Winning At Any Cost


Pardon me if you’ve heard this before.  It was May of 1974 and I was sitting in my dorm room on Case campus.  I was a double major – English and Religion.  I was trying to decide whether to be an attorney or a rabbi.  But on that spring day I had an epiphany.  I realized that I wasn’t holy enough to be a rabbi and not amoral enough to be an attorney.  And with that I set my sights on a different future, one that allowed me to be me and to never be forced, as part of my job, to do anything I didn’t believe. 

I write this as I am watching the two defense attorneys conduct a post-verdict press conference. To be honest, I am not shocked by the verdict.  I am not pleased, but I am not shocked.  But these two attorneys, too skilled at manipulating the English language, too proud in their willingness to win at any cost, and now, in victory, too joyful in their victory lap on Trayvon Martin’s grave, make me physically ill.  I have come full circle.  

I turned to Sally who was watching this with me and I said “I was right”.  I didn’t need to explain.

6 thoughts on “Winning At Any Cost

  1. Geraldo was also right.
    If you leave the Hood, ditch the Hoodie.

    Lawyers aren’t taught gloating until the 3rd year of Law School.

    The love affair with the GUN is the undoing of our country.

    The Verdict: Concealing anger is most difficult.

  2. Not that I am surprised by your comments, but why is it that attorneys are amoral because the verdict did not serve or feed the public outcry? So, it would have been “moral” to find Zimmerman guilty based on what exactly? Profiling?? Carrying a gun?? Being ill-equipped to deal with a confrontational situation?? George Zimmerman acted hastily and as it turned out, tragically. But we still do not know what really happened between the two, other than George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. It was purely public pressure that led to the indictment and trial of George Zimmerman. The State caved to the public outcry and in typical fashion overcharged Zimmerman with a crime they could certainly not prove. The outcome was predicable and correct.

    You are disappointed with the verdict?? No one was dancing on Martin’s grave. Not the lawyers, not Zimmerman. Did you notice his reaction to the verdict? No smile, no fist or chest pump, no nothing. There is nothing to gloat about or celebrate. This case was not about race, amorality or injustice. It’s about ineffective law enforcement and guns. It was about a concerned citizen trying to protect his neighborhood from continual criminal behavior, which law enforcement
    “professionals” were unable or unsuccessful in dealing with. Until we can find a better way to fight the war on crime and prevent ordinary citizens from carrying firearms, these unfortunate events will continue ad nauseam.

    But in the meantime, let’s just blame the lawyers…

  3. My comments were not about the trial’s outcome but a direct reflection of the disgust I felt while watching the defense attorneys’ press conference after the verdict. Watch all of it. The preening. The rearrangement of the facts. And yes, the gloating.

    The attorneys made it clear that they would have said or done anything to get their client off, just as the state’s attorneys showed that they were willing to bend or break whatever rules they could. They were doing their jobs. But the job description does not require any of the participants to actually believe a word that they are saying.

    The case was about a guy, a cop wannabe, shooting to death an unarmed teenager and being released by the police with seemingly very little thought. We all know instances of more diligent pursuit by the police and prosecutors. It was the actions of the police that got this started.

    Sure Zimmerman is a concerned citizen, but I’m more concerned about him and the other armed and dangerous Barney Fifes patrolling our suburbs than the hoodie wearing teenagers that they may choose to confront.

  4. If you’re concerned about “dangerous Barney Fifes patrolling our suburbs” (and I agree we should be) then place the blame squarely on our legislators at whatever appropriate level where it belongs, not attorneys, for they are the ones making the laws, not the lawyers. The lawyers are not the ones that wrote the Florida SYG law that makes it unlawful for the police to arrest anyone who might be legitimately claiming they were standing their ground or other equally ridiculous laws that are meant to favor one part of society over another.

    It’s not “amoral” of the attorney to use all legal means at their disposal to try to ensure that the outcome results in a decision that is in their clients best interest. After all, they are not judge or jury, but rather have been hired to put forth the best possible case in representing their client. It would in fact, be “amoral” of them to judge their client and give less than 100% because they PERSONALLY thought the client wasn’t deserving of winning. That might be likened to an insurance agent going w/ company “B” over company “A” because even though they’re a little pricier and the coverage is almost as good, they’re easier to deal with (from the agent’s perspective) or their commission structure is more favorable to the agent and besides, the client can afford it.

    Attorneys aren’t hired to be moral (ethical is a different matter altogether), they are hired to use every available nuance within the laws the way they are written to prevail in court. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s “not winning at any cost”, it’s doing the job that they were hired to do to the best of their ability, just like one would expect from their independent insurance agent who is getting them the best possible deal on their health or life insurance.

    Unless of course one finds insurance agents “amoral” in which case, ……….never mind! (thank you, Emily)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *