Aren’t the Gardenias Lovely?

The fragrant gardenia bush by our deck is in full bloom right now. It’s lovely to step outside into their fragrance every time Knightley needs to step outside to take care of some business.  And that is what I need right now, something small and beautiful that can give me an abiding sense of well-being in this unjust world.

There are many reasons why I stopped practicing law. Above all, I lost the sense of conviction that the modern American justice system is equipped in any way, shape, or form to actually render justice for those in its courtrooms. I lost a core conviction that truth and right will prevail in the U.S. legal system. What you see polluting our legislative process in Washington and state capitals across the country also pollutes the courtrooms. This should come as no surprise to anyone. When special interest groups and parties who have the most money are able to write the laws, of course when those laws are applied the results are unjust. The laws were not just to begin with. In the courtrooms of America, this disparity between haves and have-nots is amplified times 100, because legal representation is always a battle of the haves versus the have-nots. You can pay for a better shot a justice in this country. And if you are a corporation (since we all know corporations have the legal rights of a person), you can pay to have the most powerful court in the country to guarantee your ability to treat any lowly human being almost any particular way. I mean, everyone knows that in the Roberts court, the corporation is always right, even if that means directly rewriting laws and tossing aside prior case precedent, as they did in 2009 in cases involving the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. (You can download the case Gross v. FBI, Financial Services, Inc. here. Read the dissent. It is scathing and right on in regard to the majority’s complete disregard for legislative intent and judicial precedent.  Read and then tell me who the real “judicial activists” are on the court.)

Even though my practice didn’t involve taking on corporations, I nonetheless got tired of going to court when people who had the most money could afford to keep litigating cases when they were clearly in the wrong or they were using the court to wage a personal vendetta against another person. The fact that I saw such behavior in court on a daily basis meant that every night it came home with me. I am shockingly incapable of letting things go when I see how unfairly and unjustly people get treated every day. For my own clients, I went to bed at night tossing and turning and obsessing about all of their problems that I knew court could not fix.  I couldn’t let it go, and I knew that I needed a change because otherwise I wouldn’t live to see my 40th birthday with the weight of so many people’s problems acutely affecting my own well-being.

It is funny because the four years that I practiced law, I can’t recall any close loved ones, either friends or family, really having serious legal issues or concerns. And in the past few months, things have turned around. No longer am I tasked with sorting out the messes of strangers, but instead, I am seeing unjustness befall my own family and friends. And now, I feel like that sucks even more because I feel completely powerless to do anything about it. It isn’t just because I don’t practice presently and am licensed in two states where my family loved ones don’t live. It’s because based on my practice, I can’t even be optimistic about things. Even if you are right and 100% supported in the law, the legal process is terrible and costly. And if you are outmatched by the resources of the other party, good luck.

I do know one thing, though. Georgia Pacific, I am done with you. A while ago I wrote a blog post about my brand loyalty and now I am formally redacting it.  I don’t give a crap about Georgia Pacific and your overpriced paper products. I care about how you treated my Dad, which happened to be worse than toilet paper. So yeah, I am no longer going out of my way to buy your stupid Brawny, Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, or whatever overpriced brand you have on the market. I am happy to use your competitors exclusively, whether it be for household paper goods or building products.  I will even buy Chinese products over you, that is how angry your actions have made me. You don’t deserve any customer loyalty because I know how you treat your employees.  Guess what, I know that in my current age group and income bracket that happen to belong to the most sought after consumer demographic group, so this is the best form of justice that I can muster. So I hope your social media monitor that responded to my blog post last time with a comment that I refused to post reads this blog entry as well. In America, after all, we effect change not in the courtroom or at the ballot box, but with our dollars. That is the only way to change anything in our consumer-based society.  If you are a friend or family member of mine who reads this blog and who knows how kind and good my dad is, I am asking you today to not use any Georgia Pacific products. Here is their list of brands. To be perfectly honest, not using Georgia Pacific brands will make my life a whole lot easier. After all, Bounty and Charmin are the brands that are always on sale at Costco.

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