Probably the first thing you learn when leave law school and sign your first summons is that the world is full of weird people. Of course, the legal world is even more so but that is a topic for another day. A few complained bitterly about the last blog where I said they don't have personality and cannot find dates. Mind you, they have a point on the dating part. Whenever you claim status as a lawyer, even an ex-lawyer like me, you are assumed to be rich and that does a lot for a certain kind of woman (and man, no doubt).
I am not rich and probably never will be. Chasing earthly wealth is to me a waste of time but I am hopeful (in law I would have said "reasonably convinced") that I have riches in heaven where it matters. After all, that is where I want to be, with my late wife and our Lord. This time here on earth is just a journey; this ain't my home as Jim Reeves said. Many don't get this and they chase after the impossible dream to have more than anyone else. They absolutely must drive the latest model car; eat the same food you and I do at vastly more expensive restaurants because some French Chef (hopefully delightfully gay) prepared the food. They are so much in debt they can barely sleep but still they do not learn. And they never will, they are young souls and still on the road of futility.
I have noted something else too - some divorcees are really proud that their lawyer cost them (meaning her ex-husband) everything and sooooo much money. It is almost a club of "look at the revenge I took." I talk about this strange phenomenon in one of my books. Not sure which one, probably The Circle of Life, where I said that only shows how idiotic your way of thinking is. It is really bad news for you when you are proud on how much money you paid your lawyer. Madam, Sir, take my word that there is something very serious wrong with you and your lawyer if that happened. No divorce should ever be more hurtful than strictly necessary and it is an exceedingly easy part of law to deal with from a technical viewpoint. Really, it is bread and butter work and nothing complicated about it. It should cost next to nothing to get divorced.
So why then do we read of such cases? Where the divorce costs millions and the lawyers grin like happy vultures after the feast? Simply because it is personal, there are humans involved and those humans want revenge. I see it often. I want...and I lift my hand to stop her words and say "Madam, I am not the right man for the job. I think for your own sanity you have to see the lads in practice. You are not going to like my answers." They are all shocked and then upset and we are all glad to see the last of each other shortly after.
We live in an "I want" society but I have to say I think it was alas like that. Human nature will not change and people will no doubt, a thousand years from now, still start such action with those two words "I want." It is sad. Here you have two people who once loved each other enough to marry, a commitment before God and now it is down to "I want."
I am old fashioned, especially when it comes to love. Some will tell you I am romantic with flowers, small gifts and doing what I can to keep the improved specie happy (my ex will disagree but so it is). I am often astonished when the two characters on television are sleeping together. Yes, and not a passed out type of sleep either, they are jumping around on the bed in rare style never seen in real life. And a few episodes later I note the one says to the other "I think I love you." At this I get upset. How on earth is it possible that you are sharing a bed with someone without knowing you love that someone and that someone you? I am tempted to classify such behaviour as no more than animalistic at best and at worse I have doubts, serious ones, on your morale values. Love is free yes but making love is a commitment based on respect. Yeah, the impossible dream to tell anyone that. The usual counter-reaction is one of "it is my life; I will do what I want." Fair enough and then you sit in my office and cry that you are pregnant and guess what, the father is married and don't want you nor his child. Or, years later you sit in my office and say "I want this and that from my divorce..."
In the legal profession we also have an impossible dream and that is to keep clients happy. Man, that is really hard as most caused their own problems in life and are now upset because you cannot do much for them. You drove whilst under the influence? Yeah, whose fault is that? You got yourself in a bar fight? Yeah, whose fault is that? You murder your parents? Yes and now the court must feel sorry for you; show some sympathy because you are an orphan now? Yeah, that is tried many times and to no success either. Everyone in law and law enforcement are cynical. You know that clients will lie to you. You know witnesses will lie to you. Luckily we don't have a silly jury to please, that was chased away with the Pommies decades ago. But you do have to at least try to keep your clients satisfied and hence the impossible dream. Many times it is settlement and a good settlement is one where both parties are most unhappy. Then no one was done in. In other words, "I give, and not I want."
The second thing you learn at law school is that you must never become close to your clients. You will lose your professionalism they warn. In fact, it is about money, if a client/friend don't pay it is harder to tell him or her (it is mostly females) to take a hike. It is abuse of the professional man, we spoke about it before. I tend to be friends with my clients, why, because I choose who I want to work with. That I believe makes the impossible dream reachable. We are all different with different values. For some my ideas on making love will be ridiculously old fashioned and for other it will be refreshing. For my clients it will be easy to accept - they know me and chose me to help them. And that is where the impossible dream gets meaning, where it becomes worthy of your troubles to listen sympathetically because at times that is about all you are able to do. Enjoy your week. K
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in reducing legal risk in sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters.