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In his satirical apologetic, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis wrote:

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality.”

At the outset, let me warn you—don’t go hurling that quote into finely minced chit chat. It’s best served up on a rainy day.

So, it might rain today and here’s my point. I see in all the news that a certain lawyer appointed by President Obama is being attacked for his earlier advocacy in no less than a death penalty case. Some folks are asking, “Why did he take that case?”

I suppose the answer is, “Someone had to!”

If there is a “case” to be made for the proposition that only the least gifted and the least respected and the least ethical lawyers should handle the least popular causes, I don’t have the skill to make it.

I’m sticking with our buddy C. S. on this one. (By the way, with a name like “C.S.,” can we just agree he had to know a thing or two about courage?) Yes, it takes courage to hope. And, yes, it takes courage to just be patient even if some guy wearing pajamas is blasting tweets and snarky sharp shots from his mom’s basement about your case. I digress.

Sometimes it takes courage to just show up. Trial lawyers know it takes courage to say “Oh, hell no, this is wrong!” Maybe that’s “the highest point of reality” C.S. Lewis was referring to.

Bill Ford
1-31-14

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