There was a time earlier in my life that I believed the pinnacle of my professional career would be to be a Supreme Court Justice.
I choose my words carefully.
I didn’t say, “I want to be a Supreme Court Justice.” I though that is what I should do if I wanted to be successful in my professional career. The position is prestigious, exclusive, respected, and indicative of being recognized as one of society’s brilliant legal minds. You have the ability to affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the world. And you get to be part of one of the most fascinating ‘secret’ societies ever created.
And after being privileged and just plain lucky enough to be at social events with both United States Supreme Chief Justice Roberts and Texas Supreme Court Justice Jefferson, I still don’t have any desire to be a judge.
Maybe I see Richard Gere as a better speaker than either Roberts or Jefferson, but I’ve never recovered from the bar scene in Primal Fear. Fate has a strange sense of irony, because, at the State Bar of Texas’ Annual Meeting in Fort Worth a few weeks ago, shortly after I returned to my hotel room after the reception with the Chief Justice, TNT was showing a rerun of . . . Primal Fear.
I hadn’t seen the movie in over 10 years, but I still remembered Richard Gere’s soliloquy when his character is asked by a reporter if he ever wanted to be a judge.
“Why count the balls and strikes when you can play ball?”
The prestige of a criminal defense lawyer is sandwiched between tow truck driver and pawn shop owner. Our world is not exclusive, not respected, not prestigious, and absolutely not recognized as a repository for the world’s best legal minds.
But boy does it make me happy.
Two words: batter up.