Random Lawyer Stuff
So, I went to court with my friend M~ representing me.
You know that episode of Grey's Anatomy where Meredith Grey falls in the water and drowns and the rest of the staff of Seattle Grace spends hours trying to revive her because she is one of their own?
Yeah...evidently, lawyers going to court as defendants do not get the same special kind of care as doctors going to emergency rooms as patients. But, even so, it was bargained down to a no-points violation of equipment failure, no points, no fine, court costs only. So, it cost me $78 and lunch for my lawyer. I was happy with that.
One thing I don't think that law schools do a very good job of preparing lawyers for is the fact that people are trusting you, their lawyer, with a lot. Sometimes with their lives, even. But more often, with their future, their money, their children's future. It's a lot of pressure. Sometimes it keeps me up at night, when I have someone's trust in my hands - they are trusting me to try to do the best thing for them, trusting me to fight for them. Sometimes, I feel a like I am unprepared for the responsibility of having to break extremely bad news to people. REALLY bad news. I wish law school had covered this.
Earlier this week, I had to tell two sisters that their mother was dead. It was...AWFUL. In truth, their mother has been dead for quite a long time. I was handling a matter relating to the distribution of her estate. The sisters have been missing for almost 30 years, and a private investigator I work with on occasion had been looking for them for a while. (They were owed money from the estate). So, when I finally got one of them on the phone, and asked a few questions to make sure I had the right woman, the conversation went kind of like this:
Me: Um...when was the last time you talked to your mother?
Her: 1982. My sister and I, we were stupid and teenagers, and we had an argument with her, and we just...left.
Me: I'm very sorry but, your mom passed away on _____________, 2006.
Me: I'm very sorry.
Her: (more crying and what sounds like, 'we never meant it to go on this long')
Me: I'm so sorry.
This continued for a while. Then I said, "I need to send you the money she left you" and after she calmed down a bit we discussed how I would send the money.
I guess I could have just said, "the bad news is your mom is dead but the good news is have a boatload of money for you." And maybe some lawyers would have done that. But, to me, it seemed like a huge responsibility, to be the person who had to say, "your mom is dead."
Like I said, it keeps me from sleeping sometimes. And it makes me want to say, regardless of what the person you loved did or said to you, if there's anybody you walked away from over some stupid family argument, some brother or cousin you are feuding with and regret it - end it. End it so some lawyer on the other side of the country doesn't have to tell you that the person you loved and didn't mean to feud with for so long dropped dead from cancer or had a massive heart attack or got hit by a bus, and the time for saying "I'm sorry" is long past gone.
I've been trying to write a St. Patrick's Day post for 6 days now. It's just been a crazy week - no time to write much of anything not related to work.