Maybe Not So Bad

December 11, 2009

I spend a lot of time grousing about Connecticut, and more precisely, about the fact that I am here, the fact that West Hartford needs to have more mixed commercial and residential zoning, the fact that mass transit is a joke and everyone drives and people don’t even walk the three blocks from my street to the grocery store (even when they are only getting a couple things and the weather is less punishing than it is today!), the fact that Yale Cancer Center Answers is a real program on public radio, etc. But every now and then, my whole life seems to be firing on all cylinders, and it is a very nice feeling.

Case in point: Last week, I got a case referred to me from another state. A 15-year-old in foster care in said state was placed in Connecticut to be nearer to extended family, but the school district where he is living refused to enroll him, a stance very much against the law. When I got the case, the kid had already been out of school for the better part of two months, despite the best efforts of his foster father and his home state’s child protection agency. And you know what? It took me a week of concerted effort, but I made the school district here enroll him. We had a hearing scheduled for 8:00 a.m. Monday morning and I knew I would win, but the lawyer for the school district kept insisting on some kind of written promise that the other state would pay education costs, and I kept telling her that her written promise was in the law (which says that out-of-state agencies that place kids here are on the hook for education costs), and she kept insisting. And finally I said, “Look, let’s do this hearing. I will win – you know this. If I don’t win, I will win on appeal. And at every step, I will call many witnesses, make many objections, and file motions of the sort you don’t often see in administrative hearings.” Which is to say, tell your client is is going to cost them a pretty penny to fuck with me. And that is where we left it at 5:05 p.m.

And then, lo and behold, at 5:15 the lawyer called me to say, OK, I have sent you an e-mail promising in writing to enroll your client in school. In other words, they blinked, and that was a delightful thing for me, because it meant, in essence, that I am maybe not such a bad lawyer after all. (The hearing would have been fun, though.)

Then, when I got home, I lit Hannukah candles with my lovely wife and delightful children, and their present was a DVD, Sesame Street 1974 – 1979, which automatically made me even more happy than I already was, and my darling wife cooked a delicious dinner, and my wonderful older son read his own bedtime story for the first time ever (he is five), and I had five glasses of wine, and everything was wonderful.

Now the boys are sleeping, the wife and I are going to watch Friday Night Lights, and life might just be a simple dream.


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