Monday, January 4, 2016
don't hate me; i wrote this
here is the almost complete version (barring some name changes i had to do to protect identities) of what i wrote to federal southern district sitting judge because she wanted me to get punished and resent it, like i would be somehow humbled, or stumble over my words, not at all realizing that i really like to write basically anything and everything, especially when i have free reign on the general topic. the assignment was 750 words minimum, my fucking wheelhouse, so me being the asshole kid that i am, well i wrote over 2,500 words just to waste her time and entertain myself, and anyone else who deigns to google this.
November 06, 2015
Honorable [Federal] Judge:
“In America, the idea of going to college is just like the idea of prosperity is just around the corner, it was supposed to solve something or everything or something because all you had to do was learn what they taught and then everything else was going to be handled; instead of that, and just like prosperity that was never around the corner but a couple miles at least (and false prosperity --) going to college by acquainting me with all the mad elements of life, such as the sensibilities, books, arts, histories of madness, and fashions, has not only made it impossible for me to learn simple tricks of how to earn a living but has deprived me of any one-time innocent belief in my own thoughts that used to make me handle my own destiny. So now I sit and stew in a sophistication which has taken hold of me just exactly like a disease.” –Jack Kerouac
IT MIGHT BE SOMEWHAT UNCLEAR if I am sending the right letter or you are thinking maybe I’m skirting around a large part of the instructions or disrespecting the process of explanation or hesitating or procrastinating or some other sort of passive aggressive perhaps narcissistic showing of ambivalence or indifference, all fine guesses but I assure you that I am not; that is not my intention with this letter. In this case I feel that we got off on the wrong foot for some reason I cannot fathom and in order to do this assignment well, I feel the need to provide some kind of early context. So here goes.
LIKE MANY OF MY GENERATIONAL COMPATRIOTS, I got caught up in an asphyxiating, absolutely anemic economy of zero-eight where only one year of law school was going to do exactly nothing in the long run or the short run to help my eventual career so I forged ahead instead of dropping out and became just another nowhere kid with too much education and nothing productive to do with it, the cliché of nowhereness, the reason people now tell their little children, just say ‘No’ to higher education. But I said ‘Yes,’ unfortunately, and mistakes of twenty-two always come back to haunt you, and now I am definitely haunted by the paths I took at that early age. Anyway, upon graduation and bar passage, it no longer became responsible or even feasible (in fact it would have been pathetically immature and definitely not ideal) to run off to New York and be a writer, so I resigned myself to be the lawyer I studied for, but of course no respectable or prestigious firm is looking to roll out the red carpet or the welcoming committee for an aggressively mediocre nowhere kid with a lazy smile and glazed over eyes, the prize at the bottom of every bought and paid for American education that was supposed to equal prosperity but ended up something else entirely, a kid who would much rather write, write, write the next great novel in a world where no one even reads anymore than deal with the personalities and trivialities of middle aged attorneys who care so much about winning they’ll say and do anything. Needless to say, the only opportunity was to be a solo practitioner and so that is exactly what I did while not really understanding how to be a solo practitioner or the dedication it takes to be a solo practitioner or the mad frenzy it often reeks on the kind of kid who sat in the back of law school classroom, always ducking out early even when sneaking in late, the kind of kid who would rather pass time in a New York City coffee shop writing poetry or short stories, tales of underrated glories, than be an attorney. But that decision to pursue a law career and become a solo practitioner was my mistake and I take full responsibility for it.
