Why did I have to mention the “Florida Bar 2013-2014” folder?
Remember yesterday, I told you I was an attorney. I am currently inactive due to incapacity. There was no misconduct and I was not disbarred. I was Baker Acted, which in Florida, means you are involuntarily committed to a hospital for psychiatric issues. Shrug. It happens. For me, the February 2013 admission was not my first or my last. I maintain I was still able to be a good lawyer despite my mental condition. In fact, I was a good lawyer because of my condition. I was bold. I didn’t take crap for anybody. And, I was creative. I could work the long hours with no stimulants. Just natural energy. But, sometimes, I just needed a little time off or some breathing space. With that small courtesy, I could do my job and run my life like a normal person. I found that simple request to be too much for my employers and when they found out about the hospitalizations and bipolar, I was toast. Even people who are suppose to be advocates for the mental ill (that’s you, Pinellas County, Florida) turned out to be not so supportive but professional in the immediate dismissal (thank you for that).
So, currently I do not work and I am devoting myself to my hobbies. In the back of my mind, I think about what new career I would want. It would have to flexible given the above perimeters.
Back to the Florida Bar. I didn’t fight them because I knew the prejudice I was up against and it just was not worth it. I was already living in another state and working on another career. Now, I would love to educate people on mental illness and fight for those people like me.
With the bar, I knew I would be facing another ignorant side that didn’t even know what bipolar disorder was. Therefore, we mutually agreed to suspend my license and I can seek to have it reinstated within the next 5 years. I can only imagine the aggravation they would give me trying to get readmitted when getting admitted in the first place was such a time consuming expensive nightmare. I am just cutting my losses and moving on in life. I can now say, “Been there. Done that.”
I got the Florida Supreme Court notice of approving my inactive status back in February. The Florida Bar website reflected my status. I notified anybody that would have an interest in my current bar status (meaning I had to tell anybody who thought I was still an attorney that I would not practice as an attorney). It wasn’t a big deal to me. Not even on the radar. I thought everything was settled and the process seemed simple and amicable.
Just the magic of mentioning this folder brought it to life. I got an email bright and early stating they did not get my latest affidavit and if they do not get it within 10 days, The Florida Bar will file a Petition for Contempt and Order to Show Cause. How nasty!!
So, I replied, “I mailed this on the 3/19/2014. Please check your mail and then threaten me with a contempt.” Yes, I probably could have been less curt because that really set the lady off.
To which, Ms. Legal Secretary replied, “Your incomplete and incorrect affidavit was received in our office today, 4 days past the due date. You may wish to revisit the rule regarding your obligations in providing the Court Ordered 3-5.1 Affidavit. You may also wish to verify the rules regarding Notary requirements. You must submit a correct affidavit directly to my attention within ten (10) days from the date of this email. If you fail to comply with this request, The Florida Bar will file a Petition for Contempt and Order to Show Cause.” Why couldn’t she just tell me what was wrong? It was clearly a technicality. I hate when people do that.
So, I let her have it. In a somewhat longer than necessary email, I explained that I was a mentally disabled person, that they were suspending me due to an incapacity, i.e., my mental condition. Therefore, it is confusing and disturbing when she is being so pushy and citing all these rules to me. I asked for another person in her office that would be better suited to deal with a disabled person. I told her to govern herself accordingly (we lawyers love this phrase). There was no need to be so hostile to me. I had done nothing wrong and was just trying to follow all the overly complicated rules they placed on me. I told her I would be happy to complete the form again and submit it. If it wasn’t good enough, they could proceed however they wished.
Then, she came back with a somewhat softer email apologizing but saying if I ever wanted to practice law again, I needed to complete these forms properly. More hidden threats. YAY!
Then, she wrote that if I am working for a legal organization I would have to follow rule blah blah blah. Turns out, this rule governs me working for any legal organization. As a former attorney, if I work for a legal organization, we (the employer and me) would both need to submit quarterly reports that I was not having direct client contact, handling funds of property and practicing law.
I just rolled my eyes. It was too much. The work I do for the law firm currently is so miniscule. I get paid peanuts. It wasn’t worth submitting a quarterly report, which I am sure has to be notarized and signed in my blood.
I quit the law firm. I submitted a new affidavit freshly notarized. Fingers crossed that should be the end of it. I thought about it last night and if I hear from them again on this issue, I’m just going to write I completed the affidavit to the best of my ability, I notified the only legal organization I was working for of my new inactive status, I subsequently quit my work for that firm so there would be no appearance of impropriety, I am not practicing as an attorney, I do not plan to be an attorney again, and please leave me alone. If you need new or additional information, then you may contact me.
Hopefully, I won’t have to write about this again and this chapter of my life is done. I hear a lot from people that they wanted to be an attorney or some such jazz. No, you don’t. It is a hellish profession. I wrote down on my list of requirements for my new career not to have a licensing policing agency bossing me around and taking my money. I’ m sure I’ll write a blog post on what it was like for me to be an attorney. For right now, I am just aggravated by the whole thing and it would be a bitching fest.
That was my morning yesterday. Part of my condition is I take things personally and tend to have extreme reactions. So, I was close to tears and just so fed up. I think that’s because I worked so hard to be an attorney, was very disillusioned with the whole system and all my work was dissolved with a few pieces of paper.
I was in such low spirits that my mom threw a hoe in my hand and told me it was time to plant. So, we got jiggy with it. How can you be unhappy planting? You can’t. I love the garden. We tilled some more. We raked the dead grass and planted two more rows of baby vegetables. More gardening on the agenda today. Our garden just keeps getting bigger and bigger. It’s because we got that happy little tiller and it makes quick work getting us some pay dirt.