The Balancing Act
As a working mother, most days I feel more like a gymnast living on the balance beam than a lawyer-I'm a solo practitioner, mom to three young kids, wife-and there are many days when I wonder why I try to do it all and whether it is all worth it.
Then there are days like last Friday when the answer was an unequivocal yes. My client, an LLC, was recently sued as a reach and apply defendant in federal court. The plaintiff, represented by one of the largest firms in the city, was seeking injunctive relief against the defendant (represented by someone old enough to be my dad) to prevent him from dissipating assets. My client ended up in this mess because the defendant owns a one-third interest in the LLC. A reach and apply motion is difficult to defeat because the standards in Massachusetts are virtually identical to a real estate attachment: If the plaintiff can show a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits and lack of sufficient security to satisfy a judgment, it wins the motion.
I scrambled to prepare my opposition. I worked late-we ate out-my husband put the kids to bed. I got an opposition together in two days. The day before the hearing the plaintiff and defendant each called me to tell me that they'd worked out an agreement on the preliminary injunction and that my client should agree to the reach and apply pursuant to the statutory language. I declined. My client very much wanted to be heard. I had at least one decent argument, and although I feared a scolding from the chief judge of the district who drew the case for being uncooperative, I figured I had nothing to lose.
I arrived at court to find a representative from the plaintiff, plus two of its attorneys, two attorneys for the defendant and me. While we waited for the judge, my stomach did its usual flip-flops, and I reviewed my arguments one more time. And then court was in session and it was my turn. I made my argument and I won. No reach and apply for my client.
I went home to relieve my sitter who had relieved my husband who had come home from work to watch two of our kids, since I don't usually work Fridays. We played with Play-Doh, and I walked to pick up my seven year old from school. On the walk home that Friday afternoon, I thought to myself, yes, it is all worth it-at least today.