Tuesday, April 14, 2009

That Litigation Rush

When I was a relatively new attorney, I was assigned to assist one of the senior attorneys on a case that turned into a huge trial. The trial itself took 8 weeks, during which the other attorney and I set up camp in Pittsburgh. The area of law we were trying to enforce was new, the stakes were high, the opposing side's client was a colorful character (to be nice). I had my first experience presenting an expert witness. Posthearing briefs were extensive. All in all, it was one of those career experiences that results in lots of great war stories. The case whetted my love for trial work.
Maybe a year after the trial, we got a decision that was mostly favorable. The judge affirmed the critical issues and, while he cut the penalty my government agency client was trying to assess, it was still a record-breaking huge penalty. The other side, of course, appealed. And the case sat.
I tried other big cases. I moved into management. I left the agency completely and started my new life last year on the bench.
Yesterday, a mere 15 years later, the decision on the appeal was issued. Again, a mostly favorable decision (although they cut the penalty, again). My case was even used to overturn a decision made in another case in the intervening years that (IMHO) made for bad law.
And all the memories came back to me, along with the adrenaline rush. It's been a few hours, but I am still just thrilled and excited and in that "I want to shout my news from the rooftops" mode. I'm almost as excited as I was when the Phillies won the World Series.

No comments: