A Note of Grief (With a Thought on the Law)
This morning I attended the funeral of a young man, much too young to die. He was barely forty years old, had two beautiful daughters, and a wife that he adored. He had enjoyed an impressive career: graduation from the University of Chicago Law School, legal practice, ten years as counsel to a powerful Senate committee, followed by a successful career as a lobbyist. In addition to the law, he was a man of broad intellectual interests, whose office was stuffed not only with law books but also Byron, Shakespeare, and Shelly.
A Senator that he had worked for spoke at his funeral, and gave a heart-felt tribute to his friend, his professional accomplishments and personal warmth. It was sincere and honest praise. But I couldn’t help but think about what thin gruel professional accomplishment was in summing up a life. I couldn’t help but think how much more powerful the non-professional memories of his brother were, or how much more real the simple sermon delivered by a life-long family friend was compared to the Senator’s tribute to glittering legal accomplishments.
I had meant my inaugural post here to be something tremendously insightful about the law. I have been kicking around ideas about Aristotle, the practice of theory, and the dignity of law office history. I had even hit upon a way of working recent Supreme Court nominations into the mix. It was going to be a truly impressive display. But I find that today I am more inclined to weep for two, newly fatherless little girls and note the commonplace that life, love, and family can make even the law seem a tinseled play thing. A clichéd thought, to be sure, but no less true for that.