A year from now or twenty years from now, I may not remember case details or clerk’s names but I will remember the moments of humanity, humility, and humor that I experienced this summer.
At GJP, I witnessed lawyering at its best. Sitting in on client meetings, jail visits, and court interactions, I watched Anna and Suzanne fighting hard for their clients. My single most favorite experience was the second time I went to jail with Anna to do a client visit. We were meeting with a young client, who had been locked up for about 90 days awaiting prosecutorial action on his case. Anna explained everything to the young man – the court procedure, where we were in the case, and what was to come. Even sitting behind a pane of plexiglass, dressed in an orange jumpsuit and hand cuffed I think Anna made him feel respected. She spoke to him without any sense of paternalism or superiority. I really appreciated her ability to balance the need to convey important and sometimes difficult legal information and a constant level of respect.
Additionally, one of the most important things I will take from this summer is the importance of humor in your daily routine. Because of the severity of a lot of this work it is so important to find moments of levity wherever you can. I greatly appreciate the attorneys’ ability to chuckle at each other, themselves, and even sometimes clients. When they laughed it gave us permission to giggle as well, something that is very important in this work.
Finally, I will remember that I LOVE Atlanta. I love the population that GJP serves and I love the community that GJP is. What a fantastic summer with fantastic people!