Being an Advocate

Posted: July 16, 2010 in Justice

Houston has been a terrific experience so far. I can’t believe two of my six weeks here are already in the books!

Andy and Jennifer (and Murphy) are absolutely wonderful hosts. In addition to sharing their beautiful home with me, they have gone out of their way to make me feel comfortable so far away from my home. They actually framed a picture of my family and put it on the chest of drawers in my room so I could see my girls first thing in the morning and last thing at night!

Houston is cool. Well, it’s steaming hot weather-wise, but the city itself is cool. My chief complaints were the thunderstorms that greeted my first couple of days of work (Malibu has me spoiled) and the fact that I don’t care for toll roads. But. On the flip side, I attended an entire three-game MLB series for the first time in my life at the very cool Minute Maid Park (where my Cards took 2 out of 3, my friend Andy caught a foul ball, and I got to see my friends, Tom and Laura!). The food choices are terrific (“59 Diner” may be my favorite so far!), the cost of living is crazy good, and the people are nice. You can count me among those that have nice things to say about Houston.

Working at the Lanier Law Firm is simply phenomenal. I may not have literally learned more in the past two weeks than I did in the past two years of law school, but it feels like it. I have sat in on client interviews, attended depositions, and traveled to federal court for an oral argument on a summary judgment motion in a billion dollar case. I have worked on interesting research projects for four different attorneys, and I have drafted a petition and discovery requests. I have had audiences with several attorneys who have shared advice on the intricacies of being a lawyer. I have had the opportunity to jump on the Westlaw Next bandwagon, which is about the coolest thing ever. I have attended a briefing on the status of the BP oil spill litigation.

Not bad for two weeks.

In addition to the work itself and all the full-time employees, I also get to work with five impressive summer associates: Johnny & Drew from Texas Tech, David from Baylor, Melissa from Harvard, and Stephanie from good old Pepperdine.

So, as you can tell, I can go on and on about all the good things going on for me in Houston. But what might be the best thing of all is that I’ve been reminded of what makes me tick, and that is being an advocate.

Being a houseparent at Children’s Homes may have been the first time I really felt it: standing up for abused, neglected, and troubled children.

Being a Habitat for Humanity junkie was probably the next instance: standing up for those living in poverty housing.

Being at ground zero in Hurricane Katrina stands as the most dramatic: standing up for a community in the midst of devastation.

Being a CASA volunteer touched me deeply: standing up for what’s best for children in need.

Being a law clerk at Public Counsel last summer was another unforgettable opportunity: standing up for the homeless in Los Angeles.

Similarly, helping head up the sack lunch program for the Malibu Labor Exchange has been an amazing experience: standing up for the modern-day Lazaruses that sit outside the rich man’s gates hoping for some crumbs.

And now, in just these two weeks, in the middle of all the coolness of lawyer life, I have already noticed these same instances that turn me on—meeting with a client who was fired for getting hurt; talking to a client whose business was screwed by liars; researching the law and constructing an argument to bring about justice for people who have been dealt injustice.

Standing up for people is fuel to me. Because I absolutely love being an advocate.

That’s who I am, and that’s what I do.

  1. J D says:

    Al, in some way this post makes me sooo happy! Glad your Houston experience is going so well and you’re so jazzed about it. I think it makes me happy because you seem so happy about all of it. Good going friend!

  2. alsturgeon says:

    Thank you, John. It likewise makes me happy that it makes you happy that I’m happy. What?

    Well, thanks again. 🙂

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