Victory. Not just victory, but epic victory. Judge Lawlor not only dismissed the case against my client, but also sanctioned the other side and their attorney, Chad Cooper. This was going to a fun call to my client…
I have to be honest, Chad Cooper might have been the worst lawyer I ever had the displeasure of dealing with. The only positive thing I could muster up about Chad is how much I loved mopping the floor with him on every motion or court proceeding. His suits never fit right, and he didn’t make a lot of sense in court. I couldn’t believe anyone was paying this guy money to represent them. Every time I dealt with Chad I felt a sense of disdain and dislike. Part of me took great pleasure watching Judge Lawlor constantly rip him apart.
They key to winning this case was easy, really. File lots of motions, overwhelm him, and give him no mercy. “The Chadster”, as I liked to call him around the office, wouldn’t respond on time. Then the judge would get angry, and sanctions would be issued. Chad was always so overwhelmed. This was a constant theme throughout the case:
“Hey Jordan, it’s Chad… I’m a little jammed up this month. Do you think I could get a 14 day extension?”
“Chad, the best I can do is give you three days. That’s it. If you don’t like it, put it before Judge Lawlor again. Actually, I think I would like to see Judge Lawlor. Wouldn’t that be so much fun? I’ll even wear a tie like a big boy.”
“…three days is fine, Jordan. Thanks.”
From there, the Chadster would put together a half hearted, sloppy reply. After about six months of this pattern, Judge Lawlor had enough. Chad and his client got sanctioned, and my client was let out of the lawsuit. I immediately sent Chad a letter informing him that I was going to sue him and his client for bringing suit in the first place.
Sometimes you’re the pigeon, and sometimes you’re the statue. The Chadster was usually the statue.
My client called me, elated at our victory:
“My man! My bulldog! My favorite lawyer of all time! You destroyed the Chadster! That’s why I hired you!”
“The pleasure was all mine, Jay.” I loosened my tie, unbutton my shirt, and put my feet up on my desk.
“I left a nice bottle of scotch on your desk. Drink up, knock off early. You deserve it.”
I did deserve it.
A few weeks later I called the Chadster to make a demand. He would pay my client’s legal fees and then some, and maybe this would go away. If not, we file suit and I would string him up.
A female voice answered his phone. Funny, I didn’t know Chad had a secretary. That loser could barely keep the lights on, when did he hire someone?
“Is Chad in? It’s Jordan Rushie. I’m calling on the Marty case.” Don’t pretend like you’re busy, Chad. I know you’re not.
“I’m sorry, Chad isn’t in.”
“Okay. When will he be in? It’s important…”
“Chad won’t be in. He passed away. This is his wife, Mary.”
“…I’m so sorry to hear that.”
Throughout the week I began to get calls from some of Chad’s former clients who wanted me to represent them:
“Yeah, Jordan, I can’t believe my lawyer died on me like that. He was a young guy, too. Apparently they just found him in his car. And it is the strangest thing. All his files were boxed up, and they had notes outlining exactly what needed to be done on each of them. It’s like he knew it was coming. Weird, right?”
I still had to drop some stuff off at his office. When I got there, the scene was a sad one. A small, dingy office and a conference room. It was a mess in there. His wife Mary was cleaning up files and answering the phone. She looked tired.
“Hey Mary. I just came by to drop off some paperwork. I’m real sorry about Chad, and I hope you’re hanging in there.”
“I’ll be fine, Jordan. Thanks. Um, I know this is kind of a weird request, but would you mind picking up my son Chris from school? It’s not far from here. I have to take a few more phone calls.”
“Sure, no problem.”
At that moment, a picture of Chad and his family stood out to me. They actually looked happy together. Chad looked very different when he wasn’t wearing a suit.
What’s funny is before today I had never thought of Chad as a person. To me he was opposing counsel. A lawyer, and a bad one. The Chadster. I had never thought of him as a father or a husband.
I arrived at Chris’s school about a half hour after it had let out. Chris was sitting on the front steps. He had a giant mop of blond hair, and looked like a miniature version of Chad. Except sad… I could see so much sadness behind the boy’s eyes.
“Hey Chris. Your mom asked me to pick you up from school.”
“I know. She texted me.”
“You kids have texting nowadays? Jeez. …look, I’m sorry about your Dad, Chris. Real sorry.”
“Thanks. Were you friends with him?”
“Um, yeah, I was. He was a cool guy. A super cool guy.”
And I meant that. Despite Chad’s shortcomings as a lawyer, he was a cool guy. He had a wife and kid who cared about him.
We drove back in silence.