Unlawful Entry.

There is a risk whenever you put forth strong opinions, anywhere you go or even if you go nowhere and write them down in a blog post.  Whether you are a political figure or an unpopular mom at the local PTA, you can stir controversy.  With controversy comes anger.  And the old saying goes, “Anger is one letter short of danger.”

I have been a lawyer for much longer than I’ve been a mom.  I have worked hundreds of cases throughout my career.  I don’t talk much about that here because the whole purpose of the blog is to discuss issues arising out of my son’s diagnosis of autism.  Sometimes, my worlds converge.  Sometimes, I must pull my business card out like a subtle weapon and lay it down in front of my obstacles.

You may think this makes me lucky.  Some of you might think it would be “fun” to wield that card.  And, trust me, there are times it does come in handy.  But what happened yesterday reminds me of the ugly side of law and having a business.  Some of the many reasons, I hate the profession.

Yesterday was Easter.  We spent a quiet morning at home. The Easter Bunny had just set down his basket when we got a call from the local police department informing us that there was a broken window at our office.

The night before around quarter after 11, I got a call from our alarm company informing me that a motion detector had gone off.  They alarm company had called the police and informed me that if anything was amiss, the police would call.  Well, guess what?  They didn’t.  Until 12:30 the following afternoon.

We arrived to find this.

Inside, my husband’s office appeared to be the only target.  A nearly new iMac was taken as well as some other stuff.  The alarm did go off almost immediately so whomever broke in took off before stealing a second desktop computer.

My question to the officer was why we were not called the night before.  That officer was extremely honest.  He said that a unit did respond but cleared the call!!  Really?  I could not yell at this officer because he admitted his guys made a mistake.  It wasn’t his fault we were ripped off.  The burglary was over when the cops cleared the call – wrongly as a false alarm.  Plus, the cop I was talking to was not on duty when it happened.

Unfortunately, we do not know who did this.  Several possibilities are under investigation.  One possibility is the one that gives me the least peace of mind.

My husband will start trial a week from now.  The organization being sued does not like being sued.  Someone may have been trying to remove evidence one week prior to trial.  If that was the intent, the operation was botched because they got nothing.

That possibility reminds me of the other seemingly unreal parts of our practice.  Things that occurred before my son was born and things to which we had not been exposed for over five years.  Things that I had almost forgotten until the break in.

When you are a lawyer, you can do many things.  Contractual work, research, advocate and try cases before juries.  We are advocates.  We do not do contractual work (unless it is part of a controversy involving evidence).  We do not review or write contracts unless it’s part of a bigger picture.

In our kind of law, we present arguments.  “Argument” being the key word.  You acquire, by the very nature of the profession, adversaries.  Adversaries can be polite but you can be sure that they will take every opportunity to stab you in the back, the moment you turn away.

This profession is contrary to my nature.  By nature, I am a nice person.  Really.  But, like a person who dons a uniform to perform their duties, I don a persona.  A persona that is not nice.  That’s not what I get paid to do.  I get paid to win.  I only advocate what I believe in.  And, even if I do believe in it, I must know I have a good chance to win.  We need evidence.  We need documents and photographs and tangible items to prove the case, not just someone’s word.

So, given the nature of the law we practice, we do not take small cases.  This leads to some bitter contention from powerful people.  Long ago, I took on a neurosurgeon who botched a surgery so bad, a successful young manager of a financial institution was severely disabled.  Her surgical career was at stake.  I received a letter threatening me, “anonymously”.  It required police contact.

There was a time when the boyfriend of a defendant was caught checking under the car we drove to trial each day by the bailiffs who were working in the courtroom.  They informed us, during a lunch break, that we might want to check our vehicle for damage.  We could not believe these things were happening to us.  We were afraid the brake lines were cut or the tires were slashed.  It turned out to be nothing more than suspicious activity.

So, the Easter “party” at the office, was a high stress affair.  Our legal assistant, Jessica came with her boyfriend.  We spent the afternoon cleaning glass, talking to the police, giving and receiving information, handing over potential evidence to determine who did this and trying to determine what was missing.

Amazing, through all of this, my son was in high spirits, hamming it up for the police officers.  We spent most of the time in my husband’s office where the break in occurred.   He got hold of a gavel my husband kept in his office and proceeded to bang it on daddy’s desk.  He then looked at all of us and asked, “Did you bang the gavel?”  I advised him to assert the 5th and tried to redirect his interest.

My son has special needs.  Sometimes, he can be annoying. I worry about every little thing concerning him.  Yet, he is still, overwhelmingly, a joy and a half.  He and I have fun.  There is love and innocence and honesty.

My momhood has taken me away a lot from the stark contrast of a career built on argument and exposing lies, corruption, hate and discrimination.  A career in which my protagonist was severely injured.  A career where someone, through irresponsibility of others, had lost their life and that loss left deep, irreversible scars.

I have mostly stepped out of that war room to fighting a different kind of battle.

In this battle, the protagonist is an innocent child.  I will try my best to keep him from being exposed to the fights I have daily to get him everything he needs to grow and flourish.  This is not an ugly kind of war.  It is, in fact, a beautiful career path.

While one road I knew, becomes overgrown, as I travel there less and less, the other becomes familiar territory.  This new road is the one I can cherish for the rest of my days.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.  

