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TCL > May 1999 Issue > A Perfect Day

May 1999       Vol. 28, No. 5       Page  19
CBA President's Message to Members

A Perfect Day
by Ben S. Aisenberg

I awoke to gentle sunshine, birds all in tune, blue skies, temperature in the mid-70s; it was a typical spring day in Colorado. There was no talk of impeachment; I was still Bar President.

I shaved (no nicks), put on a pressed blue suit (no stains or wrinkles), and ate a light breakfast (no cholesterol). I had a one-day jury trial in Judge Leonard Hand's court, and I felt at the top of my game. I drove to the office. I had given Paul a research assignment the previous afternoon before I left to meet with a witness. There on my desk was a memo and a recent Supreme Court case that was directly in point in support of a critical jury instruction I was hoping the court would give. Liz came in, told me how very nice I looked, and wished me luck as I headed off to court.

I greeted opposing counsel, Clarence Darrow VI, and we chatted briefly about the Rockies' fifteen-game winning streak. The previous night's game had been a 1-0 gem at Coors Field, taking only one hour and fifty minutes. At 8:30 a.m. on the dot, Judge Hand took the bench. He complimented counsel on the short, succinct trial briefs and commented that they were extremely helpful to his understanding of the case. Inwardly, I blushed. The jury panel was seated and, within forty-five minutes, we had selected the six jurors who would decide the case. Opening statements took about fifteen minutes and witnesses were called. The witnesses were well prepared. Questions were short and direct and the answers were responsive. At the noon hour, I had finished presenting the plaintiff's case. I had lunch with my client and her associate. They were pleased with the way the trial was going.

After lunch, the defense put on its case and was finished by the afternoon break. Since both of us had submitted our jury instructions well in advance, the judge had actually reviewed them. My special instruction was discussed and, based on the thorough research Paul had done, it was accepted. We gave closing arguments. The jury was attentive; not one head nodded. Since it was Friday, the judge instructed the jury to return on Monday to begin deliberations.

After the jury left, Judge Hand again complimented counsel on our presentations and our professionalism. In fact, he said he wished he had videotaped the trial to use as a model for the trial practice course he was teaching. My client gave me a hug, and said, "Win or lose, I got my money's worth." She shook hands with the defendant before she left.

I congratulated opposing counsel on his presentation and he invited me out for a drink. One drink led to another and, before we knew it, it was 7:30 p.m. We were sitting at an outdoor table, watching the bustling Denver scene, with happy and successful-looking people walking briskly by. We talked about many things, including our respective practices, what our concerns were, and how fantastic it was that Denver lawyers were turning back to collegiality, to a handshake agreement, to fewer papers, and more polite phone calls. We talked about our goals and our hobbies. We found we had a lot in common. As we left, we again congratulated each other and wished each other luck. We hoped that we would have other matters together.

Sandy and I went out to dinner that night—the meal and the company were superb. We laughed a lot. We found a quaint, new piano bar, sang with the crowd and made some new friends. When I got home that night, I reflected that, although I did not know what Monday would bring, at least for now, I had experienced the perfect day.

P.S. That night I dreamed I bid and made seven spades. The Rockies won again. John Elway announced he decided not to retire and was planning to sign a five-year contract. It really was a perfect day!tcl-1999may-ben

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