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The New Girl

The New Girl

You may have seen me around here in the last week or so as a new contributor to OT. It was suggested that I take some time to tell you a bit about myself, but for me, that’s either a paragraph or a book, so I will do my best to hit the high points:

I am from the beautiful, beleaguered state of West Virginia. I grew up in the sticks, well below the poverty line, in a dysfunctional family with all the stereotypical white-trash trappings: junk cars, guns, alcoholism, and abuse. Fortunately for me, I was born with a penchant for learning, an overinflated sense of my own potential, and the wherewithal to rise above my raising.

At various points of my childhood, I aspired to be an artist, an astronomer, and a paleontologist. The ambition that outlasted all these was to be a writer, something I enjoyed and something for which (I was told) I had some talent. Ever the pragmatic one, however, I knew I would need a more stable career if I wanted to live better in adulthood than I had growing up. So, in recognition of the other talent I was told I had, arguing, I sought an easy degree in English and hurried on to law school. Over the course of 14 years,  I’ve been a prosecutor, a defense attorney, and general litigator. I now work in state government, where I spend my days offering meticulous legal analysis to bureaucrats who disregard anything that does not support their preferred outcome.

In addition to politics and social issues, I have an avid interest in true crime, and spend a good portion of my free time researching criminality. I am decidedly liberal, in ways and for reasons that I am sure will manifest themselves in my writing. You can expect my writing to include musings on the controversies of the day and current events, particularly relevant legal issues.

When I’m not writing or lawyering, I love cooking, reading, and “running” 5Ks. I have great affinity for dogs, turtles, and all things purple. I am a proud ginger.

While I enjoy being a lawyer (and will embrace any and all lawyer jokes you want to throw my way), it is great to be re-immersed in my long lost avocation of writing. I’m thrilled to be here sharing, defending, and reconsidering my ideas with all of you.

 


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Em was one of those argumentative children who was sarcastically encouraged to become a lawyer, so she did. She is a proud life-long West Virginian, and, paradoxically, a liberal. In addition to writing about society, politics and culture, she enjoys cooking, podcasts, reading, and pretending to be a runner. She will correct your grammar. You can find her on Twitter.

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35 thoughts on “The New Girl

  1. I now work in state government, where I spend my days offering meticulous legal analysis to bureaucrats who disregard anything that does not support their preferred outcome.

    The bureaucrats’ preferred outcomes or their elected bosses? :)

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  2. I now work in state government, where I spend my days offering meticulous legal analysis to bureaucrats who disregard anything that does not support their preferred outcome.

    Executive or legislative branch? I spent some time as a “member of the permanent non-partisan staff for the Joint Budget Committee of the Colorado General Assembly.” Highly educational time it was, too. Good that I had developed thick skin in a previous career.

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    • Executive branch.
      Yes indeed, it is educational, and not always in positive ways. It is disheartening to confirm firsthand the cliche that hard work and competence are not worth much in government. One may have a rock solid legal argument but will get nowhere, if the heart of the issue is a power struggle.

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      • I have never been able to decide which is more frustrating: (1) have my two hours in front of the committee to recommend a bunch of changes to a department’s budget, with all the options considered and the details nailed down and the department on board, and the committee ignores it and does something entirely different, or (2) same situation, but before I can start someone on the committee says, “Move staff recommendations for the department” and they adopt all of my recommendations and I don’t get a chance to say anything.

        At least with the Colorado Joint Budget Committee, they had almost always read the briefing materials the night before the meeting.

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        • I’m GC for a state agency (within a larger agency). My agency oversees six smaller divisions, for each of which I provide advice and support, so I am usually working on multiple fires at once. I did write some legislation this year and it passed, so that was cool. But there is a lot of BS intra-bureau power struggles that make it frustrating.

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  3. Hi Em –

    I too am very glad to have you join. Plus having another person of purple, and one of such high status, is a great leap forward.

    (p.s. I certainly hope that your love of “all things purple” extends at a minimum toleration to violet, the sadly monochromatic lesser neighbor of the proudly multichromatic purple sensu stricto)

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  4. We might differ a little bit when it comes to criticizing “bureaucrats,” although your clarifications in the comments suggest to me you’re referring to higher level directors and not necessarily any- and everyone who works in a bureaucracy.

    At any rate, it’s nice to have you on board and I look forward to reading more of your posts!

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