I can’t sleep. Sirens whine and pulses of light flash red on the walls of this dingy hotel. There are only ten channels on the television and no wifi, and I’m stuck another night. All the flights home had departed by the time those New York lawyers finished interrogating the witness. Their hourly rates are higher than mine; certainly their cost of living is, so I understand. It’s a long time since our firm, too, had more than enough work, a long time since the days when practicing law was an adventure and billings were mere bookkeepers’ annoyances. I remember trying ten or fifteen cases a year with files only two inches thick – comp cases, fender benders, divorces, DWIs, and occasionally the more complex civil case or white-collar crime.
But maybe more than the law practice has been transformed. Maybe I was different then, too. Maybe I’m just growing old, inexorable change befuddling my calcifying brain. Maybe everything was wrong. Maybe I just took the wrong path. Maybe I’ll never rest, never feel that I can go up to my house justified, never, like the prodigal son, come to myself and return where I belong. Maybe that place where I belonged is gone.
Read more of this in Corpus Christi Writers 2018: An Anthology
Dr. Bill Chriss is a trial and appellate lawyer who is also a historian, political scientist, religious scholar, and published author. He was nominated for the Rhodes Scholarship and holds graduate degrees in law, theology, history and politics, including a J.D. from Harvard and a Ph.D. in history from The University of Texas. Dr. Chriss has taught Political Philosophy, History, and Constitutional Law and has written several articles for scholarly journals. His first book, The Noble Lawyer, was published by Texas Bar Books in 2011, while his second book, Six Constitutions over Texas, is currently being edited for publication.