Thursday, February 23, 2006

on being an attorney: a moment of silence

It's 4:55 p.m.  The office is quiet.  I can see the top of my desk for the first time in two weeks.  Client files are tucked neatly away in alphabetical order in the filing cabinet.  Pens and paper are restocked.  Trash is gone.  Items belonging to others have been returned.  My "to-do" list has been composed.  All phone calls, faxes, and letters have been returned / made / sent.  My three-legged desk clock has reclaimed its rightful regal place on my desk. 
A while back I took on a case that went bad.  It went bad right from the start.  I filed a writ of habeas corpus almost immediately.  In the meantime, the DA made a terrible offer.  I haughtily rejected it, because I was sure to win the habeas - the bail was absolutely illegal.  I lost the habeas.  At this point, a client who certainly should not have been in jail was in jail, and had been for some time, and was angry with me.  The family called me daily.  I was wracked with guilt.  I cried for days.  I spent an entire weekend moping, unable to get off the couch.  I couldn't shake the case.  Finally today we got a resolution, an ideal resolution given the circumstances.  The family was happy, the client was happy.  I was relieved.
I was also working on a felony trial with another attorney.  It's a bench trial and it's going oddly piecemeal - one witness here, one witness there.  I had picked up a whole slew of cases all at once, and then I needed to find other people to cover them for me while I was at this trial.  
A few cases that should have been resolved haven't been, and so I'm scrambling to file motions.
One of my clients is almost certainly incompetent to stand trial.  
There just haven't been enough hours in the day recently, and I've been scrambling from moment to moment, digging things out of piles on my desk, fruitlessly rearranging piles, forgetting to return calls as soon as I promise to do so.  I even fell behind on my compulsive list-making. 
Currently I am being stood up by a complaining witness.  I even had someone else stay late to stay with me for the meeting.  Ah well.  I spent a wonderful afternoon making a list, clearing my desk, clearing the floor around my desk, and most importantly, clearing my head. 

1 comment:

Nicole Black said...

Oh the memories. It's not always easy, but when you look back over your legal career, you'll recall your years as a PD as some of the best years. Trust me, it's true;)