I represented a boy on a personal injury case one time. It’s the only time I have represented a child. The case went to trial with a jury. We won a verdict in our favor.
The boy was about 8 years old when the injury occurred. He was 11-12 by the time we had the trial. As usually happens when you have a case that is going to trial, the attorney client relationship acquires a good deal of intensity and depth, because preparing for trial is difficult and stressful, both for the attorney and the client. I have likened the process to the bond that forms between shipmates from the Navy, a relationship with which I am also quite familiar.
There’s something about shared hardship, strife and uncertainty while being involved in an open conflict that engenders strong attachments between the participants. This is a well known phenomenon in the Navy. I have friends from varying stages of life like everyone else; but many of the guys I went to sea with are more like brothers than mere friends. This feeling among shipmates was very common. Universal, even.
Representing a child in a personal injury case is more difficult than representing an adult, precisely because the attorney client relationship is complicated by that very fact. The attorney client relationship always requires quite a bit of thought and effort and management, a reality that is increasingly lost on others in the system – like the majority of judges – who have never represented an individual human being in their lives. It’s a big part of the picture.