Vol 5. Issue 9
Hav ing a r el at ionshipwit h an ef f ect iveAt t or ney mat t er s..
David Soble Managing Attorney
t her e is no easy way out . Bel ieve me, IFt her ewer e I woul d have bought it . and it woul d be one of my favor it e t hings!"
why hesit at e?
Before the Law sits a gatekeeper. Before the gatekeeper comes a man from a country who asks to gain access into the Law. But the gatekeeper says that he cannot grant him entry at the moment. The man thinks about it and then asks if he will be allowed access later on. ?It?s possible,?says the gatekeeper, ?but just not now.? Now the gate to the Law is open, and as always, the gatekeeper moves over to the side. Seeing this, the man bends over in order to see beyond the gate and into the inside. When the gatekeeper notices that, he laughs and says: ?If it tempts you so much, you can try to go in, but take note: while I may be powerful, I am actually the most lowly of gatekeepers. Inside the gate, and from room to room, stand gatekeepers, each is more powerful than the other.? The man, upon hearing this, thinks to himself that he is not prepared to confront such difficulties: he thinks that the Law should always be accessible for everyone. But now, looking more closely at the gatekeeper, he decides that it would be better to wait until he gets permission to go inside. The gatekeeper gives him a stool and allows him to sit down at the side in front of the gate. The man sits on the stool in front of the gate for days and then for years. He makes many attempts to be let in, thinking that he is wearing the gatekeeper down with his requests. The gatekeeper often interrogates him briefly, questioning him about many things, but they really are just indifferent questions, the kind great men ask. In the end he is told once more that he cannot go inside - yet. The man, who has equipped himself with many things for his journey, spends everything, no matter how valuable, to win over the gatekeeper. The latter takes it all but as he does so, says, ?I am taking this only so that you do not think you have failed to do anything.?During the many years the man observes the gatekeeper almost continuously. He forgets about the other gatekeepers. Only this one seems to be the obstacle for entry into the Law. In the first few years, he curses thoughtlessly and aloud about his unlucky circumstance. Later, as he grows old, he starts to mumble
to himself. Finally his eyesight grows weak, and he does not know whether things are really darker around him or whether his eyes are merely deceiving him. But he still recognizes in the darkness, an illumination beyond the gateway. It is the Law. The man no longer has much time to live. Before his death he gathers in his head all his experiences of the entire time up into one question which he has not yet put to the gatekeeper. He waves to him, since he can no longer lift up his stiffening body. The gatekeeper has to bend way down to him, for the great difference has changed things to the disadvantage of the man. ?What do you still want to know, then??asks the gatekeeper. ?You are insatiable.? ?Everyone strives after the Law,?says the man, ?so how is that in these many years no one except me has requested entry?? The gatekeeper sees that the man is already dying and, in order to reach his diminishing sense of hearing, he shouts at him, ?Here no one else can gain entry, since this entrance was assigned only to you. I?m closing it now.? ?Equal Justice Under Law?is more than just a phrase engraved on the front of the United States Supreme Court building. It is an ideal that has influenced our society?s legal system. Franz Kafka?s adapted essay above, reflects the condition of many of the world?s citizens, who never have fair access for legal redress. The gates to justice are closed to them. They are intimidated from asserting their rights. They?re often beaten or killed. Or they wait and wait, but justice never comes. Their country?s judicial system is ineffective, out of reach for the "common man." As imperfect as our legal system is, consider the alternatives. We are truly blessed. Remember, when you need it, you're in an enviable position to take full advantage of American justice. Don't hesitate. ----------------------------------------------------
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