Thursday, April 16, 2009

Roundtable Discussion

You can only be an observer for so long. At one time or another, you have to decide whether or not to get involved.

This comes from what I remember:

In June 2006, the meeting room in Vancouver, BC was filled with brightness and anticipation. A small group of people - defense lawyers, a scribe, myself and my assistant - had gathered together. Samuel Davis, properly dressed in a three-piece suit sat directly next to me. The authoritative calmness of Davis' voice rang throughout the room as he guided the process. His genuine smile, which stretched from ear to ear, reassured me. The defense lawyers sat across from me and they began bombarding me with questions.

And beside me sat my support, Andrea, professionally dressed in her black pin striped attire, ready to interpret. For quite a few hours, I stared at everyone in the room, listened intently to their questions and, with Samuel's permission, answered them honestly. The intensity that filled the room weighed heavily upon me.

"Lisa, how much do you weigh?" one of the lawyers asked me. What kind of dumb question was that? It was so demeaning and irrelevant I might as well have told him every detail of my life!

Davis stopped me abruptly. "No, no you don't have to answer that" he said, "My client will not discuss this issue any further."

"Okay," he replied with a sarcastic tone.

I was a client. It was my fight. I'd lose.

"I have no problems with your disability," the defense rudely stated when my lawyer summoned me. "I understand that your family has struggled. I definitely get that. Just make one thing clear. How come you waited so long to seek retribution?.....Do you need money? What about the doctor? Don't you know his estate is tied up?"

But I was determined to continue. It seemed to me that I was heading nowhere, but I wanted to state my case, they could no longer silence me. What they had to understand was that it was the doctor's fault. With only an apology on the line what did he have to lose by admitting his mistake? What I really wanted was for him to recognize the effect on my life.

My first attempt at dabbling in the law was a foreign experience. My target was a doctor. His name was irrelevant. 28 years plus had passed since the day I was born in Elliot Lake, Ontario. I found my lawyer in a local newspaper article. Davis had won every case he had been involved in, so far, and that's why I chose him. Evidence proved that he was a successful lawyer. He was the one I wanted on my side to fight my battle with me, even though in the end I couldn't prove that it was the doctor's mistake, and I never did get that apology.

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