A number of years ago I mentioned to a client that I had every intention to make sure that he received justice. He responded by saying “I don’t want justice, I want mercy.” I never forgot that. He knew that justice meant conviction because he was guilty and that’s not what he wanted. He wanted leniency. He wanted mercy.
It seems that so many clients feel the same way. They are not looking for what is just. They are looking for an outcome that does not include incarceration or becoming a convicted felon. They believe that if they pay enough money to a lawyer that they will actually escape justice and land in a place called forgiveness. They want a second chance. They want to be able to turn the clock back and make a different decision from the one that landed them in trouble. That’s when they turn to a lawyer to work his or her magic.
Sometimes, true justice is averted. But in its place, the client is given a chance. A chance to prove himself. A chance to show everyone who knows him that he learned his lesson and instead of being sent to jail or prison, he has been given an opportunity. An opportunity born out of mercy.