Thursday, September 28, 2006

Where is the Justice?

I recently had to be sworn into a new Federal Court in which I had not previously practiced. (Attorneys take the Bar in the state in which they wish to practice. If they pass the Bar, they are "sworn in" for the first time, in a nice ceremony, in front of a judge or judges. In my case, I was sworn in, along with almost two hundred other new lawyers, in front of the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. That was three years ago. This enabled me to practice law in any trial court in any county in Ohio.

Then, I had to take 6 hours of Continuing Legal Ed, and was sworn into Federal Court for my district. (Northern District). But, I recently needed to do something in Federal Court in the Southern District, which required me to be sworn in in that district. And since I was already admitted to practice in State Court and one district of Federal Court, it was a pretty quick affair.)

I raised my right hand and took my "oath of office" and swore to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and to protect it from enemies known and unknown, and to faithfully represent my clients to ensure that Justice is served.

These are not the precise words, which I have just spent the last 15 minutes searching for and cannot find online. I'm sure they are out there, somewhere. The point is, and perhaps this may surprise some people who may have a low opinion of attorneys, I took that oath with tremendous seriousness. I raised my hand, and I meant every word - to protect the Constitution, against enemies both known and unknown. To serve the causes of Justice.

I said it and I meant it. And today, I am frustrated by it. Because despite my best efforts in a particular matter, I am afraid that the outcome of a situation is going to be entirely unjust.

It is not that I have not tried to represent my client. I have tried, and it seems that I have failed. Some situations arise in which what looks black and white is NOT black and white. Sometimes, the party who has more money has more influence to change people's perceptions of what took place. I wish I could say more, but, to say more would violate another part of the oath - to keep my client's secrets.

I'm angry. I'm frustrated. The other side is motivated by greed and cruelty and spitefulness and, quite frankly, the expected outcome is simply not fair. Not just. And as much as I have railed against and fought against this is what it is.

I suppose I should remind myself, that I cannot undo actions that occurred in the past, and as such, I cannot make it "right" in the here and now.

I was going to say that the situation is breaking my heart, but, that's not really correct - maybe it would be better to say, it breaks my spirit, it breaks my resolve, it chips away at my belief that justice is makes me SAD.



Blogger La Turista said...

I also took my swearing-in ceremony very seriously, even though the two jackasses behind me were literally chanting, "money money money" while we were saying the oath. Those kind of lawyers make me sick. Those kind of PEOPLE make me sick. They would be assholes no matter what their jobs are, but it makes it so much worse when they are in a position where people depend on them to represent them and their interests. My experience is almost exclusively in criminal law, and we all know how money plays a part in that arena. I just want to say hang in there and remember that there are good lawyers out there, like you, for instance, and even if you don't always get a good outcome, or a just outcome, a lot of people appreciate that you're willing to fight and to take your oath seriously no matter what.
Now let me don my powdered wig and break out the pom poms - Let's hear it for the Constitution!

Thursday, September 28, 2006 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger Space Mom said...

Unfortunately, there is more in our society than just what is right and wrong...

I am sorry...I wish the right thing would happen for your client

Friday, September 29, 2006 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger steph said...

I took my ceremony seriously too. And in my total of three cases I was the only one among lawyers and clients who did not lie in court. Lie lie lie. I couldn't believe it. I was prepared - over prepared...but not prepeared for that. I was outraged and traumatized. And the outcomes were not just. A lawyer is a servant of the community - or ought to be. It broke my heart, too, to see the travesty.

Monday, October 02, 2006 11:58:00 AM  

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