My good fortune (some of it)

I have met and continue to meet wonderful, talented, kind, extraordinary people.  Many are friends. A great many of them are lawyers.   As a young lawyer I was eager, enthusiastic and uncertain.  In one instance (my first case referred to briefly in the About Me tab), I was angry, scared and disillusioned. With a nervousness that made dialing the phone a minor challenge, I called a Yale Law School professor, an expert on civil procedure whose book I had read in law school.  I also knew of Geoff Hazard because he lived near us on Armory Street in Hamden.  He was a friend of my Dad’s.

I calmed myself by anticipating that I would get Professor Hazard’s secretary, that she would take a message and that he might call back.  When the call went through, I heard a single word, “Hazard.”  No secretary. No beating around the bush. It was my turn. The suddenness may have helped.  I explained who I was, why I was calling and asked my question.  With instant understanding of the situation, Professor Hazard gave precise, practical advice about civil procedure, advice that I followed, advice that played an important role in leading to a result vastly different from that desired by the plaintiff’s counsel and all but ordered by the pre-trial judge, who, it was later reported to me, was a childhood friend of the plaintiff, plaintiff’s counsel and plaintiff’s treating physician / expert witness.  Three other times I called Professor Hazard for help once when I was hired to teach a course on civil procedure (Professor Hazard gave me a set of his own teaching materials), once when a friend of mine had a case similar to one Professor Hazard handled (he gave me a copy of his brief) and once when an ethics opinion I had drafted drew heated criticism (Professor Hazard, a leading authority on the law of lawyering and legal ethics, wrote a letter in support of the opinion.) 

Professor Hazard’s willingness to help turned out to be symbolic of the willingness of members of the Bar to provide assistance without question and without charge.

The vast majority of lawyers I know and who I’ve worked with since 1979 have been considerate, trustworthy, talented and reliable, which explains the title for this page, “My Good Fortune (some of it).”