Monday, January 01, 2007

I've Been Tagged Part II: Things That Lawyers Appreciate

Happy New Year Everyone!!

Today seems like an appropriate day to answer the tag of Ernie "Ernie the Attorney" Svenson.

Ernie asked me to discuss things that lawyers appreciate. I can of course only speak for myself. Here is how I see it.

I appreciate my clients. I love practicing law, and clients make that possible. I am not saying that there are times when we grate on each other, but that is more because they may not be happy with the advice I have to give them or that they want a faster response to a call or e-mail. It is a two way street. I want to be paid faster and have the materials I ask them to get me faster. Usually we learn to work it out. I appreciate how important their case or cause is to them. I feel honored they trust me to help them with that work.

I appreciate the court. Even the judges I do not love, I still appreciate the effort. Most of the judges I know could earn a lot more money than they do as judges. Frankly on what we pay them, I couldn't survive. Judges work far harder now than when I was coming up. Rarely do they finish their day before 5 and I have often seen them working till well into the evening. That effort is important. It should be properly compensated. Judges need to earn at least as much as law school professors or even Deans.

I too really appreciate a judge who rules quickly and impartially. Most of the ones I appear in front of do exactly that, so I consider myself lucky. Finally I appreciate it when a Judge understands the vagaries of private practice. Judges who work with you on scheduling and do not try to hold you to some artificial standard and goal are especially appreciated. I like judges that try to work things out between parties without getting involved in pushing one side or the other.

I appreciate court personnel especially Court Officers. I think they are the unsung heroes of the courthouse. I know they can be surly sometimes, but having to say the same thing over and over usually annoys an adult. Let's face it. I love my clients but not somebody else's client. The court personnel work with seriously dangerous people everyday, and help keep me safe from them so that I can accomplish pretty serious work. I appreciate the effort they make.

While I am on this subject, I also, believe it or not, appreciate Police department members. Now I often have an adversarial position with the police department, and I may take a hard line in cross-examining the individual officer on the stand, but in reality, I see my relationship with them more as two people testing one and other. I think the problem for many police officers is that they do not like to be made to look like they are careless or worse liars. What they do not understand is that it is the rigorous cross that tests best what they accomplished. An inability to keep it business is a problem for some officers.

In my recent life I had a terrible run in with a policeman on a hearing. About a month later, someone close to this officer was arrested in a neighboring county. The officer went to his PBA attorney who brought the fellow to my office. (Yeah I share space with the PBA attorneys.) The officer and his friend saw me and he almost hit the roof. His friend saw that and said " I want this guy" the cop looked at him and he replied "If he pissed you off that bad, then this is obviously the guy I need." It took a second to sink in but the policeman shook his head in agreement and they are now both clients. I love it when he asks me if I am working as hard for him as I am for my "Scuzzy clients" (his words not mine.) I know no one likes being made to look stupid lazy or like a liar. I also know that no one likes being convicted and especially not if they are innocent of the charge. I do my job so that if they did theirs then no one has a gripe. When you look at it like that, maybe they appreciate me too... yeah probably not but life goes on...

I appreciate the chance to blog and to teach. I learn so much from both activities. That it is fun makes the work of it seem like nothing. I especially like the give and take of the classroom experience. God the energy my students bring to the law. It is inspiring.

I appreciate my fellow bloggers. Every night when I come home and read the blogs I do it with a pen and paper at my side. I forward links and copy posts and send them to my staff for us to remember and maybe even implement. I get a lot of my laughs from you guys too. I hope I provide you half the enjoyment you all provide to me. I know I can never teach you guys half of what you teach me. Thanks for letting me be part of the community. I treasure your advice and counsel.

Ok I hope you're still reading, because here come the really important ones:

I really appreciate my staff of attorney and non attorney team members. I have a giftedly smart group of people around me. From the High School intern who has taught himself to brief cases, to my two associates and two "of counsel", I am blessed to have people around me who give a damn about my clients, my work and me. They treat my business as if it is theirs. They care about my family and they understand my dedication to the law, even when the client isn't paying me. Oh, and they are beautiful too. I am privileged to work with these young people.

I really appreciate home. Not the actual 6 walls (though I must like that too I have lived here for 42 years. No I mean my family and community. Our friends take a lot of garbage for defending me. I am not easy. I am most definitely an "acquired" taste. I am often thinking of other things when you talk to me, and when not preoccupied I can be cynical. Nevertheless, my friends and family accept the focus and give me the slack to achieve to the best of my ability.

Finally I appreciate MaryRose and the boys...To quote Billy Joel, "Wherever we're together,That's my home." 'Nuff said about that.

Ok I tag Nicole, Professor Doug Berman and Patterico (after all Prosecutor's must appreciate stuff too.)Happy New Year.
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