Those who know me know that I love motorcycling. My 2000 Honda Goldwing “Blue Mistress” and I ride about 15,000 miles/year. To be fair, these are always working trips. I take the laptop. I take the Android. I spend a few hours each evening in the motel du jour catching up on calls and emails and briefs and memos.
In an odd way, I see my thousands of miles of riding; be it to the Keys in Spring or the Outer Banks in Summertime or New England or the Rockies in the Fall as an analogy to the practice of law. Follow me here. So many legal cases are a long and winding road. Civil litigation, divorces, custody battles can be a long haul, like riding to Key West or Bar Harbor, Maine. Conversely, criminal cases and some bankruptcies come and go pretty quickly; like a nice one-day 300-mile ride around Southeastern Ohio.
All cases have their risks, as does riding a motorcycle. Yet like riding my beloved 900-pound Goldwing, I see many folks gain satisfaction through the legal process. There can be bumps and obstacles in the pursuit of justice, like a closed road, a rainstorm, or a slug of bad gasoline on a ride. But in both cases, its often the pursuit of justice or the ride itself that provides the satisfaction, not just getting to the end.
For clients, they want positive outcomes, which of course is reasonable. However, I have been in this line of work long enough now to see that not all cases end in success. Don’t get me wrong. We win far more than we lose. Indeed, getting to a successful destination on a motorcycle, say Duval Street on Key West or Cape Hatteras in the Outer Banks or Cabot’s Trail on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia is really gratifying, just as helping our clients complete an equitable divorce, a successful discharge of debts in a bankruptcy, or a reduced charge and no jail time in criminal defense.
Aside from joys with my family, nothing beats the feel of a long motorcycle trip when the weather is wonderful and the bike feels like an appendage of my body. Likewise, nothing beats victory in court; seeing the tears of joy in a client’s eye when they realize they can move forward in his or her life. Keep moving forward!