Saturday morning found me up early, ironing a shirt and going over my summation. I was jittery, half because of nerves and half because of shitty hotel coffee. Litigation isn’t acting. Litigation is arguing. Responding. It’s much more genuine. Even in a fake case, the reason you’re saying a line is because you’re trying to prove a point. It’s you making a case, not a character being a character.
This idea has scared me since I was accepted into law school. I knew the transition from stage to court would be tough. Genetically, I had big shoes to fill. I could play a part, but I had a long way to go before I could compare myself to my uncles, my sister, or Papa.
Anyway, while I was waiting for the rest of my team to get ready, I sent a picture of myself to Lisa. Just so she’d know I wasn’t walking into court with my fly open.
My case did not... go well. And that’s about the best you’ll hear me speak of it. I know I’m better than I did in that room, so I’d rather not dwell. Suffice it to say the other side won heartily, and in fact they went on to win the “Most Professional” award. (Even though they did use notes. At least when I lost, I did it without frickin’ training wheels.)
When I got out of the courtroom, I wanted to find a crack in the wall and hibernate until that part of my brain responsible for repressing memory kicked in. I was ready to accept my fate and a Home Depot application.
Then I read a text message Lisa sent me while I was in court, and it was exactly, exactly, what I needed to hear. She always did have good timing.
The defense got another crack at it in the third preliminary round, and as always, they kicked ass. Alex had his best summation yet, and Jen deserved the three nominations she got for Best Advocate. I was happy then, even hopeful, since my co-counsel, Mike, had done well during our case (he actually said “I got nothin’ else for this guy” when he finished his cross of the defendant) which meant we might be able to squeak through on points. Alas, it wasn’t enough. We drank that night like people who didn’t have to get up early.
When we stumbled back to our hotel, the same hotel that had hosted an Irish step dancing competition that weekend, we made our way to the bar for one last round. I saw a lone trophy sitting on the concierge’s desk, and the graveyard shift guy must have noticed me calculating my drunken theft of it because he held it out and said simply “It was an extra from the dance thing. Want it?” Hells yes.
The flight home was sobering. I hate the fact that I worked for months on this case and the one time I was judged was when I had trouble functioning as a human being, much less as a lawyer. But hey, I had a trophy, I learned a lot, and at least Lisa thought I looked the part of the greatest lawyer I ever met:
From: Lisa - Sat, Nov 18, 12:40pm:
Good luck- you’re amazing. xoxo. ps- you look like your papa.