When you’ve practiced law for over twenty years, you have to become “thick skinned.” Certainly, the legal profession deserves some of the criticism that it receives from the public. However, I believe that many attorneys try to do their best each day to serve their clients and potential clients. I know that I do.
It is always nice to hear from people who are grateful for your assistance. There are two recent examples of which I am proud to share. The first involves an Army specialist with the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment. This fine young man will soon be serving our country in Iraq. He had been swindled out of several thousand dollars by a man pretending to be a car dealer. When I learned that my new client was scheduled for a tour of duty in Iraq, I agreed to handle the case “pro bono,” a Latin phrase which means “for the public good.” In other words, I agreed to do the case for free.
I am happy to report that I was able to obtain title to the car for my client. Although I expected nothing in return, in March 2007, I was honored to receive a Certificate of Appreciation from the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment of which my client is a member. I was further honored at a ceremony in which I was asked to speak to the Battalion. The first thing I noticed, was that most of the soldiers were young enough to be my children. Yet, they will soon be risking their lives in Iraq. Although my client was very grateful for my work, as I explained to his battalion, the service that I provided to him was nothing compared to the service that the men and women in the armed forces provide to all of us.
The second example that I would like to share is a very nice letter from a potential client. This potential client is a respected business man on the Big Island of Hawaii. After discussing his case with him, I determined that it would not be cost-effective for him to pay me to fly to the Big Island for his trial. I referred him to a very fine attorney in Kona who I thought would handle his case effectively yet in a more cost-efficient manner. I expected nothing in return. It was my professional duty to advise this potential client of his legal rights. Nevertheless, on March 29, 2007, I received the following letter from that potential client:
“I am taking this time to thank you for the conversation we had and the fact that you actually showed you cared. It meant a great deal to me. It’s not often you find people of your quality and caring in the business world. You should be very proud. I know I am proud to have met you.”
Obviously, that letter made my day. The next time you hear someone “bad mouth” lawyers, please remember that many of us care a great deal about our profession.