people that argue that human is not correct anymore.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Right? Thanks for listening to our average day, which isn’t always so average. And hopefully you found it interesting to kind of hear what it’s like for us as lawyers, as women, lawyers, as entrepreneurs and all of the ripped skirt stories that we could share.

Susan Reff: And I’m going to watch the Lincoln lawyer now. Yes. See you later. Bye.

Announcer: Thank you for listening to the lady lawyer. Be sure to like and subscribe. Anywhere you get your podcasts, if you would like to learn more about our firm, Hightower-Reff Law, please visit our website at HR Law We’ll see you next week.

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