Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Special People I Have Had the Honor to Represent

I have been a lawyer a long time and through the years I have represented many people.  Most cases are settled, but there are those clients with I have had the pleasure of representing in trial.  Going to trial with a client is not how it is portrayed on television.  Those clients of mine who have the fortitude to sit powerlessly through a trial, confined for the most part at the counsel table, after years of intense scrutiny, invasive questions and worse, while they must blindly trust me, the judge and the judicial process are courageous.  Their seat at the counsel table is not one that I would want.

Since I have been trying cases for many years, I am now fortunate to see what has become of many of my clients.  With the invent of Facebook, I can follow their lives and live vicariously through their victories.  The clients with whom I am still in contact, have by and large, gone on to lead interesting, productive and exciting lives.  I am precluded from being more specific without getting their permission, to expand.  However, I am moved by their courage they continue to display after they have sued their employers and what they choose to do professionally and personally.  These are not people with repeat lawsuits or those who see themselves as victims.  They start businesses, contribute to the community, pursue spiritual and religious goals, raise their adorable children in healthy houses and continue to live happy, productive lives.

I have no first-hand knowledge of what impact the act of baring ones soul up to complete strangers in the jury box and behind the bench has on a person, since I have never been a plaintiff or a defendant in a trial.  I wonder if I am brave enough to have their fortitude and then trust that strangers will be fair and just.  I believe that most jurors are courageous themselves, take their important role seriously, and do everything in their  power to see that justice is done, but there are no guarantees.  I can just watch and hope for the best for them.  My clients surrender their beings to the civil jury system, and that takes much courage.  The jurors take their jobs very seriously, and that is why the system works, because people are basically good, and  fair, and have group intelligence.  But the act of surrender is not an easy one.

Most of the time, my thoughts are consumed with looking at the cases and clients at hand.  But when I encounter or read or contact the clients of my past, I am so happy for them and so honored that I was given the honor of representing them.  What I see of the lives of my former clients after litigation makes me happy.  I am so fortunate to have been honored to know these incredible people who draw strength from their struggles and make this world a better place. the end of my career, which hopefully is a few years away, I can reflect on my years as a lawyer and the special place these wonderful people have had in my life.  Thank you for inspiring me.

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