NO BROOM IN THE BRIEFCASE

My Dear Friends and Readers,

It was a cold windy wet day in Baltimore City. It was the kind of day that I would have rather stayed in bed and read a good book. It was not to be so. There are days in the life of a lawyer that dictate action within very narrow time lines created by the courts of law. Today was one of those days. But before I could file my document with the Clerk of the Baltimore City Circuit Court basic filing procedures that had been misfiled had to be corrected. These kinds of mistakes usually take an inordinate amount of time although the mistake is seemingly unimportant- they are usually terribly important especially if your client is a Sr. and the court has inadvertently made him a Jr. Or that the client’s middle initial in an already common name is mistakenly entered as an “E” instead of an “F”.  This kind of clerical error can derail a case.  This type of mistake had caused Court documents being sent directly to the client, who anxiously called me from out of state when the documents arrived at her door. This had been happening  with my case for almost a month. These mistakes created by human error are difficult to clear up because nobody wants to fix them much less accept responsibility for creating the mistake in the first place. But before I could charge off to court in person, a dear friend needed my help.

My dear friend and I had breakfast together at my request. Despite weather and rain and pain he gamely showed up and  because he had severely injured his wrist and had failed to renew his insurance by the January 31, 2016 dead line, he had wrapped his wrist in a drugstore wrist brace and a sock. When I asked why not just buy health insurance anyway, he said that he could not renew his insurance because he had failed to file his taxes. (See, even well educated people are unsure what to do under Obama Care) But before we go any further, I must comment on the Health Care Exchange System which the state of Maryland is a member. The process itself is not difficult but choosing an insurance plan is not easy, especially if you have limited financial resources or are without a computer or without Internet or are simply not comfortable reading what can be confusing directions. I am glad I helped him.  When I bravely selected health insurance through the  Health Exchange Process, I was overwhelmed and it took a long time.

As an aside, my friend’s wrist hurt so badly that he asked me to cut up his breakfast. I am ashamed to say that I did not cut up his meal in a nice way. However, I  do not often cut up meals for people, although as I and my friends grow older, perhaps I should add cutting up food nicely to my skill set.  Now back to the law stuff.

I have never been known to back down in a legal fight. In fact when I was a brand new lawyer I added “angry black woman” to my skill set and that scares some lawyers. Today, however it was the administrative staff of two courts that I had to deal with. What I had learned long ago, before I even entered law school was to always be overly courteous to  court staff. The people who work for courts wield enormous power and can allow your document to be filed- although the deadline to file expired 59 seconds before you or your messenger ran breathlessly up to the Clerk’s window. Today the court staff expressed their power.

I will spare you the details, because they are really not important and they are boring, but I had to assert some legal muscle today. A single well-placed phone call can work miracles.  Despite annoyed and angry tones and unfriendly faces, my case was correctly entered into the court’s docket. Why things went so far awry is also too long a tale to tell, but the story and the day, both although gray ended in a happy pleasant day.

I write about this law and insurance tale because it is an example of  how I have changed as a person and a lawyer. My friend was more important than my schedule. The mistakes that plagued my case were corrected without threats or even a raised tone of voice. This is progress for me. This makes me happy to realize this change in me. However, for those of you out there who believe I hide my collapsible broom in my briefcase, worry no more. The broom and briefcase are rare these days.

Signed,

Brianna S.Clark
The Addict Writes

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