Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Remorse, I Screwed You!

The etymology of the word remorse is from the Late-Latin for "bite again." according to Merriam-Webster.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines remorse as deep regret of guilt for wrongs committed.  But I like the
Merriam-Webster definition, "a gnawing distress from a sense of guilt for past wrongs." 

I am living a "gnawing distress" arising out of my guilt for past wrongs.

A dear friend told me that he read my disciplinary case concluding that I did not demonstrate remorse for my deviations from the rules of ehtics before the Supreme Court.  I genuinely believe my friend Charlie, thinks that this must be so, and maybe the Supreme Court of my state believes that I am not remorseful.  Charlie thinks that this view of my mindset animated the Court's decision to lengthen my suspension by a year and make my readmission contingent on active steps to demonstrate my appreciation for the rules relating to running my law office.  Charlie may be right, but as I told Charlie I have always been remorseful, but sometimes disciplinary counsel suggests that you had darker motives.  In my case disciplinary counsel suggested I had a "scheme" to defraud creditors of my law practice when my scheme was to keep the lights on, and enable clients to call a working telephone number, and so forth.  But was the disciplinary counsel wrong?  Did I exhibit for the panel of disciplinary judges an uncaring disposition as it related to the claims of my creditors?  Apparently I did. 

Actually, I am in "gnawing distress," as I embrace my utter failure on this and in regards to my tax liabilities arising out of trying to run a solo law practice.  I am bleeding from the inside out.  I wonder how it is I've not sufffered a complete physical collapse, a heart attack occasioned by "ganwing distress."  For me the worst of it is fear for my children if the consequences of my acts and inactions occasion my absence from them.  Secondly encountering old friends, judges, former colleagues--and, I can't begin to tell you how kind and compassionate so many have been;  and, yet there are those who I encounter that are horrified, aftaid, and who see themselves in me and I imagine quickly try to rationalize how they are not me.  I assume most have not done what I did, I assume most of my former colleagues did what they were supposed to do--and timely.  I remember how I felt when the shoes were reversed.

Still, Charlie if you are reading this,  it would be a mistake to think that I am not remorseful, in fact everyday I have a little more insight and a lot more pain.   My memories race through my mind at night and all day, everyday.  I did what I did and it was not just ethically wrong, but in actuality morally wrong.   Get this straight, I say what I did was law office management and client fund dispersement problems.  While every client received their money, my law office practices, my failure to file and pay taxes screwed everyone else including you. 

I am sorry.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. His Hoiness--

    left a consoling and supportive comment, but inadvertently was a little too "disclosing" of others, and I've reluctantly taken down the comment.

    Thank you, pope, for your always kind sentiment.


  3. I meant "His Holiness"--not "Hoiness"--but I had a chance to talk to my pal this morning and a number of my friends at the coffee palace, this AM who read this post. I want to add an additional thought which did not originate with me, but which pertains, when you see wet spots on the walls of your house; when you see crumbling plaster, and peeling paint you don't paint over the problems you go into the walls and find the leaking pipe. My failure to do that may be underlying my grief, I'm not wholly seeing my corrupt heart.

    My dear friend Chris tells me that my metaphor for my situation should be the dutch boy, but he's being kind. I ruptured the dam a long time ago when I rationalized on-the-fly, that the rules didn't apply to me or my situation. I see that, I know, and I intend to transform.

    But let's be honest I can't transform my corrupt heart if I can't see the leaking infrastructure. I see it.


  4. Where we can get confused is when we forget that much of the dam is community property, and often viewed as a municipal ediface. Yes Bad Lawyer's finger was in the breach, where it adjoined Bad Lawyer's palatial estate. BL undoubtedly had been aware of the alarming damage to the dam's exterior plaster for years, and he may have caused much of the structural problem where it crossed his property line.

    But I'm sure trying to stem the flow was full time, exhausing work. Apparently BL has been standing by that dam for years, sometimes casually, other times displaying his customary elegance, but inwardly frantically. I'm sure folks talked to BL as they passed by, and I have no doubt his dialogue with pedestrians was more concerned with thir lives than his.

    The dam belongs both to the community and to Bad Lawyer. I have no doubt he feels profound remorse about the cascading water. But I can see other leaks down the entire length, and individuals just like Bad Lawyer standing there hoping nobody notices as they try to prevent their own personal floods.

    Let's be sensitive to these good people, as we'd hope they'd help us. And understand that each of us has a towering emotional dam around our souls, which we hope hides from the view of others our enormous remorse and shame.

    I remind Bad Lawyer that these dams can be repaired, one square inch at a time. Oh, and there's nothing wrong with asking for assistance. I'll bet Bad Lawyer is real good at giving help, not so good asking for it.

  5. I repeat. I don't give a flying! Charlie be damned for his crassness, it is ultimately his constant flaw.

    My friend, nothing has changed,save maybe you, for the better.

  6. BL, no one doubts the remorse you feel and all can see the toll this has taken on you. The Supremes concluded what they did based on the info in front of them. You have been a good friend and lawyer to me- You are a good and intelligent man. Better and more intelligent than the man presented to the Supremes- That was the crux of the comment. All of us do are best, but it's these trying times that chink the armour enough that we look for a new best, a new self and a new lease on life. "okiedoke" is right "Bad Lawyer is real good at giving help, not so good asking for it." See me as the proof- "There is no help for a man with all the answers."

  7. Charlie--

    Thank you for posting your comment, as I said in my telephone call after we spoke on March 10th, your remarks to me personally did me a world of good, helping me see myself from a perspective I did not possess. It's not the first time over the years in which you've helped me gain insight that I need. Thank you for being my friend.