Tuesday, July 21, 2009

the new plan

I have been working very hard to incorporate my new lesson learned (about not being a counselor). It has been freeing and feels pretty gosh darn good to focus on what my actual job is. I have been able to get so much more done. For example, I received a call from a client's mother the other day. She called to talk because she was worried that her son seemed pretty depressed about his case. In the past, I would've returned that call. We wouldn't have talked about anything closely related to my job. It would have taken an hour to get her off the phone. Under my new rules, I haven't called the mother back and allowed her to dump her worries on me--because I am not her counselor. Instead, I used that time to keep new charges from being filed against this client. Emotional mess avoided. Job objectives completed. What a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

on being a public defender and not a counselor

I've often told people that if I hadn't become an attorney, I would have become a counselor. It seems that while having become an attorney, I never really gave up on being a counselor either. I have around 70 cases currently open, and I've been trying to be more than a counselor-at-law for my clients. This has been problematic. I do not have the time, energy, or emotional capacity to help my clients deal with their emotional problems along with their legal ones. But there I was, chugging away, trying to do both jobs even though I was only appointed by the courts for one. Investing myself emotionally into the outcome of every case is no way to practice law or to live I found out. I can't do it anymore. And I won't. So there.