quote: anton chekhov
In Defense of Lawyers
Inevitably, a person’s defense of an idea becomes most impassioned just before they cease to believe in it altogether. Passion comes to open the way for the loss of innocence: the world we once loved is lost. What does this say about the plight of lawyers? They shoulder the breach of your dreams for simple cash and nothing more. Everybody sympathizes with garbage men: well, somebody’s got to do it. Lawyers handle the garbage of the soul.
I myself had clients I believed in — false teeth and all, I took them to my heart; well, somebody’s got to do it. I wasn’t unusual in this regard; it’s a phase all of us go through. Granted, most people don’t understand our system of laws. We’re born into this web of relationships, whether we like it or not. No way to opt out, though I always kept one eye open in hopes of that promised loophole, wanting to wriggle away from society’s tight grip like a stray dog out of a stiff new collar. Nobody, not even a liar, wants to live in a cage; we all went to law school to figure out how to open the cage doors. What we found is that there is no way out, not ever. For all of us, the only sure finish is bankruptcy, or death.
Yet, there came the day I wanted only to crawl under my desk and stay there. My client had informed me he would lie to the judge. All the rules about keeping quiet were no comfort. I could no more allow him to lie than I could rip out my own intestines. I wept, in the ladies’ room, wanting to die of a broken heart and have it over that way. My client lost, no fault of mine. I’m sorry, I told him. He spit in my face, coming close, pointing his weathered index finger like a weapon. You being sorry doesn’t help me, he yelled. I feared he would strike me. That day was my last hearing ever. Everyone blames their lawyer for what happens later — no one talks about the price lawyers have paid, in dreams.