Tuesday, October 20, 2009

may it please the court…

I was, of course, mesmerized.

I was also tired. Up at 3, one flight in the dark, one just at sunrise.


I force myself to work in the air and that's good. Like taking a sedative.

In New York, I blow $29 on a cab because I have a chance to get to the Court House for the “all rise” part (i.e. the very beginning).


Why the cabbie gets bogged down in Brooklyn before crossing over to Manhattan is one of those mysteries of urban life, but no matter. I arrive on time. And he gets a fine tip. Make that then $35.

The courthouse has many, many security measures at the point of entry, ones that are at odds with security measures at airports. I wonder which ones are more effective.

I enter. Such an old, old court room...


...And then all assemble...


...and the trial begins. Except not really. The pre-lunch session is a review of motions and objections. I had forgotten about all this. I hadn’t been in court on a client case in nearly ten years. I had forgotten the dynamics. I had, most of all, forgotten how nothing, absolutely nothing beats being sharp and prepared. And honorable.

We recess for lunch and the team of attorneys ushers us to a place where lots of judges and lawyers eat. They then tactfully leave us alone, thinking surely Ed wants to take the time to celebrate his birthday with his occasional traveling companion. (Eh.. everyday's a birthday!)

We walk back amidst a flurry of last minute words about strategy, and litigation, and me asking -- why does the court allow these kinds of lawsuits to go forward?


At the trial, following opening statements, Ed begins to testify. He does well and even manages a wry laugh when asked the date of his birth. Today actually. Really? The judge is surprised. (Wry laugh.) You should have told us earlier. (Boisterous laugh now. Because what -- would they have sang a round of happy birthday then?) The judge, a no nonsense woman, has a sense of humor.

Today’s segment of the trail ended at five. Actually two minutes before five. Mustn’t run the stenographer and guard into overtime.

My older daughter is in town for her own lawyerly work and she sits with me for part of the proceeding. To compare notes and to reflect some more, I think, on the legal process.

She, Ed and I take a long walk and finally settle in for an end of the day drink: me: glass of wine; daughter: half a glass of wine; Ed (stripped now of his courthouse finery): do you have diet ginger ale? (they don’t).



My daughter takes off for DC and Ed and I walk through the Village. You know the streets – Bleeker, Spring, MacDougal, Cornelia.


At Cornelia, we stop at a place I thought he might like – Pearl’s Oyster Bar.

We eat oysters and share a lobster and I can’t say the evening feels celebratory and yet it does.


I’ll leave tomorrow, quite early actually, but I know things are moving forward and I have great respect for the attorneys who have worked so hard on this case, to do well by Ed (and, therefore, by his parents).

On a lighter note, I cannot believe that I had the opportunity to see Ed in a suit and tie (see photos above). Forget the docksiders. I know no sane person would wear brown docksiders with a bluish gray pinstripe suit, but I have to believe the judge never noticed. If she did, she never let on.