NEVERTHELESS AND BECAUSE I HAVE ALWAYS TRIED TO ACCEPT MY MISTAKES as the new distortion of reality, I tried hard in my new identity as counselor, working around the clock to service those clients who took a chance on me, the loser kid with the baseball tee shirt hiding just underneath a pinstriped blouse, and of course I’ve had some happy clients and some not so happy ones along the way, as is the nature of this business, and I totally get why judges often dislike me, I’m the epitome of shining perfect nowhereness, projecting carelessness or ambivalence, nonchalance or something else, but I assure you that I always made every attempt to do what was right and I never attempted anything even remotely dishonest in my entire life, because first of all, it’s not how I was raised and second of all, it is not my style to be anything less than sincere and genuine, and also I’m a terrible liar which makes me pretty inept as a lawyer, and believe me I realized that almost immediately into first year law school but I never liked the idea of not finishing something I started so here we are. And now on to the part that actually interests you.
TO START I SHOULD SAY I’m sorry for the way things went, and for the way things are going, and not just because I’m wrapped up in something so devastating, the mess of which I’m still trudging through in dream-like slow-motion, generational blackhole of what it is to be born in the mid-1980s, but also I’m truly sorry for giving off a bad lasting impression for two years and counting and I feel bad mostly because I never meant any disrespect, or anything of the sort, and actually I’m a pretty nice kid once you get to know me, not that it could offer any comfort or anything worthy of pardon in this particular situation, I just wanted it on the record for some reason. The truth is I got all wrapped up in hangups and all the drama of the worst kind of desperate people expecting miracles that are impossible, and just like when people realize that god isn’t real, they all become disillusioned and bitter, stingy little greedy things that lash out and demand reparations, expectations of working for free, so it weighed on me, naturally. But enough about my greatest enemies, the ones who take advantage of everything, because what I meant to emphasize here were my own deficiencies in going out on my own and really I was just over my head in running a law office and conflicts and obviously I failed to make a great impression, and again I’m very sorry for that.
I REALLY WANTED TO WRITE THIS LETTER ACTUALLY because I’m much more eloquent with the written word than the spoken word, it’s actually true and I never know the right way to say something spontaneously or when I’m put on the spot all up at the podium unceremoniously forgetting what I meant to say and finding only those generically passionate words that don’t mean a thing next to the well-thought-out, impressive arguments of opposing counsel. In fact, everything I say seems to come out wrong in some unendearingly disingenuous way, and it’s kind of a shame because I never mean it the way it sounds as I shyly glance around with Cobain-like demurely downward look of charming don’t-care attitude, the last of which is just an act but nevertheless, my inability to really conform to the buttoned-up proper ways of court has harmed me in this career and has harmed others, and again I’m truly sorry for that. By way of explanation, I guess it always felt like too much of a concession compromising everything I’ve been taught and my very nature just to be successful as a lawyer in America and also I feel less like myself when I’m faking niceties, all the stated right language from years ago, the terminologies and the legal jargons that never actually felt like me saying them in the first place and in fact they always made me feel ever more disingenuous, a hideous cycle of nonsense. However, in this forum where I can wrangle with the delete button and plan my every word, sentence, paragraph et cetera, I will try my best to explain exactly how I feel my conduct fell short of the conduct required by the California Rules of Professional Conduct and other applicable Federal, State and Local Rules and Statutes.
THOUGH I DON’T HAVE MUCH TO OFFER that might obviate, alleviate or even mitigate my fault or role in this whole thing, I still feel compelled to explain. What I’d like for you to know is that I always try to be respectful of everyone and everything (I have immense respect for the legal system and the laws of the state) and I always try to do the right thing. When I unintentionally come off like a bad character, I definitely appreciate the opportunity to explain myself and also apologize for any misunderstandings that occurred. So thank you for granting me this opportunity.
MY MEMORIES OF AUGUST ’14 ARE VAGUE AT BEST, the consequence I guess of the rushing around frenzies and urgencies of trying to maintain a solo law practice, doing a million things all at once to satisfy the never-ending vortex of dates, times, appointments, et cetera. For the OSC in question on the Baker case, taking place August 27, 2014, the truth is I did not note the court’s insistence on a personal appearance by me and this was entirely my mistake, for the sake of argument, I looked right past that notice and I take full responsibility for that. I understand that I should have appeared at the OSC given the court’s order, and what I think probably happened is that I read the order fast or maybe not at all, I cannot recall, but either way, that is entirely my fault and I would have made that appearance if I had read it carefully enough and understood the gravity of the situation in front of me. I had absolutely no qualms about appearing in court and stating my argument for anyone who would listen, the gist of what I had to say, unrehearsed and ineloquent, but again I didn’t note that personal appearance section on the order and that is my fault. Additionally, I had a conflict that waylaid me indefinitely that day that I shall now explain.
