Almost every article in the Driver’s License Restoration section of this blog examines and explains some part of the License Appeal process, or takes an overview-type look at it. This article will be different. I want to explain why I like this field so much, why I have such passion about it, and how I can come back, week after week, with enough enthusiasm to write yet another License Restoration article.
The first thing I can point out is that there is much happiness in success. I have won 181 of the last 183 License Appeals I have handled in the last nearly two and a half years. In 2010, I won 100% of the cases I filed, and since about June of 2009, having won 181 of the last 183 cases I accepted, my overall win rate is 98.9%. I’m so sure that I’ll be successful in any Appeal I take that I guarantee I’ll win the first time, or the next is free.
But winning isn’t everything.
I certainly would have no such job satisfaction if I was defending murderers and rapists and helping them go free. Nor would I derive any pleasure in representing some big company that steamrolled all over the rights of some average person, and managed to help it escape liability for its actions.
As I said, winning isn’t everything.
License Restoration Clients, or at least the people who become my Clients, are people on the upswing in their lives. They’re people who have not only had a deep insight into themselves, but who have had the fortitude and drive to make a significant lifestyle change. They are people who now live alcohol-free. And without exception, their lives are better now that they were at the time of their last DUI.
On any number of occasions, I have represented someone on their 2nd or 3rd (or 4th or 7th) DUI, and observed them in denial, blaming the whole situation on some outside, external factor or factors in their life. They don’t take responsibility for their own actions, and seem, at least at that point, unready and unwilling to make the changes necessary to prevent it form happening again.
Imagine how nice it is to meet them a few years later, after they’ve gotten Sober, and hear them talk about the person they used to be in the past tense. It is night and day to stand next to someone facing a Felony DUI who thinks the whole system is out to get them, and then to stand next to that person down the road, when they have the insight to see that it was them that was the problem, and not anyone or anything else.
And those changes are only the beginning. Whatever situation a person was in at the time of their last and final DUI, a few years of Sobriety makes everything better. Almost everyone who comes through my Office for a License Restoration cites significantly improved family relationships since they “put the plug in the jug.” They always talk about feeling better. The list goes on and on.
In my role as their License Restoration Lawyer, I help them put what is usually the final piece of the puzzle in place: Their Driver’s License. While some people have gone to AA and gone through a kind of internal metamorphosis, others have simply gained enough self-awareness to know they can’t drink. In all cases, these people have a positive quality about them that was entirely missing at the time they were drinking.
So I win cases for people who deserve it. And what I win for them is important. Even if a Lawyer represents a person who suffered a catastrophic injury as the result of someone else’s negligence, all they win back is money. There is no way to put a person back where they were. In a License Appeal, I can do just that.
Beyond the joy of being successful, the experience of being around people on the upswing is refreshing to the point of being addictive. I’d be lying if I said I walk into some Courthouse for a DUI case with the same, happy mindset I have when I meet a License Client. Many of my License Clients have read a lot of what I’ve written on this subject, and know that I am, if nothing else, passionate about this stuff.
To be sure, not everyone who comes to see me is overjoyed by the task ahead. Nor is everyone so happy in life that you’d think him or her manic. I have plenty of Clients who have subsequently been diagnosed with anxiety disorders, or have suffered through depression. By the time they get to me, however, they’ve gotten it under control, and have come to realize that their alcohol use prevented that from ever happening.
I once observed that anyone you hire for anything better like what they do. I joked that this even holds true for proctologists. But it is true. I don’t think I’d like being a Dentist, but I would never want to go to one who hated his or her job. I want my Dentist to be all into his profession.
Beyond just liking what I do, I have a strong interest (and perhaps that’s eccentric), in the principles of alcoholism, addiction, cross-addiction and recovery. I study this stuff all the time, not because I have to, but because I like to. I’m not knowledgeable about this stuff because I am a successful License Restoration Lawyer, rather I’m a successful License Restoration Lawyer because I’m knowledgeable about this stuff.
I see both an ongoing interest in and the ongoing study of the whole panorama of alcoholism and addiction and recovery as necessary to be a good License Restoration Lawyer. For my part, I think a Lawyer handling License Appeals better be able to speak the same language as the Substance Abuse Counselor who completes the Substance Abuse Evaluation. If he or she does not, then any wins they produce will be more a matter of luck, rather than skill.
Over the last number of years, License Appeals have become the foundation of my Practice. If I could, I’d do nothing but them. And if the State keeps ratcheting up the DUI consequences, as they always seem to be doing, that day may yet come.
License Restorations take a lot of work. My first meeting with a Client lasts about 3 hours. It is not quick money, but in the end, helping a person get back on the road who has turned his or her life around and stayed Sober is something I can and do feel good about.
At the conclusion of almost every case, I am often rewarded by a message left by a grateful Client saying “thank you!” You just don’t get that kind of gratitude in any other legal endeavor. It makes everything worthwhile.
I suppose that, in the final analysis, being a Lawyer is, for the most part, being in the misery business. No one comes into a Lawyer’s Office on a roll. Something has gone wrong to get them there, or else they’re planning their estate and what will happen when they die. Either way, it’s not an upbeat situation.
License Clients do come in on a roll, or at least with the expectation and hope that we can continue that roll right through putting the final, missing piece of their re-built lives back in place; regaining their privilege to drive. And being able to do that has provided me with a job satisfaction unlike anything I’ve ever experienced as a Lawyer, and I’d bet unlike anything almost every other kind of Lawyer does not have.