Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Yesterday I found out that some buddies of mine were in the midst of a trial. Spontaneously, I decided to spend the day watching their trial, as my nod to solidarity. These are guys I have known for a long time. We co-counsel cases, either with me helping them out on their cases, or vice versa.. Great guys. Truly they are some of the best people on the planet. I take some credit for the current legal partnership, since I was the one who introduced one of them to the other one, who brought in the third. Within a year, they were a law firm.

Surprising the gang at the courthouse was a blast, with hugs all around. Watching the trial was the best. Then the whole day (at the courthouse, at the local restaurant where we ate lunch - called "Heroes and Legends," of all things), I ran into my old crowd, from lawyers to court staff to the security guys who check through my purse. "Hey, we haven't seen you around!" is what I heard mostly (which is true - my legal work for awhile has been in courts other than this one). And also, I heard comments on the baseball novel. See, I'm the only published novelist in the group. I think they are proud of me.

As I watched the trial, and ran into these folks, I was a little sad. You know, I'm a really good lawyer. Lots of lawyers are. But I do have a talent for it - legal argument over trial work, but still. Seeing this world again, all day long, made me realize that I really am walking away from something tangible. And that's okay. I no longer want this to be my reality. And yet - it's a lot of fun, too. The camaraderie, the orchestrating.... Managing a legal case is much like directing an orchestra, while simultaneously playing a lot of the instruments too. Ah, yes. I need to remember. The law is tedious, demanding, stressful and exhausting. It's not the kind of job that can be left at the office. Too much is at stake. People's lives are at stake - their hopes, their dreams, oftentimes their freedom.... And justice. Don't forget justice. Justice is always at stake. There is nothing easy about this profession. I am glad to be leaving it.

But then, on days like yesterday, like a woman with a newborn who forgets how much pain the labor was, I think that maybe I could stay in the law. That I will miss it too much if I don't. I think about how lucky I have been, throughout my legal career, to work with like-minded lawyers who also have believed in fighting for that amorphous concept of justice. We're not that common, yet the stars aligned throughout my legal career to let me find these kinds of colleagues often. "Can I throw all of this away?" I thought to myself yesterday, in the midst of the whirl of remembrance.

Then there was this moment of grace. Suddenly at the restaurant, all my worlds collided. There was the law, of course, in the form of lawyers. But there was the political too (as I ran into some men that I met on the campaign trail). And then there was the writing, not just because people raised the subject of my novel but because, in the midst of lunch, I got a call from one of the Idaho movie guys (I'm working with an Idaho film group called KNIFVES), and then I saw one of the KNIFVES members in the restaurant itself, just as he was leaving. His name is the same name as one of the prosecutors I happened to run into.

And so I could realize - there will be joy in any profession. I can do good work wherever I am. The writing carries the potential of reaching out to many people (still time-consuming, but in a way that is different from the law). And I will love it. I love to tell stories - to think of them, to imagine them alive, to tell them in a way that helps other people. So maybe, now and then, some of those stories that I tell can do justice to justice. Maybe one day, all my worlds can fit in the same room together. Now that would be something else.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Writer, Lawyer, Friend, Politician, Humanitarian...Beth,
I am so enjoying your daily blogs. I've always loved how your mind works...and it does work so well. I like that you are young and vital, and that you are always READY for the latest and greatest challenges that are presented to you. Your enthusiasm and courage remind me of ME about a hundred years ago. So, my dear one, as I slow down...becoming more and more selective in my efforts at joyous accomplishment...please, please, continue to fill my soul with the dreams of Women Who Run with the Wolves. Namaste! Gay