Lawyer-Human Moment

I had a lawyer-human moment today.
I was at the drop-in legal clinic at GLIDE. Another attorney was meeting with a client. After the client left, the attorney told me about his case. He had a police brutality claim; he alleged that the police committed some truly awful acts, including physical abuse and getting him fired from the job. The attorney said, “He has a great set of facts to bring a claim. If it was up to me, I’d represent him and sue the living daylights out of the police.”
The lawyer side of me got excited hearing about his story. We could do something about it! We could fix it! We could use his story to challenge the horrible abuses of the police!
But I needed to remember the human side of me. What happened to this man, if true, is absolutely wretched. No one should experience what he has gone through. Whatever remedy he receives will not take away the pain and humiliation that he has experienced.
Today was another reminder that in a perfect world, my job would not exist. Yes, I am honestly excited to hear about injustice, because I am equipped to do something about it (as soon as I get sworn in as a lawyer). But I need to remember that real people are experiencing real harms, and that my excitement of taking on a new case cannot eclipse their experience of suffering.

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