Misadventures with a Lawyer - Julie Morgan
On Friday, I woke with excitement for Ashley’s wedding. My best friend since childhood, Ashley of course had asked me to be one of her bridesmaids, and I couldn’t wait to get the weekend started.
Today, we had a full schedule of hair and nail appointments and other fun plans before the rehearsal dinner tonight. It was time to get my bridesmaid duty on.
I bounced out of bed toward the kitchen as my phone rang. I predicted it to be Ashley, but instead it was Amy, our law firm’s receptionist.
“Hi, Ainsley,” she said.
“Hi,” I answered, trying to hide my apprehension about why she was calling me.
“Mr. Newstrom is wondering when he should expect you at the office.”
“But I’m supposed to be off today,” I told her.
“Well, according to him, you’re still working on Mr. Vanderbilt’s case, and you’re expected to be at the office and, shortly after that, court.”
She wasn’t short or curt, but she got her point across.
Chase Newstrom, my boss and the owner of the law firm I worked for, knew I had a full weekend of wedding plans with my best friend. I had it on both of our calendars. He had said he had no issue with me taking Friday off, yet here we were, with me expected to work after all.
“Thanks, Amy,” I mumbled. “I’ll be there in an hour.” And I hung up.
It hurt like hell that he didn’t care about plans I’d made for my own personal time and he’d had the receptionist call to break the news. Should he have cared about what I had been planning to do? No, not necessarily, but what if it were something important like surgery? I couldn’t have canceled that just because he needed me in the office.
This wasn’t surgery, though, nor my wedding. Thank goodness. I was so not ready for that.
I phoned Ashley and the other bridesmaids and broke the bad news about not being able to join them for the hair and nail appointments. Ashley wasn’t happy. In fact, she said she’d disown me if I skipped any of the other wedding events.
I would disown me as a friend too.
These three words have become my life. Good things come to those who wait? What a lie. Whoever came up with that didn’t understand law students waiting for their bar exam results or a girl wanting to meet up with her best friend on the eve of her wedding.
I knew from the moment I was a little girl that I wanted to be an attorney. I wanted to stand up for those who had no voice, to help victims of crimes who could not help themselves. Our professors had always encouraged us to follow our passion, so it was a surprise when I had sat in on my first court hearing and realized prosecution might not be for me. Instead, it was defense.
Surprisingly, I found many cases were tried where the defendant was actually innocent. They needed someone to hear their side of the story and fight their fight. That was where I wanted to stand, next to the falsely accused.
It was the middle of May in Dallas, Texas. The sun made it feel like we were in Satan’s backyard while he grilled dogs and invited the demons and hellspawn over for sweet tea. It felt so hot that I wondered if one could potentially cook bacon on the sidewalk—not that I’d ever try that, of course.
I was thankful to be spending the day in the air conditioning of the courthouse, even if I wished I were somewhere else entirely. Still, this was my professional passion, so things could be worse.
The law firm I was working for—until my exam results came through—represented many of the high court cases. Rich, deep pockets crossed our threshold and often said, “Money is no object.” They demanded our representation, and they received it…most of the time.
Alleged crooked politicians, extortionists, and financial advisors who stole money from their clients—we represented them all. The only clients our firm would turn away were cases having to deal with serial killers, serial rapists, and abuse of children. If the evidence was enough to prove innocence, however, the firm would consider the case. More often than not, though, there were some lines even we wouldn’t cross.
The courthouse atmosphere was chilly inside, and that wasn’t from the air conditioning. The judge looked bored. His eyes were half-hooded, and he rested his chin on his hand. I picked at the corner of my binder, where one