Oliver Wendell Holmes. Thurgood Marshall. Atticus Finch. Yeah, I know Atticus Finch isn’t real, but such a legendary character joins the other great attorneys in history as the raison d'être for starry-eyed applicants to law school. The powerful personalities and victories of these heroes of the legal world even manage to overshadow the tsunami of lawyer jokes, ambulance chasers and general ill will toward the legal profession.
Yep, every attorney and prospective attorney is certain that they can withstand any storm or circus by reminding themselves of the dignity that great men like Judge Holmes, Judge Marshall and Mr. Finch bestowed upon the practice of law.
Dignity. Such as when you find out that the client you’ve been zealously representing in his personal injury case has what one might call a...side job. Yes, your Plaintiff has a bit of a habit of standing on the corner of notorious traffic intersections and jumping into the back seats of cars post-collision. Imagine the whiplash he imagined!
I know that many of you are asking, “Wait a minute, the driver would notice someone they didn’t know in the backseat of their car! Duh!”
All I can say to you is that you wouldn’t believe the amount of detail—or glaring inaccuracy—that gets overlooked in a wreck.
Dignity. Such as when an incredibly angry forty-ish year-old hooker storms into your office with a shotgun threatening to kill her most recent john because he had the nerve to try and steal her Cinderella doll.
Dignity. Such as when you are in court and one of the prisoners in the jail box either needs to come off his meds or get his meds because he is convinced that you are one of the hookers in his stable. Accordingly to Mr. Loud Pimp Daddy, your name is Jeanina, you owe him money and you aren’t earning anything by keeping your “lazy ass” in the courtroom instead of on the street. What’s super fantastic is that L.P.D. won’t shut the hell up and just gets louder as he is dragged out of the prisoner box to the cells in the back hall.
Dignity. Such as spending three days of your life that you will never get back arguing a personal injury case that essentially boils down to whether or not your client is truthful. That’s not exactly one to cause great shock and awe, I know. The mortification of the matter is that the truth centered around my client’s bodily functions.
In the moment in time my Plaintiff had to see the car careening toward him, he had a booboo in his britches. The question hinged on whether or not the booboo was a Number 1 or a Number 2. My client had been inconsistent in his statements as to which bodily function had actually occurred and the defense had jumped all over it—figuratively speaking—to show that the frequent changes in statements proved that my client lied like a cheap K-Mart rug.
You actually have argue to a jury about poops and tinkles and the various names for the same. A true highlight of your career.
Dignity. You have a client who is secretly videotaped in her apartment by her pervy troll of a landlord. As the result of the supremely disappointing resolution of the criminal court case, you work with the client to get a bill passed in the Legislature making it a felony to secretly peep on another person. Yay! A rare and satisfyingly successful outcome!
Less than a month later, you are court appointed to this little buzzard who is charged with...guess...secret peeping! There is no way in ten kinds of hell that this appointment is random. (I would like to interject briefly here and add that I didn’t call him a little buzzard at the time of the appointment. He was simply my client just like everyone else. Since that time and the resulting events, I have called him everything under the sun.)
The allegations were that the young gentleman had a video camera in his bag and was filming up girls’ skirts in the library at UNC-Weed.
He was an insistent little bugger and, holy crap, he was indignant about the charges leveled against him. He didn’t come in for an appointment so much as he stormed in and paced around your office claiming entrapment and vendettas and everything other than culpability for the charges. You buy the spiel.
You fight tooth and nail for the kid and then someone finally recovers the data from the damaged DVD in question. The first part of the disc shows a bunch of extremely stupid skateboard stunts that look like an audition for “Dumbasses on Film” or some other reality show on Spike TV. Some of your brain cells manage to survive to about three quarters into the video when suddenly you find yourself looking up the flowered skirt of a young lady as she stands in line to check out a book.
As the DVD progresses, you go on to see the nether regions of females as they climb stairs, study in cubicles and stand around for no particular reason.
Then your client skips bail. Then you have to tell all of that to the Assistant District Attorney with whom you have argued most...um...zealously...about your client’s angelic innocence.
Dignity. Ain’t it a bitch?