I have never been to war. I have never been threatened physically in a courtroom. Yet, I imagine going to trial is the closest non-physical contest to war. I say non-physical, not non-violent. I believe that some lawyers can do violence to the opposite party of not checked, provoking anxiety, shame or PTSD. I understand why most lawyers choose not to battle in the courtroom, especially in front of a jury. A good trial lawyer risks becoming virtually naked, raw and vulnerable, like Beyoncé in Lemonade. The jury gets to see the lawyer at his or her most vulnerable. We try to protect our clients and take the brunt of the hits. We try to demolish our opponents, polite as necessary to avoid the turning the tied of jury regard.
By the time most lawyers get to trial, they must rely on their former good judgment in times of cooler heads. By trial time, all, or most, objectivity is gone. We are raving maniacs trying to hide our madness. The modern jury trial system was developed to curtail trial by battle. No more limbs or heads or genitalia to be hacked off the defeated warrior. But, trial by jury can feel like death by guillotine.
We lawyers like to act civilized and pretend our battles involve simply skirmishes of logic and reasoning. But, trials are a engines of raw emotions, ego and insecurity. We all claim we battle merely for justice. But truth and right are often in the eyes of the beholder. Truth be told, we thrive on battle. We fight. We fight for our clients. We fight for justice. We fight for our ego. And above all, we just fight.
I am a 63 year old woman, scarred and disfigured by more than 39 years in the trenches, having withstood hundreds of battles. Sometimes, I tire and convince myself my battle-list is dissipated. I stop fighting for awhile. The more time elapses from my last battle I travel from my last battle, the more I long to battle again. This legal bloodlust comes from someplace deep within. I am bored on the sidelines. I must find a client for whom I can crusade. The scars begin to heal and I re-enter the ring to re-tear my flesh open. By the time I die, I will be nothing but scar tissue, gristle and arthritic bone. What a strange profession and what odd creatures are wewho are drawn to it.