Many of you may have already seen that we’re re-branding the practice as Indigo Family Law. Nothing else is changing, we will still be focusing on family law (lucky that, otherwise …) with the occasional criminal matter – although we encourage our clients, former clients, friends and family to come to us first with any legal matter.
I, certainly, am not changing, Which is why I’m re-posting this today. Just to let you I’m the same shy, retiring Brana you all know … until.
A few weeks ago, a friend asked me what I did. I think he put it this way, “What … exactly do you do?” He asked because, according to him, my old website claimed I did rather a lot of everything.
I patiently explained that I concentrated mostly in family law – including adoption. Adoption can be complex, and family law encompasses divorce, custody, mediation, so much more. Which is why I like it, every case is unique.
I finished pretty pleased with myself for my conciseness, he would have none of it, “What about your criminal law background?”
“Well, I still take the occasional case but … I guess I reserve my criminal law persona for the people who sabotage settlements, or act in the worst interest of the kids or …”
“What do you mean, ‘what then?’”
“What do you do when someone blows up a perfectly good settlement?”
“Oh, then I annihilate them.”
There must have been something about the way I said that because he looked startled for a moment, then laughed, then said, “You’re not a lawyer, you’re Valdez.”
I had no idea what he was talking about, so he filled me in:
Valdez – Bob Valdez – was the title character in the ‘70s cult classic, Valdez is Coming. Written by the late, great Elmore Leonard, it starred the late, great Burt Lancaster. Valdez was a mild-mannered Tex-Mex sheriff on a border town at the turn of last century. He’s the laconic type who really wants to work things out with everyone.
The movie starts with a death and a pregnant widow and Bob trying to collect a few dollars from the men who caused the death so the widow can return to her family. Her Apache family. The townspeople agree to pay $100 if Bob can collect another $100 from the local … well, the local rich land baron who happens to have a pretty large gang and a whole lot more cash on hand than any honest rancher this side of Shane.
Bob tries, twice, to get the guy to pay up. Both times he’s rebuffed. He goes back again, asks quietly, sensibly, humanely. He tries to mediate the conflict. It doesn’t work, this time he’s not only rebuffed, he’s savagely beaten and tossed in the desert to die.
Bob struggles out, is tended to by a friend, starts to heal. He leaves his friend’s house, rides to his home in town, dismounts, goes in – directly to his bed, kneels, pulls out a dusty trunk.
He opens it, on top is a photo of an elite US Army unit during the Apache Wars. Under that is a U.S. Army uniform. Under that is a Sharps sharpshooter’s rifle. The uniform on, the rifle loaded and ready, he rides out to get the $200. Only now, he’s not Bob, he’s Valdez and he’s coming. The land baron and his men never know what hit them.
The widow gets the $200.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and I’m not sure I’m Valdez but I am sure my criminal law background, including experience with capital crimes, from both sides, prosecution and defense, does give me a considerable edge when things that shouldn’t go sideways do.
One thing I do share with Valdez – I’m loathe to cut loose, but when I do they never see it coming.