Wolf glare

Wolf glare

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A bitter pill I'm proud to swallow.

Just for clarification, my license has not been suspended ... yet. If it is suspended, I will likely never be able to have it reinstated because I will never agree that it isn't my job, as an attorney and a US citizen, to call out a judge who ignores the law; who abuses her authority and who denies due process to litigants and that it isn't my sworn duty to call attention to those transgressions to the public, which is the last and only remaining check on judicial authority.
This Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board disagrees with me and now the Louisiana Supreme Court will ultimately decide, but it's obvious from the LADB's recommendation that it and I have completely different notions of what is honorable and ethical and what an attorney's duty is to the profession and who it serves.
The thing I keep coming back to is, why do I care? Why even fight? If You, the People, don't care, why should I? This country is, on paper anyway, a democracy and I believe in the democratic process. Clearly, my idea of what it means to be honorable and to serve my clients is not the majority view within the profession, if the LADB's opinion is representative. If this is the system you all want, then the democratic process says you can have it.
It's not like losing my license at this point is going to be some huge financial blow. I never made enough money to live on as an attorney because I did so much pro bono work. I just wanted to help people. If I have to choose between helping people and keeping my license then the license is meaningless.
Do I sound bitter? I am, a little, but not because of my license, or the accusations, or even the fight itself. I'm proud of my conduct. I'm proud of the fight. Whatever the outcome, I will be no less proud of what I've done because in doing it, I was true to the oath I took, to uphold the law and to advocate for justice for my clients.
I've lost so much respect for the Bar that my license just looks like blackmail to me anymore. I'm ashamed of the profession and what the LADB has done in its name, and what it has allowed to go on in its name, in plain view, while it turns a blind eye. I am embarrassed to tell people I'm an attorney because the LADB's opinion legitimizes so much of what people despise about attorneys and judges. To keep that license, according to the LADB, I have to become what I despise. That's not any kind of choice at all, and I have no problems choosing to keep my convictions. I'm proud, not bitter, to make that choice.
I'm bitter because the justice system that I believe in - the one that actually involves justice - is about to get ground under the heel of the status quo that you all seem to never stop complaining about - and none of you can be bothered to care, though no doubt, it won't stop any of you from complaining incessantly about how broken it is.
I am besieged daily by requests to sign petitions and to protest any number of goings-on in this parish and beyond, from fracking to term limits to saving the whales, wild horses, illegal immigrants, legal immigrants - I could go on all day - and am constantly sought out by people who want the benefit of my legal training - for free - which I still give whenever I can.
As important as all of those things are, no one, other than me and those closest to me, seem even a little bit worried about what it means if the Louisiana Supreme Court sees fit to take my license. No one seems outraged by the LADB's recommendations, analysis, or blatant misrepresentation of the facts which support their conclusions and recommendations. No one is even a little bit concerned about the inherent validation by the LADB of this legal system that you all constantly complain about.
That makes me bitter. Not a pretty truth, but truth nonetheless.
At this point, keep my license, lose my license, personally, it hardly seems to matter. It's just a piece of paper and with it or without it, I'm the same person with the same convictions. But if the Supreme Court agrees that what I did in representing my client is sanctionable, then you're damn right it matters to the legal system.
So, can I get a little help here, or what?