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Thursday, October 28, 2010

A win is a win

Went to court this week on one of the most difficult cases I've ever had. It's taken nine years to get to trial, partly due to my own incompetence in the field, partly due to the Byzantine complexities of the forms and code sections in this area of the law.

Came to court that morning not knowing if I'd finally managed to successfully maneuver through the paper maze into the clear. Met my opponent in the corridor outside of the court. Hadn't seen her for a long time, but she seemed to be bearing up well under the stress. We were friendly enough - had come to an agreement about the case long ago - were both anxious to get it settled and done with.

We waited in line to check in with the clerk, who took most of the drama out of the day by saying that this time he and the judge were satisfied with our forms. Whether that meant the number of them, the content or the appearance, I was not about to ask. One of the first lessons I learned in court was when you are going to win the point, stop swinging. Since I didn't expect to ever have another case in this particular area of the law there was no further need to educate myself for the future, as I always have done.

Amazing luck continued when we were told that we were first on what was a three page calender of trials and other matters. When the judge finally emerged of course, he took another case first, an off calendar matter that seemed to relate to a controversy about a trial that was to start the next day. Understandable.

When called forward, we took our places and were sworn in, questioned, and in a few more minutes, were told that I had won.  My opponent was just as happy as I was. She laughed when I whispered, "Mazel Tov" and asked whether it was customary to put the glass together again.

Outside we wished each other well, exchanged best wishes to our families. It is unlikely that we will ever oppose each other again. She asked me if I was going to begin another such case. I was emphatic in denial. She claimed a similar disinterest in repeating the error.

It was a melancholy feeling to finish this case, but a win is a win.

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