Saturday, February 28, 2009

Time and Trial

I had a class last night for which the topic was time management. All work and no play takes all the fun out of work. The pace will not relent, so I have to do the best I can to stay calm when madness spins about me.

I have a trial starting in a week. But I still don't know what I'll be arguing, because my young clients don't know what they want.

Of course they don't know. Two strangers just rolled into their house today and said: so, there's a trial coming up and if the judge finds that your parent did something wrong, you could get put in foster care. If the judge says your parent didn't do anything wrong, it goes back to the way it was before: you don't go to therapy anymore, and there's no more order of protection for your parent not to hit you.

How could we have even expected the kids to have a ready answer to that kind of question? We phrased it much less confusingly than the example above (I hope).

We'll probably have to interview the kids again before the trial, even though it's very disruptive for the family.

I honestly don't know if I could bear doing this kind of work on a daily basis. Someone needs to do it. Someone, like me, whose heart breaks for his clients, will probably be the most dedicated advocate for the kids. But someone like me, who might be haunted by his cases 24/7, is especially susceptible to burnout. I have 3 cases right now. Legal Aid children's attorneys have as many as 150 cases at a time.