From the Sublime to the Ridiculous (and Back)

Being a full-time lawyer and a part-time politician can lead to some head-snapping transitions, often in just a few hours.

Last night, my family and I rode in the Town of Vienna’s Halloween parade. The weather was cold, but the spectators were great.  

Sharon and the girls dressed up as the ”Pink Ladies” straight from the set of “Grease,” while I wore my leather jacket and jeans as Danny Zucco (circa 2008).  My four year-old Tommy, of course, did his own thing.  He was “Lightning McQueen,” wearing a NASCAR driver jumpsuit.  

With Kathy’s husband Bruce at the wheel of our convertible and me working the crowd and distributing free pencils, we finished the parade route a little after 8 pm, just ahead of the Town firetrucks and the Redskins Marching Band. 

I then bundled the kids in the minivan and drove back home, stopping in just long enough to pack a suit and hop in the car for Richmond.  I arrived at my downtown hotel at 10:30 pm. 

Why the late night trip?  Because this morning I was arguing an appeal before the Virginia Supreme Court from a case I won back in 2007.

After a  5 am wakeup, I opened a folder of reported cases and the trial court record and began my day.  I was representing a Fairfax County tenant whose business had been wiped out by persistent flooding at his premises.  We had won a verdict against the landlord in the trial court and now our judgment was in jeopardy.  The key appeal issues involved the parties’ lease and the landlord’s requirement to provide a dry premises. 

For Virginia lawyers, an argument before the Supreme Court in Richmond is one of the highlights of your career.  You spend days in preparation and walk into the historic courtroom with anticipation.  Even though I’ve made these arguments before, it’s still a thrill. 

That’s for the first 30 minutes.  The rest of the morning you’re killing time as you wait for your case to be called.  Finally, our case got called early in the afternoon and I had my chance to speak.  (The decision won’t come down for a couple more months). 

Afterwards, I pulled off my tie, got back in the car and headed home.  My leather jacket was still on the front seat from the Vienna parade, next to an empty coffee cup, and my phone was full of messages from my home office. 

It was back to reality. 

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