I start a trial tomorrow. I haven't actually tried a case since last October, so I am excited to get back into the courtroom & throw down again. Trials are very stressful but they also can be very exhilarating. It's the ultimate in lawyering. It's my own personal Law & Order episode. It's when I get to be on stage & have the courtroom's attention. And it's when it becomes even more apparent to me that my clients' lives & futures are in my hands.
They always are, of course, but once we get to trial, the client is basically just along for the ride. They want a trial & then it's on me to do the work. The client doesn't make opening & closing statements. The client doesn't cross-examine witnesses. The client doesn't make objections. That's all on me. One error, one oversight, & I could mess up a possible appeal issue or overlook inadmissible evidence. That's all on me. The client is relying on me to fight, and fight hard, to win the case. The client can only sit & watch while I do the work & can only hope & pray I do it right. I cannot imagine how powerless that must make someone feel. It's an enormous responsibility we as defense attorneys are given & I try to always remember that.
I can't even understand how a client feels after a verdict. I am either horribly crushed & sick or I am over-the-moon elated & my feet don't even seem to be on the ground. And it isn't even me who deals w/ the outcome. After a verdict is read in any case, no matter how big or small, no matter win or lose, I go back to the office & get back to work. I go home & eat dinner. I get to watch some tv & cuddle with my cats & go to sleep in my own bed. A verdict will never affect my life other than on an emotional level. But clients face the consequences, good or bad, of a verdict. So if I am that crushed or that elated about a verdict, I can't even imagine what a client must feel.
That's why I do essentially nothing but trial during a trial. My life outside of work comes to a halt & every moment is spent on trial work. Because at the end of the day, at the end of a trial, I always go home. And if my clients don't get to do that, I want to know I did everything I could & put everything I had into that trial, regardless of the verdict. If I don't know that, I would never be able to live with myself.
So, tomorrow I start another courtroom battle. I take on the awesome & overwhelming responsibility of fighting for someone who can't fight for themselves. Tomorrow, I have my client's life & future in my hands.
Let's get ready to rumble.