Thursday, March 01, 2007

An Open Letter to the Legal Aid Society

My Dear Friends,

I wanted to express my deep appreciation for all of your support over the past month. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t received a card, a heartfelt note or a phone call from someone at Legal Aid asking how Jack and I are getting along and offering whatever help it is within their power to give. It is clear by the overwhelming response to Becky’s passing that she touched all of our hearts, and by extending yourself in this difficult time you have touched mine.

What is especially comforting to me is how the Legal Aid community’s overwhelming response to her passing validates her core belief in the essential goodness of humanity. It takes a special sort of person to do the kind of work that you all do on a daily basis. The case load is unmanageable, the stress level is often intolerable and the clients aren’t exactly falling all over themselves to shower you with their undying appreciation. As you can imagine (and as some of you have overheard) I had endless conversations with Becky about her cases and about working as a public defender in general. The one thing that stands out in my mind is that no matter how objectively awful her client appeared on paper, and no matter how overworked and burnt out she was, at some point in our conversation she would comment that her client was essentially a good person who did a bad thing and how it isn’t fair to take measure of a man by looking at his worst acts.

That is the sort of view of humanity that Becky had and it’s a view that is in short supply in today’s world. It has been my experience that it is a view of the world that can be more readily found at organizatoins like Legal Aid than in most other areas of the legal profession. Your generous financial contributions and offers of support to Jack and I are a reflection of that world-view and they are appreciated from the bottom of our hearts.

Mark & Jack

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