I spent roughly 7 hours roundtrip in the car on Wednesday, to attend a hearing that took a little over 30 minutes. In the litany of intricacies of practice that law school does not adequately prepare law students for, add long car drives to the list.
That being said, I don’t really mind it. I rather enjoy the time alone in the car. It’s nice to be disconnected from things and alone with your thoughts. I listened to podcasts. I watched the pine trees go past mile after mile. I sat in silence, only the hum of the road to accompany me.
One of the benefits of state-wide practice, I go into small, rural towns and see Courthouses built in the early 20th century, frozen in time to some extent. Roman ionic columns, white marble, dark mahogany. The smell of dust and an overbearing silence for places so large. Courthouses built in an age of growth and expansion now sit half empty, courtrooms shuttered and entire wings closed off from the public. They match the towns Main Streets – pushed out of business by the Wal-mart MegaCenter on the outskirts of town. Although there is always a couple meat and threes left on Main Street. A few antique shops and clothing stores too.
I was purposely an hour early to the hearing so that I could find a local meat and three and grab lunch. Inside, the restaurant was half-filled with people with “Juror” stickers on. They had all walked down from the courthouse en mass for lunch. From the looks of the other patrons in the restaurant, so had half the lawyers and courthouse personnel. People spoke of window shopping, and the local football team, and gossip and scandal of some sort.
I took my time in the Courthouse. They’re usually filled with dedications, pictures, and plaques dedicated to Judges and lawyers no one outside of these small communities will ever know. They didn’t make there way onto the national stage. They didn’t change the world in any significant way. What they did was make meaningful, important contributions to their community, affecting the lives of the people around them. Lending a helping hand, dedicating their lives to their clients or fellow citizens, serving without need for recognition. Nothing left but a plaque on the wall, stating that they were honorable men, left for future lawyers like me to read.
I’ll take that over a high Klout score anyday.