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Today was one of my better days because I heard Tom Mesereau speak. You may not recognize the name, but click on THIS LINK and see his picture (and read about him), and you’ll recognize the person.
Tom came to speak at Pepperdine this year on the topic of “Defending the Unpopular Client,” and I was disappointed that I was unable to attend. Thankfully, he came to Public Counsel today, and I was able to benefit from his wisdom. He exceeded my already high expectations.
It has been an adventure trying to find my way in this profession called “law,” and this summer has allowed me to finally discover a path. Now, I have every intention of becoming what is called a “plaintiff’s lawyer” – and a good one at that. The more accurate description is that I hope to be a civil litigator, but the best way to get the picture across to you is to get a picture in your mind of the cheesy commercials / backs of telephone books with car-salesman-looking guys saying, “If you’ve ever been in an accident…” You know, the ambulance chasers. The people who give lawyers a bad name. That’s where I’m headed.
And I get the negative connotations. But I’ll tell you, if you ever really ARE in an unfortunate situation and find yourself screwed over by insurance companies or other assorted large corporations, you’ll want me to be there. And you’ll want me to be good.
Tom Mesereau is a criminal defense attorney, and not a civil litigator. But we’re kindred spirits. And I’m not saying he’s Jesus or anything, but his reputation of being a friend of tax collectors and sinners is a lot more like the real Jesus’s than any church folk I’ve ever met.
Two bits of wisdom especially resonated with me today:
1. Tom has two goals: to exonerate innocent people, and to make sure the system isn’t abused by those with power. The latter is my kind of goal.
2. Tom said that the old saying that law school asks you to check your common sense at the door on the way in and then forgets to give it back on the way out is true. In the end, a trial lawyer must be able to connect with the common people. He’s speaking my language.
I have finally determined that I want to be a trial lawyer. And I want to be good at it. Now I’m lucky to be at Pepperdine because I want to be an excellent negotiator/mediator, too, and I hope in the future that I will negotiate many an appropriate settlement with wealthy corporations who should pay for damage they have caused to others. But if these big gorillas in the world jungle aren’t willing to bring about justice, I want to be able to connect with a jury of citizens in such a way that justice will be served.
I guess I’ve wondered what sixteen years of teaching and preaching were leading to next. I think I’m starting to see where.
VOLLEYBALL: #3 Pepperdine moved to 13-2 with a commanding win over #9, UC-San Diego last night, and my family was there rooting them on. It was a blowout, but a blowout is still fun when you’re on the winning side.
BASKETBALL: Well, Hillary’s bracket is busted now. She had Memphis going all the way. One of my brackets is in pretty ugly shape, but the other is still in play. We’ll see how it shapes up by the time the weekend is over and the Final Four is set.
BASEBALL: It is good to be getting spring training scores from the Redbirds on my homepage. I kind of like the possibilities for the Cards this year – as always, my concern is pitching (especially the closer).
LITERATURE: I actually started reading a book for fun a few days ago, and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve had “Summer of ‘49” by David Halberstam for quite awhile. Actually, it has been on my nightstand for quite awhile, but for some reason I finally started it. Maybe it is the fact that baseball season is practically here! Reading mostly about Joltin’ Joe Dimaggio last night…
SPRING FOOTBALL: Read a quick synopsis on the Razorbacks this spring, and it looks like we have some pretty good possibilities for the coming year. Have to say, living in Malibu is cool. I miss friends and family back in the South, but outside of people, the main thing that I miss is living/breathing SEC football.
We get a new class this semester in addition to the same ones from last semester: criminal law. I’m already convinced that the subject matter will prove interesting, and at least we will be dealing with some terms that anyone who watches television knows – like “beyond a reasonable doubt,” “double jeopardy,” and “presumed innocent.”
I look forward to later this morning when I will meet our course instructor, Professor Samuel Levine.
In reading the introductory material, I discovered some eye-popping statistics. From 1925 to 1972, the American prison population was fairly stable, about 110 citizens incarcerated out of every 100,000. Since 1972, however, the population has skyrocketed – in 2005, the number stood at 738 per 100,000. Further, men are ten times more likely to be in prison than women, black persons five times more likely than white persons, and put together this one boggles the mind – one out of every three black males in this country is incarcerated.
There is a racist answer to that disparity that I am unfortunately well-versed in, but I don’t buy it in the least. I anticipate some interesting class discussions over the course of the next few months.
Today would’ve been my dad’s 88th birthday. Kind of hard to believe.
Born the same year as Pope John Paul II. And Walter Matthau. And Charlie Parker. Actually a year older than Betty Crocker. And Nancy Reagan. And Lana Turner.
The year my dad was born women were granted the right to vote. Prohibition began. The Yankees bought Babe Ruth. The first commercial radio station in the U.S. was launched. The hair drayer was invented. And the National Football League formed.
Life expectancy was in the early 50s. Average annual earnings was just over $1,200.
The years just keep flying away.
We woke up to a gorgeous view last Friday morning. It was unfortunate that our arms and legs weren’t working. Like slime, we oozed out of bed, downstairs, back to our apartment, and began settling in. This was last Friday.
Well, in between all the oozing, we took a couple of pics of the view from the Drescher Graduate Campus at Pepperdine (up where our hotel was Friday evening).
Well, two more days and I’m out of here. Close to ten years of my life known as a “preacher” in Ocean Springs. In the midst of the varying emotions and chaos of the past couple of days, I have had a blast hanging out with Rodney Britt who has come to take it from here.
The name Rodney Britt is well-known among many Church of Christ folks, the original bass singer from the group Acappella. In just a short time, I now know him as a friend.
Leaving isn’t easy. Leaving people you love in excellent hands makes it way easier.