Today, E and I slowly walked towards the house after law firm #2 retreat.
It was completely different than law firm #1 retreat, starting with the fact that it was really a string of events where people could come in and out as they pleased, so WAY more people attended because it wasn't really a retreat for anyone except the summers. It was also very different because they put the summers up in porn star rooms with roman pillars around the stairs leading to four person hot tubs and mirrors above the magic fingers beds. (Okay, so maybe I'm slightly exaggerating...)
Much like firm #1's retreat, I enjoyed the activities and meals on this retreat and took advantage of them to get to know people from the firm better. I laughed at funny stories, and did my best not to be the entertainingly drunk summer associate. It was a good, but exhausting weekend.
Our slow, tired trek towards the front door was punctuated by my instinctual reach into the mail box. There was a large envelope (!) from a writing competition I'd entered several months ago. I tore it open as we walked in the door and read "Congratulations!"
Apparently, the billions of petty revisions my advisor had required of my journal note were not in vain. I actually won a decent chunk of cash, and a free trip to go accept the award in DC. I'm in shock, actually. It's probably the biggest honor I've received in the course of this whole law thing and I really wasn't thinking anything could come of it. I sent that note into at least five competitions, spending plenty of cash on each one. With each one I figured, I already wrote the damn thing...why not spend $70 on copies and shipping?
Now, no doubt because others thought it was silly to spend that much to make paper copies of an electronic document, I'm about to be the proud recipient of recognition, cash, and a free trip. I can't completely believe it, but I'm thrilled. How cool is that?
So, the moral of the story is this: if you have to write a note for your journal (or a seminar, or whatever), get a faculty advisor, work a little harder than you would have without one, and do the annoying photocopying, fedexing, etc. to enter writing competitions. The more ridiculous, the better--it thins the competition. Do it! You just might be surprised.