This book is dedicated to the three unnamed clients who changed our view on law practice of over 30 years. Their lives shifted our perspective about “lawyering” and caused us, over 20 years ago, to be in the forefront of what now is called a “holistic” law.
One client represented himself in a federal whistleblower case. The government rewarded him for turning in unethical practices by firing him and promoting the person who was doing wrong. Our law firm agreed to take his pro se case which is unusual, but we felt there were grounds, so the case went to the U.S. Court of Appeals. After years of fighting on his own for vindication, our client anxiously awaited at home for that final decision. Usually the U.S. Court of Appeals writes long pages justifying the outcome. In this case the court issued only one sentence:
Soon after, our client committed suicide.
The other client, a victim of age discrimination, also lost his case after years of court battles. A strong swimmer, he despondently left for a spin around a lake on a jet ski and mysteriously never returned.
The last client was a dynamic innovator and thinker who fought age discrimination in tenure at a major educational institution. The case lingered for so long that he died of cancer awaiting a decision, and although he was aware he had won his case, he never fully savored the sweetness of his victory.
These clients changed our lives. Their angst became our angst, and we realized, as attorneys we could no longer just be advocates and counselors. We would have to take on roles to help our clients emotionally and physically as well as ourselves. We would have to gain a healthy perspective about law practice and we would have to learn the secrets of happiness and well being, not only for ourselves, but for the sake.