Lawyers get a bad rap, and oftentimes it is deserved. There are lawyers out there who have a hard time connecting with their clients. Their primary goal in practicing law is either to make money or to massage their egos, or more likely, to do both. I imagine that those are some of the lawyers who complain about how hard it is to be a lawyer and every other lawyer is a shark that wants to hunt you. What an unsatisfying way to make a living. And, in the end, if the goal is revering the almighty dollar, what a sad, shallow existence.
Perhaps part of my motivation in writing this is because I have not yet found the case with the Golden Goose. Perhaps my words come from a sense of envy. Maybe a little. Especially when we have had a dry period, defendants going out of business to avoid paying a judgment or declaring a bogus yet legal bankruptcy to avoid a trial date. Both issues have arisen this past year. Yet, I can say I love what I do and I have had a spectacular life. I feel much satisfaction in understanding and caring about my clients and in working hard for them. Sometimes I can actually see that my client is enriched by bravely going forward to help herself and others. That is satisfying.
I had lunch today with a lawyer I did not know. In our conversation, he told me about a case he pursued for a poor man who had been injured by a mammoth company. This lawyer loves his client and took 72 depositions pursuing the case. The judge ordered a master for depositions, since the case became contentious and the master's fee was $70,000, in addition to the other expenses. The lawyer hired 4 experts,to the 1 expert hired by the defendants. As trial approached, the lawyer and his wife mortgaged their house, maxed out their credit cards, sold their furniture and jewelry, to finance the case. If the trial did not go well, the lawyer
and his wife planned to file for bankruptcy one month after the trial, so that the defendants wouldn't know they had caused his financial demise. Fortunately, he never had to file for bankruptcy, but he and his wife were ready to make that sacrifice for the case.
If I needed a lawyer, I would want one like my lunch companion. When he talked about his client, he spoke with love. He, and obviously his wonderful wife, care. There is no greater satisfaction as a lawyer than making a positive difference in the lives of clients whom you have grown to love. I think I will go see if I can find some more jewelry to hock to keep afloat until I get paid. It is worth it to have a few cash-flow problems in exchange for being blessed by being able to love this wonderful work - representing courageous people who demand their civil rights. I may mot be rich, but I am living a glorious life.