Author: Maria B. Glorioso | category : Published Articles
There was a time, perhaps in our parents’ generation, when, if a woman had two children, and one had become a doctor and the other a lawyer, she was equally proud of both. On the scale of public esteem, lawyers stood near the top along with the ministry and medicine. Now, we are much further down the line.
As lawyers today, new or experienced, we are constantly defending our profession and ourselves as trial lawyers. We’ve all heard the labels and jokes. Not only do we defend ourselves to the general public but to our own clients, friends and families. This aspect of our profession can drain our souls and weaken our heart’s desire to fight for a just cause.
It never fails, after every ATLA convention, I come back to the office with a renewed sense of pride and enthusiasm about being a trial lawyer. The annual convention in Chicago was no exception. Just being around other trial lawyers who fight the same battles and truly care about what they do reminds me why I do what I do. How nice to spend almost a week without the need to defend myself and with people who genuinely care to hear about my cases and causes. It also reminds me that the satisfactions of being a trial lawyer do not come from our perception in the public eye nor from how much money we make. For us to be truly satisfied with our profession we must look to the higher purpose.
My message today is to challenge each of you to look to your higher purpose and find something or someone who reminds you of it. Find something to turn to when defense counsel is about to wear you down or your client’s lack of appreciation begins to make you bitter. We all have a client that we fall in love with because of the type of person they are and their cause. Remember him or her in times like these. Remember the causes you fight for which make putting up with the negative aspects of our profession worth it. Remember other great trial lawyers who helped shape our justice system and be proud to be one of them.
For me, I go to ATLA conventions, remember my clients, Shannon and Angela and turn to poems and speeches by great trial lawyers about our great profession. I display my clients’ pictures and thank you cards on the mantel in my office so that I am always reminded of them and the cause we fought or are fighting. I keep several words of wisdom in my top desk drawer for an emergency quick fix. If you would like to read one of them, sign onto our list serve. I’ll periodically put them under the subject “quick fix.”
For now, I leave you with these thoughts by one of our great members, Francis H. Hare, Sr. and written in 1976:
There is something different and special about the trial lawyer. You can tell it whenever you go in a courtroom and see any lawyer, old or young, good or bad, when his time comes to stand up and speak in behalf of his client, white or black, right or wrong. Then, something happens that’s unlike anything else on earth; it is like the touch of Midas that turns dust into gold, or the miracle of electricity that turns a few strips of metal into a glowing flame of light. There is a touch of everything wonderful in the advocacy of a lawyer for his client, in his effort to defend the right. There is a dash of love in it, and there is a little sex appeal, and more than a little magic. I have seen a shabby old lawyer that almost literally slept in the street come to court unshaved and disheveled and rise before a jury that came to scoff and remained to pray. Every man who has lived the life of a lawyer knows what I mean and knows that there must be a source of this transformation of personality and power that touches an ordinary man with the pentecostal fire of an advocate.