A different kind of attorney-client relationship


We are at the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Roadshow in Seattle.  Over a third of the attendees are in wheel chairs.  The room is absolutely full.  People are standing along the back and side walls.  More chairs are brought in.

Anne, my paralegal and I have been checking in the attendees.  Everyone is so polite to us even though the line backs up to the elevator.  Cloie Johnson, comes and helps us handle the crowd until it gets down to a trickle and the program begins.   Anne stays out in the hall so I come inside to listen.  My friend Meryl Schenker, a professional photographer, is taking pictures for us.  She goes on break and sits with me.

I point out some of the people in the room.  Katie Douglas and Tony Choppa, two of the board members for our new state SCI organization.  My law partner Brad is sitting in front of us next to his former client Mickey Gendler, his wife and caregiver.

Behind us is Doug Weinmaster who is with his former client Steven who rarely goes out in public and is not feeling well.  I had asked Doug the name of Steven’s caregiver (for name tag purposes).  And Doug said – I’m bringing him and I will be his caregiver.  I thought.  Wow.  That is pretty neat. Steven is a young 20 someething quadriplegic who other than his initial hospitalization has lived almost exclusively in a nursing home.

The program is supposed to end at 9:00 but it is going longer than scheduled because so many people have questions about research and quality of life programs.  Doug and his client leave the room and go into the hall.  After a few moments, Meryl says – look.  I look.  Doug is caring for Steven.  Extremely competently.  We see him taking his pulse.  Like a graceful nurse in suit and tie.

I meet many wonderful people.  Am touched by their stories that I don’t even know.  Watch the human connections being made.  It is a night of inspiration and hope.  I gather up Anne and we head back to the office.

One Response to A different kind of attorney-client relationship

  • Diann Thompson says:

    Steve is lucky to have Doug in his life. What a team these two boys make!. Thank You Doug for being everything you are!

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About Karen
Karen Koehler, partner at the nationally recognized law firm of SKW, blogs about all things related to spinal cord injuries...More
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Favorite Quotation
On Another's Sorrow
Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief.

Can I see a falling tear.
And not feel my sorrows share,
Can a father see his child,
Weep, nor be with sorrow fill'd.

Can a mother sit and hear.
An infant groan an infant fear?
No no never can it be,
Never never can it be

And can he who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small
Hear the small bird's grief & care
Hear the woes that infants bear

And not sit beside the nest
Pouring pity in their breast.
And not sit the cradle near
Weeping tear on infant's tear.

And not sit both night & day.
Wiping all our tears away.
O! no never can it be.
Never, never can it be!

He doth give His joy to all:
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.

O He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.

— William Blake