As I was growing up, I watched the every day people around me often struggling to be heard. I remember as a teenager sitting with my sister in court for her criminal charges. She wanted to explain the circumstances, to have someone listen. But we sat and looked silently at the floor. I watched as people there were treated indifferently, as if they didn’t matter at all, including my sister. We were nobodies and I felt powerless. I decided right then that I would change that—I would become a voice for the voiceless—and decided to go to law school.
At the time I decided to go to law school, I didn’t know any lawyers—had never even met any lawyers (we surely couldn’t afford one). I just knew that it would give me at least the opportunity to stand up for the rights of regular citizens. I have spent the last twenty-nine years representing people who have been harmed or wronged. It is amazing how many times, while waiting on a jury verdict, my client has turned to me and said “Susan, regardless of how this turns out, you told my story and I got my day in court. I was heard and I thank you.” Each time has been a great gift to me. In each case, I learn not only about my client, but about myself. Sometimes I am frustrated with the process, but I have great faith in our jury system and am grateful for the chance to be a part of it. Everyone matters.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”—we can all step into each other’s shoes, even if for a moment.