After a long day of work, I called a client at 11:38 on Saturday night to confirm the resolution of a long and hard-fought lawsuit. An attorney in our Houston office and my paralegal immediately emailed, thanking me that they could stop working around the clock to prepare the case for trial. My work day started at 5 am, checking out the Hurricane Ike forecast. Following a two hour run with my St. Petersburg running buddies, I was on a plane with David Pettinato, our firm’s hardest working attorney. We flew to Ft. Lauderdale to meet with public adjusters and sign the closing of a large case David recently won.
While driving to the meeting, I was on a conference call with another firm attorney, Craig Kubiak, and co-counsel regarding a case in Destin, Florida. That case has a mediation in two weeks. We set responsibilities for tasks and strategy for trial preparation, assuming Citizens Property Insurance will not see things our way.
In our firm’s plane on the way back to Tampa, David and I went over strategy for other cases, discussed staffing those cases, and logistical considerations regarding our expanded office space in Tampa. After working hard during the work week, David gave up his Saturday to work.
Before going to see my beloved Gators play the Miami Hurricanes, I called our firm’s managing attorney, Mary Kestenbaum, to discuss Ike, the meetings in Ft. Lauderdale, her concerns regarding the pending trial and possible settlement, as well as the need for claims practice investigation in a bad faith case.
In law school, professors warn that law is worse than a jealous mistress. She wants all your time. A commercial client of mine whose son is a lawyer told me he sees how hard his son works to be successful and that the work never stops. He did not understand why we don’t use our efforts to make more money through easier endeavors. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people working harder at more stressful jobs. But I truly enjoy the bond with my legal colleagues who take their responsibilities seriously. In this business, your work for others truly never stops. The legal dispute resolution industry is a very serious, 24/7 endeavor with potentially life altering consequences for those we represent. Most outside the legal business, including our clients, never see this routine aspect of our work.