Tuesday, May 29, 2007

PRACTICING LAW: A Rose and a Thorn

14 years ago this month I started practicing law. I received my bar results on a Friday, talked to then Court Administration chief Rod Gustafson on Monday, and was appointed my first client the next day. I had no computer, just a pad and pencil. The judge had a pony-tail and earring. Welcome to practicing law in Austin, Texas.

I realize today how little I really knew about practicing law back then. Today's decisions I make and the advice I give, is truly a compilation of the advice and guidance I've received from all of the helpful, hard-working, collegial colleagues that practice in our courthouse.

One of those colleagues helped me out in those initial days of stress and confusion. He helped me out by giving me a understandable explanation for what a deferred adjudication was and how to explain it to the client. I have used it ever since--14 years. He simply explained it to me as a rose and a thorn: a rose for the benefit of a non-conviction among other things, and the thorn of the ramifications of not following the rules of probation and possibly facing the max.

This example crept into my lexicon of language where I continue to use it to this day. It's a very simple part of my client explanations, but one I'll always use. I wish I'd thanked Thad Son for giving that example when I had the chance.

1 comment:

Stephen Gustitis said...

Keith:
Personally, I enjoy the "two edged sword" metaphor, or even the "two sides of the same coin." Nonetheless, each does serve an important service for the client by explaining important legal concepts with everyday images they can remember.