Monday, December 29, 2008

Love Affairs

The more I think about it, the more this feels like the end of a personal relationship. Like the first time I had my heart broken, I'm determined to make this teach me to recognize true love. In that vein, the best cure for a broken heart (I've learned) is to find someone new.

I need to continue my training while I search for a new job - which could be awhile, in this economy. So for the meantime I'm volunteering at two places: the Center for Democracy & Technology and at a startup called Loopt. I know people at these places, but the reality is that when you're volunteering your time, who's going to turn you away?

In addition to the training, these activities keep me from having too much time to think about my situation. When I was searching for a job at a firm, I couldn't count the number of times people shook their heads and warned me, "It's really, really competitive." I did it anyway.

Which is a little disturbing: Now, everyone keeps telling me I'll find something! But they're my friends, my family. When I listen to the news and glimpse the numbers, I see I'm in the same place, seeking the same impossibility. And I'll do it anyway.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Waking From the Dream

The economic crisis hit home for me. At the firm there were rumors of an announcement last week, but it never came. On Monday, two partners swept into my office, and I knew.

I was laid off.

They emphasized that it was not personal, that everyone really liked me and my work product. It makes sense; I was the only first year in the IP group, and because they made cuts across all departments...

I've never lost a job before. If you've read any of these posts you know how I felt about working there; I was living my dream. This felt like being served divorce papers by someone I was in love with: I felt shocked, hurt, lost.

I believe them when they say it wasn't personal, but I still feel ashamed. It's been really hard telling my family and friends; I feel like I have an infectious disease. I didn't realize how much of my self-worth was wrapped up in this job.

The only person I've been feeling sorrier for besides myself is my SO. He has to deal with me and feel all my pain, without any of the autonomy or soothing self-pity. I've tried to spare him from the tears, but I can't pretend to be happy. At times I feel like I'm having a nightmare: everything's horrible and impossible and I can't wake up.

But I'm climbing out of the abyss. I'm gathering the old strings of my network and updating my resume. I know eventually I'll get another job, and the economy will get better, and I'll live my dream again - a new dream. And someday I will look back on this and think, 'What an amazing opportunity I was presented with.'

Friday, December 12, 2008

Voluntary, Collective, Delicious

EFF is "cautiously optimistic" about rumors that Warner Music maybe exploring the long-awaited collective licensing model for music file-sharing on college campuses (which I've gushed about).

Universities would pay Choruss, a new nonprofit collecting society, in exchange for an end to the "John Doe" subpoenas seeking student identities, DMCA notices, lawsuits against students, and legislation mandating copyright surveillance of campus networks. Students who pay will be free to download whatever they like, using whatever software they like, in whatever format they like (and presumably keep it all when they graduate, since there would be no way to claw back DRM-free MP3s). The monies collected would be divided up among artists and rightsholders, based on relative popularity. The rest of the details are still to be determined, including whether it would be a mandatory fee for all students, or an opt-in fee (complete with continued lawsuits for those who fail to pay?). It's also not clear what the fee would be, although those familiar with the talks suggest less than $5 per student per month.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Law in Motion

My firm is moving to a new building in February. Currently we're in two buildings, and we're moving to a Google-esq complex with gym, cafeteria, outdoor pool. Amenities aside, the goal is for all of us to be in one building. It's amazing how proximity affects relationships, even on this scale: it's a lovely 5 minute walk to the other building, yet I'm significantly closer to the folks in my building than the other.

Because the lease on the building I'm in runs out before the other building, we're moving over to the other building for a spell. It's a tight fit: I, for example, am sharing a corner conference room with a fellow 1st year. My firm is pretty unique in that everyone - from summer associate to partner - has about the same size office.

Until now. As my bunkmate noted, "At least we can say we're the first ones in [Firm]'s history to have a corner office."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Fine Print and Qualified Assertions

I'm pretty fond of website feedback (eg, my Squeaky Wheel segment on my other blog). Now that I'm working with websites, it warms my heart to see how responsive they are to their users, especially early adopters. One of my clients contacted me very urgently to request that we add a Creative Commons licensing scheme to their Terms of Service. Users can almost always slap CC licenses on their content if they want, even if the website Terms are silent, but this guy was insistent. His users were complaining that some other site had it in their Terms.... I wasn't sure what amazed me more: that users were demanding Creative Commons or that they actually read the Terms of Use.

The other day I had a meeting with the corporate team on a financing, to report back on the findings of our diligence.

"So I've gone through everything you gave me..." I began. The partner interrupted me, laughing. "Spoken like a true lawyer," he said.