Daily Archives: December 4, 2011

Cramped Views

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.

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