One would think that time moves slow when you are working 70-80 hours a week advocating for your clients. It doesn't. It is hard to believe that five (5) years ago, I had invoked my own personal quarantine to study for the Bar exam. I remember thinking each day "Will this ever end?" I continuously pushed myself, thinking "Once you pass, it’s all downhill from here!" Boy, was I wrong.
I am sure every lawyer remembers the day they found out they passed the Bar. It is a rush of adrenaline and a feeling of accomplishment, but as we begin practice, that feeling of accomplishment begins to fade away. We start to realize that we are inexperienced and what we learned in law school does not necessarily apply to the real world. In essence, it is like someone hit the reset button and we start over. I view it like reaching the next level of a video game.
Each year, I try to take time and reflect on different accomplishments. Level 2, passing the Alabama Bar. Level 3, winning my first emergency trial (on my own) regarding whether a gentleman should be cremated. Level 4, acquiring my Masters in Tax Law after two years of night school. Level 5, winning my first undue influence trial with my father. After each level, you learn something and a new “tool” is added to your proverbial toolbox. Pretty soon, I started to realize that passing the Bar (Level 1) wasn't that difficult.
Fast forward to 2019 when the Rebecca Fierle scandal broke out. My name got mentioned in a few papers and before you knew it, our phones were ringing non-stop. So many people asking for help. Unfortunately, for many of them, we could not be of assistance. We had already taken on 19 cases, mostly pro bono. However, there was one call that stood out to me: Jack.
Jack was a Ward of the state and had been declared totally incapacitated. After speaking with him on multiple occasions, I noted that we had a lot of common interest and it became pretty clear to me that he was not incapacitated. Sure, he was stubborn and upset about his situation, but who wouldn't be. Either way I didn't think he was incapacitated. It was at that point that I agreed to take his case and attempt to restore his rights, a feat I have never done. Jack put his trust in me, and I couldn't let him down.
I had represented Wards in the past, but never fought to get someone’s rights back. These types of cases are very difficult because, most of the time, once someone is declared incapacitated, it is unlikely that their condition will improve due to the nature of the illnesses that often resulted in them being declared incapacitated.
After 9 months of litigation with his new professional guardian, I could not be more proud than to announce: Jack got all of his rights reinstated! I had to use all the different the tools I had acquired over the years, but we did it. Level 6 completed!
I’m not sure what Level 7 will have in store for me, but I know I will be prepared, using the tools that I learned from Jack.
So thank you Jack for putting your faith in me and helping me complete another accomplishment! Congratulations on getting your rights reinstated!