Disheartened, but more determined than ever, we pressed on. We would find a lawyer to represent us and help us get the truth.
Our search then turned to Plato Cacharis’ office. I phoned his office explaining to his receptionist our plight and asking that their firm recommend a Virginia attorney. A few days later, Cacharis’s office phoned back and recommended another Richmond attorney. That lead resulted in another referral-- another one of Virginia’s “fine” law firms. This time I thought we had hit pay dirt.
My phone call to this attorney was met with the “sincerest” expression of sympathy from a man with the sincerest of soft Virginia accents, an accent that reassured and made a connection with the common man.
My hopes were high again—this time would be it. How could we miss? This time however, we would not repeat our earlier mistake. Janice and I would hold a preliminary meeting with this attorney. And indeed before calling the Dales, Janice and I drove back to the state capital.
My Sympathies Lie With The Law School
At the appointed time, a heavy-set man approached us in the waiting room and introduced himself. His reassuring voice could not conceal the fact that something was amiss.
His appearance was disturbing. His shirt looked like he had slept in it and bits of his lunch were spattered here and there over his corpulent frame. Janice and I just looked at each other as we followed him to his office.
The first 45 minutes of our hour meeting were given to a narrative about how the attorney’s sympathy lay with the law school. At one point he even said, “My sympathies lie with the law school.” His words were a slap in the face. In fact, he said in a condescending tone, “I am going to write a check to the school.”
The meeting continued to degenerate as the soft accent turned into a patronizing sarcasm.
The attorney’s mood switched back and forth from arrogance to distain. At one point he dropped the syrupy accent and asked in a sarcastic tone, “What do you expect from the school? Do you expect them to have a guard at every door?” He now bordered on open hostility.
It was all I could do to hold my tongue. I wanted to say, “Yes, as a matter of fact if having a guard at all four entrances to the school’s main building would have saved three lives, then yes I do expect the school to have guards!” Instead, Janice and I remained silent, without speaking; we knew that once again we had failed to find someone to represent our granddaughter.
At this point, the attorney’s rude behavior apparently became apparent, even to him—a light appears to have gone on in the inner reaches of his brain and his tone switched.
The last fifteen minutes of the meeting he did a 180-degree turn. Now, he was willing to entertain our case, perhaps we did have a point. He would raise with members of his law firm the possibility of taking our case.
Janice and I looked at each other and without saying a word, we both knew that this was not the man for us; not the law firm to help us. We thanked him for his time and left.
Outside, in the parking lot, all I could do was just keep repeating, “I cannot believe this. I cannot believe this.”
During the ride back to Kilmarnock, Janice and I kept saying to each other, “Did I hear him right, did he really say this or that? Did he really say he was going to send a check to the law school because that was where his sympathies lie?” His words were not only insensitive, but also incredible, absolutely incredible.
I was mentally drained and exhausted; it was as if all the wind had been knocked out of me. But, after about a week I started the search again.(To be continued)