Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Gaining the Wisdom of Retired Practitioners: My Discussion With A Master.

This morning I received a call from a retired Employment Lawyer of 30 years or more practice who spent decades in the trenches representing employees in trial and arbitrations.  She and I discussed the necessary methods of proof in discrimination cases.  She had been the Plaintiff's Attorney in a leading Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, Godwin v. Wesson Oil, decided nearly 14 years ago.  The Godwin case is cited today in other appellate decisions on the question of what quality and kind of evidence is needed to defeat an employer's pre-trial motion for Summary Judgment.  Godwin held that "'direct evidence" is sufficient but not necessary to defeat the motion.

This kind of phone call is one of the delights of my pratice.  I love speaking with persons who know the law deeply because they helped create it, and they were the trial attorneys in those cases. Their wisdom, their generous guidance, and their invaluable personal insights, are treasures.  

This attorney still gets calls from referrals of former clients, or former clients themselves.  I am honored that she directs some of those calls my way.  

I know she is truly retired, because she stated unapologetically that she has no email when I offered to send her some information. I don't know that I will ever be that "retired."  But I do knew that retirement has not dulled her mind or diminished her fighting spirit based on this morning's call.   

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