Shopping in Hannaford is hard for me.

Attending kindergarten soccer games is a challenge.

Walking my dog at the beach can be filled with emotional land mines.

Why?

I am a lawyer. I sue people. I defend people in criminal cases where there are sympathetic victims.

Walk into Hannaford?

In either Aisle 1, or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5, I am PROBABLY going to run into someone who I am suing, or have sued. Or a person my law partner has opposed in a divorce case.

Walk into the stands of a kindergarten soccer game?

Try sitting in front of someone whose brother had his car sideswiped by a drunk driver who you are representing in the criminal case. No fun. Cheap comments. Verbal barbs. Sometimes eight or 10 people moving away from you.

Dogwalking at the beach? It is isolated; people feel freer to give speeches there. No one listening. “Did you know your client cheated on my neighbor, Jack? Do you know she ripped his heart out? And was having an affair in their Sugarloaf condo for three years?!”

I don’t mind car accidents. Sue a lady in town for a guy; she has insurance; any settlement or jury verdict will not affect her personally.

I also can tolerate land-boundary disputes; regardless of who wins, it is just dirt they are fighting over. Life goes on.

The hardest, most gut-wrenching stuff is criminal cases.

Defend a guy in a bar fight assault case?

The victim, who may live on the other side of 04074, will not appreciate your involvement. Plain as that. Set aside the law school B.S. you are taught about “Everyone is entitled to have a lawyer represent them,” etc. etc. It is just that – B.S.

American loves the Constitution – if it is enforced to benefit THEM, and not necessarily other people, and certainly not if an enforcement harms them, and also if the enforcement/interpretation is foreign to their political beliefs.

So why do I do it? Why do I take controversial cases?

Three reasons: 1. I believe the corny stuff – it is the right thing to do; people ARE entitled to lawyers if charged with crimes; 2. Eventually, people will accept your position if it is a correct, logical, reasonable one; and 3. If you do a good job, and the victim sees that, they will respect you – and – gratifyingly, will hire you in the future, and say, “I once hated you when you represented the person I was opposed to in that case years ago. But I learned to respect you. You are a good lawyer. I want to hire you now for my own interests.”

How has that worked out for me? So so….

Do it all because you want to.

Having Hannaford be difficult, or kindergarten soccer games be an uneasy experience, or turning a dog beach walk into a game of hide and go seek is not cool. That’s OK. I made my bed 32 years ago, as my late mother would say. I will now lie in it.

Dan Warren is a Scarborough trial lawyer. He can be reached by private Facebook message at Jones & Warren Attorneys at Law page, or by email at [email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.