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09 June 2009 @ 11:01 am
Yesterday, after a rousing oral argument focusing on whether the CAN SPAM Act is unconstitutionally vague and whether local community standards or a new national standard should be applied to determine if this particular spam was obscene (I swear this is way cool to law geeks), I ate lunch with this man and my judge. Being in a federal courthouse during argument means that it's not especially remarkable to have lunch with a federal judge, but Judge Trott is remarkable and made me think again about something.

Judge Trott is one of the Original Highwaymen, a group with which he has been performing since he was in undergrad in New England (Wesleyan then Harvard Law). He went on to become a DA, a United States Attorney, and worked in the Justice Department before Reagan appointed him to the Ninth Circuit. I'm sure everyone can imagine the amount of work it takes to be that successful as a lawyer, but to maintain his music career at the same time (he told the BEST story about performing with Johnny Cash at the Idaho State Fair) is incredible. He also (I doubt this is a complete list) writes and speaks to groups about American History, raises orchids, sits on the board of his local symphony, and is the official photographer for Boise State wrestling. The man packs more into his day than I think I can imagine. Which leads me to my point...

I realized in high school that I'm happiest when I'm really busy. In college, I got my best grades the semester I took 21 credits (and filmed a tv show, a couple student films, etc.). But I also have realized that sometimes, I need down time. I need to wake up on a Saturday morning and have no plans. Then I can putter in my garden, go for a hike, go see a movie, or just laze on the couch. So what's the balance? Judge Trott was talking about how for him, being a musician AND a lawyer allowed him to be successful at both because he never burned out on either, he could retreat to the law or retreat to music and come back refreshed, grateful to have time to address the other part of his life. In what part of my life can I find renewal? Work has been almost all I do for so long now, how do I break out of it? What can I add in to make me a more complete human? And if I do add anything, how do I manage to do it well, succeed at work, make it to the gym, hold up my end of my relationship, keep the house reasonably clean, and still have some lazy Saturdays?

Also, being in San Francisco for the week is great. There are museums and great theater and fantastic restaurants. Even alone it's a lot of fun. I love walking to work and going out after without depending on a car. But, I am reminded why I don't want to live in a city this size ever again: the ubiquitous smell of urine, the sirens, the jack hammer outside my office. I wish a good compromise existed. Anyone know great cities with lots of high paying and rewarding jobs for lawyers? (No, I still haven't found a job for when my clerkship ends).