July 14, 2021 - Happy Bastille Day!

In France, July 14 celebrates the "storming of the Bastille." It was on that day that hordes of angry French-folk stormed the famous prison, ancient symbol of tyranny and oppression, and sparked the bon-fire that was the French Revolution. Popular Histories don't blame the French-folk for storming the Bastille.

After all, they had a Queen so out of touch with the sufferings of the poor that she famously declaimed "let them eat cake" when told that the people had no bread to eat. Actually she said "let them eat brioche." Which is actually just another kind of bread. That is still insensitive, but it's more sensitive than "let them eat Krispy Kremes" which are more like cake than brioche.

My point is that when people are hungry, they don't really give a damn what food you aren't giving them. They just want something to eat. Now in the the end the French revolution kind of . . . sucked. So much so that within a very few years, representatives of the Old Regime had clawed their way back to the top of the French heap and they stayed there for a long time.

The practice of law is not unlike that. When I say, "like that" I mean "disappointing". Okay, there is almost no cake involved in the practice of law. Tyrants, reigns of terror and angry mobs, however, abound. Really, you ask? Yes, I answer. A colleague once told me that she had a habit of asking every lawyer she met whether "they would do it again." According to this colleague she had never met a lawyer who had answered "yes." That is sad. Well it's sad to me because I have to work with these people who spend their lives doing a job they hate. But I understand them.

This is a stressful profession. As a lawyer you spend an enormous amount of time trying to convince other people to do things that they do not want to do. And many of those people are angry. Almost always because they are in pain or in fear. Plaintiffs fear that they will not get enough and Defendants fear paying too much. And almost always those fears are realized. I don't know why, but that seems to be the way it goes. At least in my experience. Actually I do know why. It's because Plaintiffs want too much and Defendants don't want to pay enough. Nobody is ever 100% in the right. If you were, you would not be in Court.

That does not mean, however that you aren't a little right, or kind of right, or even a lot right. On occasion you might be 100% right. That's how you probably feel even if you fall within one of the other categories. Regardless of whether you are entitled to recover a little or a lot, the truth is that you have a right of redress to the law. And it is important that you know that.

The law is there to provide a vehicle for you to seek redress for your grievances, even if your grievances do not involve catastrophic injuries or "headline" grabbing drama. Sometimes those of us who practice law forget that. Just because your case is small, or you are not as right as you thought you were, you still deserve justice.

Having said all of that, I guess I would do it again. Maybe . . .

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