I have constantly marvelled at Gary's ability to incorporate his moral and >political commitments into his lawyering. During the wonderful memorial service, I was reminded of an episode from the Legal Services Institute (as it was called then) in 1980.
It was a cold Friday before Christmas, and a tenant in a nearby > three-decker
came to say that she had no heat. The boiler was broken, and the
landlord, a notoriously irresponsible character, was nowhere to be found.
My guess is that most lawyers in this situation would feel compelled
to respond, "There's nothing I can do to help you." (Or worse: "You
should call the city building
Gary took a different approach: He started calling plumbers. He
went down the list in the yellow pages, and after several rejections, he
found one who would talk to him. I forget what he said, though I'm
sure he mentionned Christmas, the cold, and the client's young children.
I also remember that he didn't say anything about the client being on welfare.
Somehow, he kept the plumber engaged, and
There was a pause that seemed to me to last a long time, and then the plumber said, "I know." He went out and fixed the boiler.
Of all the vicarious thrills I felt at Gary's many successes, none was stronger than the one I felt when the plumber said "I know."
It wasn't enough for Gary that the plumber do the right thing. Gary wanted to give him an opportunity to do it for the right reason, as an act of charity or solidarity, rather than as the effect of Gary's manipulative capacities.
Gary was never a patsy. He could be as tough with adversaries
as any lawyer I've known. But he had an extraordinary capacity to
recognize and respect
Return to Reminiscences List