Robert Frost

About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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23 Responses to Unlawful Entry.

  1. KWombles says:

    I’m so sorry about the break in.

    This is a wonderful post.

  2. What a crummy thing to happen to your office on what otherwise should have been a quiet family holiday! I saw your Tweet yesterday and I still have to wonder at the intelligence of anyone who would break into a law office… Do they think they even have a prayer of getting off if/when they get caught?

    Still, I’m glad that T was a comfort to you and that his good spirits helped to lighten the situation. It’s amazing what kids can do and just another reason why every day as a parent is a little blessing!

  3. Jen says:

    Wow, people really suck. I can’t believe the cops were like, meh, when they got there. I mean, how can you miss a broken window?! Glad it was fun for your son, though…haha.

    • solodialogue says:

      Lazy cops at night – cops that really couldn’t claim they missed it in broad daylight. The kid had a great time making noise in the middle of a lot of pondering. 🙂

  4. Rachel says:

    What a terrible thing to have happen! I have to say, though, that I think it’s a great education for your son to know that his parents keep fighting the good fight, despite these kinds of events. Seeing your courage will give him courage, and seeing your commitment to right some of the wrongs in the world will teach him to do the same.

    And you worry whether you’re doing a good job as a mom? How ridiculous! 🙂

  5. MichaelEdits says:

    I can only echo the others. Unpleasant event, excellent post.

    • solodialogue says:

      Thank you for stopping by Michael. How fun to be able to visit you in Hanoi without leaving my computer! I’m quite excited that you dropped in…However it was you found me. 🙂

  6. Lizbeth says:

    Uggh, the ugly side of humanity. People can just suck sometimes. And I’m talking about the other people–not you!!! I’m glad Tootles had a good day dispite the nasty bits.

  7. Julie says:

    I’m hope they catch the person who did this to you.

    I worked as a paralegal for some pretty interesting attorneys. One (who I lovingly refer to as the dragonlady) caught a major case right out of law school. Have you seen “At Close Range” with Sean Penn? That was her first case. I remember the guy who was convicted calling our office from time to time. He liked me and told me he’d take me out for lunch when he got out (he has a life sentence). Even though 15 years had elapsed since I worked there, I was terrified when he escaped. She woke up to find a protective detail surrounding her house in case he came after her.

    Being a lawyer is a tough job!

    Oh, but I’m glad to hear your son had a positive interaction with the police. I hope they think of him when they encounter children with special needs 🙂

    • solodialogue says:

      Wow, Julie. That was really scary! Sometimes, it’s almost surreal the weird things that happen around a law office. Depends on who you p- off, I guess. Truthfully, I do not think those cops knew my son was special needs and we didn’t mention it. He did have the interaction but it wasn’t so much positive as simply benign. I wonder why in some circumstances he hams it up (almost in an NT way) and then other times, he is completely in his own world…

  8. OK, the first thing I saw when I clicked on this was the adorable picture of Tootles with his little suit, tie, and Easter basket. I even made Brian come look at him, it was that cute.

    Sorry to hear about the break in. My brother is a lawyer, so I know what you mean about having to deal with some crazy people. I hope they find whoever ruined your day. And I’m glad that Tootles wasn’t rattled too much by it- sometimes it can be an advantage when our kids don’t pick up on emotions very well.

    • solodialogue says:

      Thanks for mentioning the little suit! We had him all dressed up and started taking pictures when the call came. Great timing… Crazy people sometimes come with the profession. It is not very often, but often enough to give you a jolt when it does! And yes, I would definitely agree it is an advantage when they do not pick up on the social cues. (On the other hand, he might have picked them up and acted this way to soothe himself. I really don’t know.)

  9. diane says:

    The first thing I noticed was you forgot to unwrap the peeps and get them hard and stale (the finest way to eat a peep) and the second was your son’s wonderful tie and jacket…not to mention that cool hair he sports!

    The party at the office, a big bummer and an insult that will transfer to the offender in time. I like that persona idea (as I start due process), that I am not that angry person, more state of mind one needs to get in order to be moved to action.

    and i love that photo of the two roads. clearly the less traveled, but also the high road.

    • solodialogue says:

      Hi Diane! Hmmm… hard and stale peeps? Okay. Thanks for the kind words about the outfit and hair! He’s my little Paul McCartney in this picture! 😉

      Totally a state of mind to do the job. Just like putting on your uniform. I love that picture too!

  10. Blue says:

    The kiddo looks great in his Easter suit. Such a great basket of treats! He’s a lucky boy.

    So sorry to hear about the break-in. I hope it gets figured out fast, and that you guys are able to move forward soon (given the circumstances). No fun for anyone involved!

  11. solodialogue says:

    Thanks, Blue! He almost forgot about the Easter basket in all the excitement of the office. But as soon as we came home, mom was engaged in some assembly required… and that was actually fun! 🙂

  12. Tam says:

    Only you could wrap news like a break-in in such beautiful prose :]

    I would imagine the cops only drove past the front door that night…

  13. eof737 says:

    Urgh! I hope they find the perp and lock him up. It is such a violation and when I read about evidence tampering, I am reminded that we live in a world that is not always filled with just/honest people. Keep us posted.
    As for your little ham ham, he is a joy! 🙂

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