Law is more than a profession, it's a calling: "Making a difference" through restorative justice
Aug 11, 2011
from the article by Michael C. Deering:
Before entering law school, a soon-to-be attorney dreams of “making a difference.” He dreams of representing clients as he advocates for truth and justice, as he lends his voice to those who cannot speak, as he defends the innocent and the young, and sets the wrong to right.
Then, reality sets in. Dreams of justice and zealous representation give way to stress and the everyday rigors of law school. Reading, briefing, and writing overwhelm the student. After three years of arduous work, the student graduates. Facing bar preparation, job searching in an economy that causes seasoned attorneys to shudder, and a mountain of educational debt, the graduate accepts work wherever he can find it.
Under the stress of debt and inexperience, the young attorney buries his head in clients’ case files. He attempts to navigate through practice and pay off his loans. Before long, five years have passed, then ten, then twenty. After twenty years, the attorney reminisces about his dream of “making a difference.”
The same dream that law school, debt, and a busy case load placed on the shelf. He still dreams of justice and setting the wrong to right, but as he surveys the legal landscape, he wonders where he can fulfill this dream, this sense of justice, this desire to “make a difference.”
In today’s legal landscape, juvenile justice presents the perfect specialty to “make a difference.” This article seeks to determine whether Colorado’s Restorative Justice satisfies both juvenile and community needs when Colorado District Attorneys continue to charge ten year olds with felony arson?
The new Restorative Justice principles sweeping across the nation, and most particularly in Colorado, enable an attorney to truly set the wrong to right and “make a difference” in the lives of children. This author believes that Restorative Justice Principles provide new tools for all attorneys who desire to work with juveniles.
This author has chosen to focus on Colorado as a means to explain Restorative Justice and its impact, provide detailed illustrations of Restorative Justice at work, highlight Colorado’s statutory codification of Restorative Justice, and outline the future of Colorado Restorative Justice.