“The Guy You Love to Hate”

Posted: May 23, 2010 in Justice

Well, after a week off from school (including a cross-country trip), it is time to get to work on the first of my two successive summer jobs. I will spend the first half of the summer doing research for Dean Jim Gash, and I am looking forward to that very much. It will be a herky-jerky start because Dean Gash is hosting several members of the Ugandan judiciary right now, but by week’s end, I’m sure we will have found our groove.

The second half of my summer will be spent working for the Lanier Law Firm in Houston, Texas, and I am looking forward to that very much, too. Dean Starr introduced me to the famed trial attorney, Mark Lanier; in fact, Dean Starr also introduced me to the Ugandan justices after church this morning, and that I’ll be working for Lanier this summer was the first thing he told them about me. It really is a special opportunity to work for such a well-known trial attorney, but given the fact that my primary legal interest is in the plaintiff’s bar, I consider it an extra special opportunity.

And this summer just might be even more interesting than normal.

First of all, the Lanier Law Firm recently established a strong foothold in the impending Toyota litigation. Second of all, they jumped into the “oil spill” litigation, too. I don’t know if I’ll get the chance to work on either one, but regardless, business should be hopping around the office.

I wanted to share THIS LINK of a short video clip from Fox News where Stuart Varney interviews Mark Lanier about the oil spill litigation. My favorite part comes even before the interview starts when Varney describes Lanier as “the guy you love to hate.” That makes him my sort of guy from the very start.

Just recently, I was talking to someone who said that the funny thing about lawyers is that people tend to hate them until they need a good one, and then he/she is your best friend in the entire world. That’s what draws me to plaintiff’s work in particular. Who is willing to take the risk of standing up for the powerless against the powerful? You can count me in.

Sure, there are greedy, sleazy trial attorneys. In fact, I have yet to locate the profession that doesn’t have folks deserving those two adjectives somewhere in the mix. And sure, it’s easy to sit on your couch (or television news anchor chair) and criticize people for filing those lawsuits — especially easy when you are part of the powerful. But it’s not so easy to be those fishermen whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed by a massive corporation that has yet to show up with a checkbook.

I love that Mark Lanier stands up and asks for justice. I would like to make it my business to do that, too.

Who knows what the future holds in terms of my legal career. This next year should prove telling as to that direction, and I am open to practically any direction in which I am pointed. But if you asked me right now how I’d prefer to earn my keep in the legal world, I’d go with anything that resembles standing up against the powerful on behalf of the powerless. Yes, that’s my choice.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” — Proverbs 31: 8-9

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