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Palms sweating and throat dry, we had arrived. As I sat between Andy Dogali and our client, about to begin, what would be, my first trial as a young lawyer, my mind is racing. Much like a kid on the night before Christmas; visions of sugar-plums dancing through my head. Months of anticipation and weeks of preparation had brought us here. I waited with eager expectancy for the unknowns which awaited us on the other side. But of all the unknowns I had tried to imagine, the one I did not expect (I blame inexperience, of course) was the one that met us in true TS Elliot style:

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.

Before my first trial had even begun, it was over. Not with a bang, but with the whimper of an irreconcilable conflict and a continuation; just the kind of opportunity any defense attorney on the eve of trial would hope for. As I slowly began to pack up my materials and make my way outside to meet with Andy and our client, I could not quiet the sound of freight trains racing through my head. Undoubtedly, I would relive the events of this morning for the remainder of my day as I careened through lower Manhattan, dancing in between raindrops.

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When I first joined the Dogali Law Group, Andy sat me down to tell me the facts of the case and planted the seed of attending my first trial in New York with him. I never imagined having this kind of experience as a young lawyer, especially in the infancy of my legal journey to becoming a tried and true trial attorney. When I would later explain my “disappointment” to my mom, I realized that what had started as disappointment over the lack of having the experience had morphed into the disappointment of not achieving the outcome I believed in my heart of hearts would have been achieved had the stars aligned and we proceeded; victory.

After months of learning the case and assisting Andy with the bitter battle of words that became motion practice, I believe in our case more than I believe in most things in this comedy we call life. I want victory for our client, for Andy, for everyone in the office that worked, literally around the clock, in the weeks leading up to trial. Quickly, I had to resign myself to the fact that at least for now, victory would remain a slave to the Fates. Andy would later tell me not to take it too hard; that these kinds of things happen all the time when you are a trial lawyer. Yet another lesson to add to the list of hundreds he has taught me from this case alone.

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My palms are still wet, although not from sweat, but from the storm that is creeping in over lower Manhattan and painting the asphalt deep shades of grey and black. My throat remains dry from spending my lunch walking the streets of New York to arrive at my favorite place in the world: Battery Park. I remember the first time I ever came to New York and visited Battery Park; seeing the Statute of Liberty for the first time and feeling the hope that once upon a time, my grandparents felt when they arrived to this beautiful America. The promise of an endless future saturated with optimistic joy. This time, the skies are dark and the pathway is empty as I listen to the steady lull of rain falling on the ocean. For the first time in a long time, I feel that hope return – that ignorant hope that only youth brings. In that moment, it dawns on me. As a young lawyer, I have come so far. But that vast distance pales in comparison to how far I have left to go.

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