Al Pacino is one of my favorite actors. He separates himself from other thespians by his passion. His passion displays itself in his roles. In fact, it seems that in every movie he stars, there is a critical moment during the film he rises up from a chair and unleashes a verbal assault or inspirational speech. In The Scent of a Woman, he stood to deliver a defense for his young friend, Charlie, in a student assembly. In The Devil’s Advocate, near the conclusion, he nearly convinces the audience to see the world from “his” point of view, that of the devil himself. In City Hall, as the Mayor of New York, he delivers a eulogy at a young black boy’s funeral which stirs the soul. Yet, my favorite burst of passion comes in an earlier work, And Justice for All. As criminal defense attorney, Arthur Kirkland, a small-time civil lawyer in Baltimore, he finds himself defending a judge who he disdains. Pacino’s character cares. He cares about the law and his clients. However, he is no simple idealist. He is also pragmatic. Most of all, he cares about justice. He knows justice and the law do not always meet. What transpires during his opening argument is one of the best moments ever in a Courtroom drama.
Justice. Simple Justice. If anyone is asked what is justice, their response will include various variations of truth, fairness and what is right. A misconception by the general public is that justice equals law. Nothing, too many times, can be further from the truth. Being in the law business for over 30 years, I’ve seen the injustice too many times in the Court, in politics, in public policy and in life. The money machine promotes so much injustice that it is my desired hope to shed light, much light, on the truth about justice in this country.
My life motto is borrowed from a quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “Aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords.” I believe this. I practice this. It’s not always easy. But it is always worth it.