‘New York State of Mind’
Yesterday, I had a trial scheduled in St. Catharines. It was most likely going to ‘resolve’ or wind up as a guilty plea. My client had run into further troubles while on bail and wished to put his troubles behind him with the lightest possible sentence considering his ‘troubles’.
Yesterday, I also had the opportunity to attend at a Gender Equality Dinner at the United Nations in New York City, with Jewel, the singer, the keynote speaker.
The opportunity to attend the Gender Equality Dinner only arose Friday afternoon. I contacted the Crown prosecutor’s office by phone. No one picked up. I emailed. Monday morning, we finally spoke. I explained my situation. I cajoled the Crown prosecutor to cooperate with me, to ‘think outside the box’ with me, such that we could confirm a guilty plea would be entered, but the guilty plea could go in later this week, or next week, thereby allowing me to get on the proverbial jet plane and head to the Big Apple.
I, always good at configuring how to fill up my ‘dance card’, also managed to set up a meeting for 2 p.m. with a legendary business tycoon in NYC. I explained this as well to my ‘friend’ (this is how we refer to our opponents in the Canadian criminal courts). This rapid turn of events, and opportunities, that I had for the next day, all outside of proverbial box of the courtroom. I cajoled him again to allow me to adjourn the matter. I suggested that we contact the trial co-ordinator on the Monday afternoon, who in turn, could speak with the judge so that we could all agree in advance my client’s matter would go over (be remanded) a week or so for his guilty plea.
My friend was not prepared to do anything ‘this out of the box’. I then tried the next best thing – I tried the trial co-ordinator directly with the issue. Of course I got dropped into voice mail ‘hell’ and an ‘absence alert’. So this approach was not going to work. All the while, I was searching flight schedules and configuring what exactly one wears to a United Nations Gender Equality diner. Oh, and I managed to connected through social media (LinkedIn) with a rockstar woman in NYC passionately concerned with access to capital for women and other issues near and dear to my heart. We had it all mapped out that we would meet as well on Wednesday. I like to live a jam packed life.
I called out of town defence counsel. Would they be willing to jump into the breach and ask the Judge to ‘kick over’ the matter? No, of course, they were not prepared. Our courtroom world is a very rules oriented, linear and structured one. We have many ‘bosses’ and much paperwork to fill out to accomplish such a simple task.
So with great sadness, I shelved my invitation to rock with Jewel and connect with like-minded game changers at the Gender Equality United Nations dinner. I went to bed dreaming of ways and means to make creative things happen within the legal framework. Wednesday morning, I got up and dressed creatively, pulling out clothes I purchased at Century 21 in NYC almost 20 years ago. (P.S. I loved shopping there, in its pre 9-11 ‘renovation’ space). Yes, with creative dressing, I could live and breathe in a NYC spirit and bring it to my St. Catharines courtroom.
And so, I drove all the way (almost two hours) rocking out to Jewel tunes in my car, to a courtroom in small town Ontario, Canada. Where the people are friendly and you can always find a parking spot right in front of the Courthouse.
Lo and behold, one of my absolute favourite Judges was presiding. He was talking ‘out of the box’, entertaining the lawyers with tales of another lawyer’s pugilistic ways and means. I jumped in, as if the whole scene had been choreographed just for me. I had not seen this Judge for many years. But I knew him to be extremely ‘big picture’ and a like minded soul. I told him about my foiled plans to leave on a jet plane. He loved the story. He also loved the few anecdotes I weaved for him about how I am combining my linear training with my ‘connect the dot’ creative side to work with like-minded people to make the the ‘impossible possible’. Litigation is problem solving after all. After 25 years of it, I am thrilled to be taking my problem solving mindset on a ‘roadshow’.
My client ended his troubles and pled guilty to some of the allegations. Sentencing has gone over a considerable period for my client and I to work on a presentation about who he is, and what he is capable of, to hopefully minimize his sentence. The best defence is after all, sometimes, the best dressed one…well, presented one!
P.S. Thank you for taking the time to read my post.
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I also blog at thebeaulife.com and and love IG’ing at karenmmcarthur
ONE SHOT THAT ALL’S WE GET. MAKE A DIFFERENCE
LIVE THE BEAU LIFE.