THE WEEK OF AUGUST 25TH I HAD A CASE IN LOS ANGELES, which was a DUI case where the client was in danger of losing his commercial license, and correspondingly, his livelihood as big-rig truck driver. He was obviously super concerned and wanted me to do everything I could to save his license and that entailed scheduling an administrative hearing with the DMV. The hearing had originally been set for the 25th of August but it was changed to the 27th of August, and I don’t remember exactly why but I think it was changed to that Wednesday morning because we did not have all of the paperwork necessary to win the hearing if it were to have gone forward on that Monday morning. I had attempted to get a special appearance attorney to go to LA for me so I could go to the two hearings in the Southern District Bankruptcy Court on that Wednesday, but I had no such luck in securing an appearance attorney. Additionally, because I had a special appearance attorney who knew all about the two cases in the Southern District, I decided it was best for me to go to LA and let the special appearance attorney handle the cases in the Southern District. I thought he was prepared to handle these cases. Obviously I was wrong and I take full responsibility for that.
SPECIAL APPEARANCE ATTORNEYS ARE CRUCIAL TO SOLO PRACTITIONERS and I have used them quite a bit when I had two cases simultaneously in different courts and different locations across town. On August 27, 2014, I used a special appearance attorney named Mr. WellYouKnow, who had appeared on cases for me times before but unfortunately on this date, he didn’t take the cases seriously and that reflects badly on me, and I’m sorry for that. However, prior to this, I had no reason to suspect he would be anything less than professional and prepared; in fact he had been working on the Baker case as well as the Anderson case for six months. I thought Mr. WellYouKnow was actually better equipped to handle the OSC in Baker as well as the one in Anderson and having not noted my required appearance at the time, I did not think it was going to be an issue.
WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE, barring the existence of a time machine to take me back to 2008 where I could punch twenty-two year old me in the teeth or the gut and tell her ‘Law school will fuck you up!’ I should have read the Baker OSC order more closely, taken the time to read every line and realize the importance of my presence there on time. I should have worked harder to secure an appearance attorney on the LA case so I could have made it to the Southern District Bankruptcy Court cases where my presence was required. I know that notifying the court of any and all potential problems or issues with a case is of utmost importance. I should have notified opposing counsel and the court of my situation at least twenty-four hours or more before the Wednesday morning hearing, and not the night before at 10:34. I regret my unprofessionalism insofar as I failed to live up to the standards of conduct as an officer of the court. I regret that my behavior made it seem like I have disrespect for the Court, the Judges, and Opposing Counsel when in fact I really have immense respect for all of the above. I take full responsibility for my actions and I apologize once more for the way things turned out.
I KNOW THIS ISN’T THE TRADITIONAL TYPE OF LETTER an attorney in my position would write but I’m not a traditional type of kid, I’m something of a hybrid, straddling two different worlds, neither of which is exactly right for me, or entirely wrong for me, but the one thing I hope to convey is that I never meant to disrespect anyone, I never meant to mislead anyone, and I never meant to harm anyone. While I played with the idea of just writing a very simple, straightforward and proper letter, or outsourcing it to a professional like college students do, I felt like that wouldn’t be honest and that’s not me, so I finally decided the best way to make amends was to just write like me, not fake niceties or all that stiff language of motions and briefs, and hopefully it will be satisfactory, at least worthy of a C.
Adrijen Lux D--
Posted by Lux at 10:42 PM