My job, as a criminal defense attorney, is difficult. The judges, by and large, are against me and my client. The District Attorney is often unwilling to be sympathetic to the human side of my client’s actions. The criminal justice system is harsh and devastating to many who enter it. My friends question “How can you represent people accused of crimes?” Like they don’t have me on speed dial. But, this isn’t about how bad things can be for me in my professional life. It’s about how good and rewarding what I do for a living is.
I’ve represented many, many people over my career who have gotten themselves into all kinds of trouble and have found that anyone can make a mistake in their life, rich or poor, young or old, class valedictorian or class clown. Anyone can start walking down the wrong path in life, and some of them just need a little bit of help to get back on track. Some of them make the same mistakes more than once. I give them all everything I have to defend them and restore their lives to them. All too often I don’t know what happens to them after I finish their cases.
That changed earlier this week when I was visiting my local coffee shop. As I ordered my usual, small, non-fat, no foam latte I was approached by a gray haired man who I recognized but couldn’t place. He introduced himself and reminded me that I had represented his son years ago. I immediately remembered his son and we chatted about his progress. It turns out that the counseling I gave him (sometimes you just have to hear it from someone other than your parents), and the great result I got him in court turned his life around. I learned he was now in a PHD program at world renowned university and was living an awesome life. His father thanked me for all I had done for him and told me that it was thanks to me that he had gotten his life together. I told the father that he had made my day and probably my month. We shook hands and I told him to send my regards to his son.
After this chance meeting I thought about waging the good fight for my clients and realized (once again) that I love what I do. It’s making a difference in people’s lives and to learn that someone out there was thankful I came into their life at a moment of need, well it made my day and restored my spirits.
So, I’ll fight on another day and keep trying to make the judges see the light, convince the District Attorneys that everyone deserves another chance and fighting the good fight.