A “thank you” to my wonderful former and present colleagues

Over the last weeks when I was hospitalized and while recovering both of my former law partners, Ed Cook (the best lawyer I have ever known) and Judge Jim Doyle, called to “buck up” their old partner. Their calls brought back wonderful memories of our time together, and my love of these fellows. Never once when I practiced law with Ed and Jim did I feel alone. In common parlance, they always “had my back” while always insisting that our clients came first.

My judicial colleagues have done the same thing during my recent health scare. They looked after me with care and concern but with the proper perspective that our litigants came first. After I declared a mistrial before going into the hospital (because my ego forced me to try to play the “hero child” in beginning the trial in the first place), Chief Judge Laurie Smith Camp, Judge Joe Bataillon, and Judge John Gerrard stepped in and, with my complete agreement, took over most of my caseload. This not only burdened them personally, but raised all sorts of tedious and complex administrative issues that Magistrate Judge Zwart handled with nary a hiccup.

Maybe a three person law practice or small federal court is unique. All I know is that I owe a debt of gratitude that I shall never be able to repay to my former law partners and present judicial colleagues. Carrying for another lawyer/judge who is sickly in a small operation like my former law practice or my present court is tricky. In the balance is the concern for one’s fellow law partner or judge on a personal level contrasted with a rock solid commitment that the interests of the client/litigant always comes first. Striking the proper balances requires a well-developed sense of decency and principle.

Thanks to Ed and Jim for teaching me about what a law partnership can really mean when operated by lawyers truly committed to each other and their clients. The same goes double for the judges (and staff) of the United States District for the District of Nebraska, particularly Laurie, Joe, John and Cheryl. I am very fortunate and very thankful.




7 responses

  1. I’m so glad you’re feeling strong enough to crank out two blog posts before breakfast! A full recovery cannot be far away. In the meantime, your fellow judges are most happy to pick up a few more cases. After all, we enjoy this work — that’s why we took the job. (And the best part is having great colleagues — like you.)

  2. Lovely to see how grateful you are but some people are still waiting for apologies regarding five days of wearing high heels for no reason.

  3. MJ,

    Frankly, I got so tired of you wearing sneakers to work for five years that you deserve no apology for dressing less like a hippie who is crazed over all things organic.

    That said, and seriously, you do have my apology as do your opponents. Declaring a mistrial in midstream because of illness truly bothered me. No more “hero child” for me. As much as I hate to admit it, the trial of cases is not all about me. Duh!

    All the best.


  4. CA Jail4Judges,

    What do you mean? Give me an example. Maybe then I can respond without trying to figure out your passive aggressive question.

    All the best.


  5. One of the very nice things about practicing law is that once in a while, our colleagues surprise us with their kindness and consideration. I am not surprised that even federal judges experience collegial respect. Good to hear form you, again, Judge.

  6. Maybe it is this one, from J4J’s earlier post:

    “Even the “crits” are hypocrites. Judges decide who they want to win, and make up the facts and law to justify it.

    From a recent district case: “The Bill of Rights clearly does not contain any congressional mandate expressly waiving sovereign immunity.” Do You Judges believe We The People are so stupid as to think the First Congress wrote the Bill of Rights intending it to be unenforceable, and that no one in the Framers’ generation noticed the flaw?”

    Hard to call that one a principled statement of law. It isn’t just Supreme Court Justices who make it up as they go.

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