I always heard that you must have thick skin to be a lawyer, but I never understood why. However, that changed during my first week at the Macomb County Circuit Court with Judge Viviano.
On my first day with Judge Viviano, she was just beginning a new trial; a criminal sexual misconduct trial.
Although the facts were difficult to hear and the witnesses were challenging to listen to, both sides deserved undivided attention. As a strong believer that one is innocent until proven guilty, I was ready and prepared to fully observe and see if I could come to my own verdict to then see what the jury would decide.
What made the experience insightful and interesting, was I was able to observe the full trial and then ask questions to the attorneys on both sides and the Judge in her chambers. However I did not understand a lot of the legal language, Judge Viviano was extremely helpful in answering all of my questions and giving me full explanations. No matter how busy she was, she made time to talk with my through questions to ensure that I fully understood.
During recess of the trial or before it began each morning, Judge would allow me to read motions or opinions on her other files. Her docket contained many insurance, business, and other civil cases that were going through the process to either settle or go to trial. I found it most interesting that cases can settle so quickly, while others can go back and forth for days if not months to avoid trial.
I came to the conclusion, with Judge’s advice, that each case should have the goal of settlement. Not just because it is easier and also a lot cheaper, but because our legal system allows you to work with legal experts to make a decision that you think is best for you. When you go in front of a Judge and/or jury, you are now putting the decision in the hands of others, restricting some of that freedom of which you had before.
Watching the trial showed me the pros and cons of our legal system, but confirmed for me that there is no system as great as it. It was inspiring to see the process of justice and each party receive what they deserve based on the facts that were provided. It was an extremely difficult process to observe due to the type of case, but someone must be the thick skinned, focused, and confident individual to fight for and defend the rights of others.
I believe that one day I can be that person, too.