RDM’s Roundup

The Earle Hagen Memorial Golf, Tennis and Poker Tournament committee is thrilled to announce that the proceeds of the 7th annual tournament of $28,987.11 were donated to Public Counsel’s Debtor Assistance Project this year.  The tourney has now generated over $200,000 for Public Counsel in its seven year history.

As most if not all of you know by now, the bankruptcy community lost Jim King in February.  The tourney was his baby and we are proud to have honored his leadership in organizing the event for so many years, and his extraordinary pro bono contributions throughout his legal career.

Switching gears a bit, I got the best compliment after a contested Chapter 11 confirmation hearing yesterday: acknowledgment of my (sometimes brutal) honestly at the podium. My heart sang! I am a fierce believer that as a lawyer (and even as a human!), our reputation is priceless. Once dinged, it is pretty hard to shine it up back to perfection. I cringe every time a new introduction makes a shyster attorney-type joke after learning about my profession. I generally smile politely (although I might unconsciously be making dagger-eyes at them) and do not bother making a comeback about how many martinis they have had — but I wonder what it will take to have society gain trust in lawyers (again?).

When I was a brand-new attorney my favorite thing to do was listen to other attorneys at the podium (and it still is!). Not only is that a great way to learn the law, you can quickly figure out what type of approach works when making an argument. Definitely do that — oh no, never do that. I never minded having to wait through a long calendar as I was bound to learn at least one thing that would help me down the line. I am so grateful that Prof. (Jon Hayes – I doubt I will ever be able to call him Jon) encouraged me to stay in the courtroom even after my matter was concluded so I could soak up knowledge. This makes me think about how hard it must be to be a judge – they have to meander through allegations that a debtor is a “deadbeat” or a creditor is a “crook” and decide what is “right.”

As I am now no longer a brand-new attorney (these six years have flown by!), I hope that the frankness with which I approach each argument and hearing (and interactions with colleagues for that matter) combined with getting the result I want from the court will perhaps stand out to a new lawyer here or there.  The anniversary of my bar results is in a couple of days and I am feeling sentimental – I promise that the next roundup will be less sappy!

-rdm

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