Tales from the dark side

12 Oct

It is becoming more difficult for me to work with a certain defense attorney.  I am not referring to the one who slammed down the phone after screaming “YOU are the most unprofessional person I have ever worked with!”  me.  I wanted to ring him right back and say, “oh really?  well, I have never hung up on anybody I was working with, so who is unprofessional here?” but I knew that he probably wouldn’t take my call.

I am speaking of a certain lawyer whose friendship is getting in the way of my ability to project my anger at his client onto him.  He is always so kind and helpful to me that I will have a hard time nagging him, being unprofessional, or hiding evidence favorable to his client.  Or any of my other bad-prosecutor habits.  Of which I am sure there are many – I just haven’t yet been informed of them by angry defense lawyers.

This lawyer was one of the first people I met upon moving to San Angelo.  He was my friend for at least a year before I met his lovely wife, although he was proud to show me the newspaper clipping of her bridal portrait and their wedding announcement that he keeps with him all the time.  He showed me the yellowing newsprint at a seminar we both attended about 3 months after I started my job (14 years ago!).  We were down in Austin and as I wandered through the enormous hotel conference room, feeling very alone and ignorant of the subject matter that was to be presented.  I was so glad to see a friendly face that I sat down right by him and jealously clung to him during the entire course.  In retrospect, he may not have known much more about the subject matter than I did, but he always exuded such a calm, everything-is-going-to-be-all-right demeanor that I felt better just sitting near him.

Once I started a law office and I was scared that I wouldn’t make it in private practice, this friend came over to my house and sat with me and told me point-blank how much money he had made in the previous year from various fees and appointed cases and that he thought that I could be okay.  He practically laid his tax return in my lap, because he knew that I needed to know exactly what I was dealing with in order to be able to move forward out of the paralysis of fear that is such a central part of my makeup.

By then we were more than work-friends, we were family friends.  We still are.  When my whole carefully-constructed and maintained facade of  a marriage fell apart last summer, he never chose sides.  He continued to be supportive of me and the children while maintaining a good relationship with the children’s father – not an easy task for any of our circle of friends.  I was having a hard time then, but a large part of my worry related to what it would mean to our friends.  How could the wives be supportive and friendly with me while the husbands were still tied in with he-who-must-not-be-named?  Especially during dove season.

I set down some guidelines for being friends with both of us, and like all great ideas, they are very simple:

1. Unless it involves the direct welfare and safety of my children AND you are willing to testify about it, I don’t want to know what he is or is not doing; and

2. If you are having a party and don’t know whether to invite him or me, you have to choose me.

It is working out well so far.

So back to my wonderful friend, Brad.  He was just appointed to a really ugly child abuse case involving a 2 year old baby and some injuries that I won’t list here because you all aren’t as hardened to this kind of facts as he and I are and I don’t want to alienate you.  And when I told him that I was worried about working with him on this case because it will certainly be hotly contested, the first thing he said to me was this: ” Do not worry about this case.  You are going to make me an offer that you feel is fair given the nature of the injuries and my client will probably not want to accept it because you will be asking for pen time, and we will have to have a trial.  But don’t worry – you and I will still be friends and we are going to get through this just fine.”

Isn’t he just the wisest?


4 Responses to “Tales from the dark side”

  1. dad October 12, 2010 at 6:26 am #


    I suppose that you’ve always been doing more writing, regularly or irregularly, than I can have imagined, but this blog is a very nice medium for your exercise. I suspect that it may be the nidus of a new career direction, or, at least, a night job. It’s hard to imagine how you’d manage, at the moment, to sequester the time necessary for a great deal of writing, but brightenthecorner seems a handy, and manageable, vehicle and pace. I expect your other readers enjoy it as much as I do.

    I don’t get to John Fleming’s blog as regularly as this one, of course, but, as you predicted, it’s discourse very pleasurable to me–sets me thinking–and comports with a spontaneous and coincidental yen to get back to Europe and ramble at a leisurely pace. A number of places we want to revisit and many more on a list of “one of these days…”

  2. brightenthecorner October 12, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

    I have been looking for a night job. More responsibility is always on my to-do list.

  3. Rachie October 12, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

    Ok. I was doing okay until I read this……life is so unfair. We love you dearly Claire Carter and yes, “we are all gonna get through this just fine.”

    • brightenthecorner October 12, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

      Rachel! don’t be sad – I think life isn’t necessarily fair, but it’s more than fair to me and I think things are unfolding beautifully. I was just thinking of what a prince of a man you are married to.

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