Monday, July 31, 2006

Are you afraid of my Guatemala-ness?

In the course of my work, I come across some real chatters.  The first time I meet a client, it's because they've been locked up, and I'm trying to get them released pending the rest of their case.  The chatters seem to enjoy recounting every irrelevant detail from the time of their conception to the moment of their arrest.  I recently had an entire day of chatters, which made it nearly impossible to move as quickly as I hoped.
There was one client I had who just would not let me end the conversation.  I was starting to get stressed that the conversation was taking too long, and I was getting annoyed that I wasn't getting to more clients.  I remembered some advice one of my mentors gave me recently - this job is like kung fu.  Don't meet force with force - accept the force and redirect it.  Go with it, don't fight it.
So as I resigned myself to listening to this very chatty, very animated gentleman recount how he got arrested, I tried to figure out who he reminded me of, when it hit me:  He spoke JUST LIKE Agador Spartacus from The Birdcage.  I was desperately trying to hold back giggles, so much that my stomach hurt.  The rest of the conversation was a pleasure.


Blogging is light.  My internet is still down, so I have to lurk off to somewhere I can get free WiFi and try to compose something before my internet crashes.  It's a pain.
I cannot believe that tomorrow is August.  How did I lose my entire summer?  What do I have to show for it?  I don't think I once ordered a drink that came with an umbrella in it.  I didn't once drunkenly make out with a stranger on a blanket in a park somewhere.  I didn't attend a BBQ and end the night with a cowboy hat on, singing Bon Jovi or Bruce Springsteen at the top of my lungs before passing out fully clothed on my bed.  NOT. ONCE.
Who can live like this?
Somehow, strangely, despite the court's aversion to scheduling ANYTHING in the month of August, I happen to have many hearings and several trials scheduled.  I intend to do none of them if I can avoid it.  I need to make up for lost time and have myself a summer.  If you see some girl clutching a drink umbrella, a stranger, and a cowboy hat, humming refrains of "Livin on a Prayer," you might want to give wide berth. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

writing on the wall

Good luck, bar exam takers!!

Monday, July 17, 2006

another battle scar

I cried at work.  Again.  I started crying before I made it out of the courtroom - but the only people who could see me cry were whoever was sitting in the last two rows.  I managed to get that far, at least.  The only thing worse than getting caught crying at work is getting caught crying while trying to HIDE - I crawled under my desk and pulled the chair in so no one could see me and of course, no less than 6 attorneys came by and found me hiding under my desk sobbing.  How embarrassing. 
I was so angry at the way the court was humiliating and needling my client, unnecessarily, and without provocation.  The judge then ordered me to do something that I told the judge I could not do.  I objected, and said I couldn't.  The court ordered again.
A few hours later, everything was resolved, and things worked out the way they should have.  But that's another one of those things that should be considered a 'victory,'  I guess, because the client got what he wanted in the end - but that sure didn't feel like a victory.  It felt like the court was trying to do everything it could to make my client fail, to obstruct whatever I was trying to accomplish - but all the while making it look like it was my client's fault.  It was so frustrating.
Then I had another client this week who was so convinced that what he had to tell the judge was important for the judge to know, that he would not be quiet.  He kept trying to talk to the judge and I kept asking him to stop, don't say anything, otherwise the judge is not going to release you and the prosecutor is definitely going to use it against you.  Ah, no.  My client insisted on talking.  The judge directed my client to speak to me.  Finally, client turned to me, told me exactly what I said not to say to the judge, and I finally said, "My client would like the court to know that he is concerned that xyz will happen as a result of this court's order."  And the judge told him exactly what he thought about that, about 4 times louder than I've ever heard him address anyone, and (ahem) admonished my client so loudly and thoroughly and extensively that I'm pretty sure he'll shut up when I tell him to shut up next time. 
Why, defendants, why, do you take the Fifth Amendment protections that I work tirelessly to protect, and throw it away with both hands, and stomp on it?  I told you the judge did not want to hear that.  And you didn't believe me, did you?
Oooh!  The highlight of my month was when about two weeks ago, for the very first time, I received this question from a client who just got out of jail on a prior case, with about 40 convictions for drug possession who asked me after I told him that he would not be released or sentenced to community service:
C: "Is it true that you work with them?"  Ah yes.  THE question.
Me: "Who?"  I figured I'd play dumb.  I mean, maybe if I can figure out what my client THINKS we all do, I can do a better job of correcting it.
C: "You know, them?"
Me: [deciding to stop playing games] "You mean, do I work with the DA and the judge to keep you locked up?"
C: "Yeah."
Me: "No, it's not true.  I'm here to defend you, which also means telling you what I think is going to happen.  Now, I can tell you what you want to hear, or I can tell you what I know the judge is going to do.  If I really wanted to see you locked up, if I really wanted to work 'with' them, then I'd be a DA instead, because they make a lot more money and they don't have to sit here in the pens with a bunch of people cursing them out.  And if I really wanted to see you locked up, I wouldn't even really need to talk to you about it beforehand, right?"
You know, it would be one thing if I had a curious client who was unfamiliar with the system ask me that question.  I would be ok with answering it.  But it's really disingenuous to ask that question when your rap sheet needs its own forklift.