Divine Misdirection

While the world awaits the final demise of someone involved in major courtroom battles in a hospice, we were all looking in the wrong one on the wrong West Coast: Johnnie Cochran passed away at 67 in a hospice in California, of a brain tumor. (Apropos of not much, the Unseen Editor suggests you take a brief look at the biography of another lawyer, noting the interesting and salient interest in the penultimate paragraph.)
What I will say about Johnnie Cochran may be one of the best compliments I am capable of giving: Johnnie was damned good at what he did. Damned good. And what he did was practice law for fun and profit. And man did he have fun, and man, did he profit. While I personally never had the pleasure of encountering Mr. Cochran himself in my own career, during my brief sojourn in the wacky world of insurance defense work, I encountered “the Cochran Law Firm”, which for a short time merged with New York’s firm of Schneider Kleinick, a politically connected plaintiff’s powerhouse at one time; the affiliation wasn’t all that long-lived.
Anyway, we all know about Cochran’s famous defense of O.J. Simpson, later cashing in with Abner Louima’s civil case in New York and numerous other injury cases, after having built up a career suing the Los Angeles Police Department. Cochran was a show-man, and all I can say is, the man was good. We all know him for his asinine rhymes (“if it does not fit, you must acquit”) and for his general in-your-face approach in the O.J. trial, which famously resulted in an acquittal for his client.
Lincoln gave this advice to lawyers “”Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser — in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.”
Let’s just say that for the most part, Johnnie didn’t take that advice, and for that, seems to have earned our admiration, and our respect. R.I.P. Johnnie Cochran. The fact that there are guys like you out there means that the state has to workthat much harder to trample the rest of our rights, and for that, Sir, we are grateful to you.