Two years out of law school while sending out resumes and feelers for social justice work — in 1991, before the Internet became well-known, and while still doing civil litigation and regulatory work with a Washington, D.C. corporate law firm — I was particularly inspired by separate Legal Times articles about two private practice lawyers who care about social justice.
One is Washington, D.C., lawyer Jim Klimaski. The same day I read an article about his civil rights and military law practice, I called him up and asked to meet. He graciously invited me to his office by the next day. A few months later I joined the Maryland Public Defender’s Office, transitioning not only to highly meaningful work defending indigent clients in criminal court, but also making a transition into the criminal defense work career that I have stuck with ever since, with a two-year intermission fourteen years ago learning the civil trial ropes.
Soon after meeting Jim, I read an article about the colorful Victor Glasberg, an Alexandria, Virginia, civil rights and civil litigation lawyer with an office sign proclaiming "Robin Hood was right." (See this great 1988 Washington Post article on Vic.) By happenstance, he was listed soon thereafter as a speaker at a local brown bag lunch about employment law, where he pointed out some key differences between practicing in the federal Rocket Docket /Eastern District of Virginia, versus in the D.C. federal trial court, including underlining that justice delayed is justice denied. Many years later, I called Vic to bounce off an idea about a civil litigation case I had in the Rocket Docket, and he graciously spoke with me soon after I called. I continue referring potential civil rights and employment law clients to Jim and Vic.
Was Robin Hood right? Regardless, Jim and Vic let me know before the Internet was there to do so, that I was far from alone alone in my devotion to finding a way to doing good with my law degree, rather than merely earning a paycheck. Thanks again to you both!