A character out a movie. A heart of gold. Walking with a limp. His whole body wearing a frown; the kind you get when you subject your soul to regular beatings in the service of others.
You wanna talk to him? Go to his office hours 8-12 Saturday. 50 Elm St. New Haven. Put your name on the sign up sheet.
First question his clerk “Southern” Alysia asks “you here for yourself or some one else?” About half answer, they’re here for their brother, boyfriend, son in prison.
The office fills up. People spill into the buildings unheated foyer. Or onto the street. Silverstein comes out to get a piece of paper. Suit jacket off. Shoulder holster. Hand gun staring you right in the face, saying. Go ahead, try me. I fucking dare you. Group of men walk in. Smells like they must be marijuana farmers. Over the hours, on different days people talk about parts and pieces of the stabbings, beatings, drug charges, or DUI they’re hoping Silverstein will shepherd them or their loved one through.
Just then a Doberman Pinscher shows up. Well fed. Sleek. Shiny. Trotting from person to person. Clearing the room. Enter Attorney Jamie Alosi, Silverstein’s wife. She’s wearing a fur(ish) coat. She looks like a movie star. The kind that knows how to ride a motorcycle.
Eventually a man named “CJ” calls your name and you follow him in.
Kevin. This is CJ. He’s my right hand. 32 years in prison. I hired him the day he got out. Because he’s the best. You see around here we believe in principle. That’s why I’m going to help you.
He has CJ in the room. Asking him advice. Bouncing ideas off him to make sure they come back straight. No time for bullshit. Silverstein cuts right down to the bone of the truth. Then moves on. The gratitude I observed people showing Silverstein over the eight or ten hours I sat in the waiting room was genuine.
Adelman, you son of a bitch what the hell are you doing here?!
I got some money for you, Rick,
My man! 32 trips to court, but we got it right didn’t we, Adelman? You’re the best Rick. THE BEST.
Adelman’s glowing. Exclaiming it. The office is full. Rick is buried in work. 20 people waiting on him. Rushing past a man with hands that came straight out of his biceps. The man is holding a smart phone. Someone in the room says Rick Rick can you help him. It’s his brother in jail.
With the pressure on him. Silverstein. Stops. Takes a deep breath and says Give me the phone Turner. They got you for 90 days? Well listen. In 91 you come to my office and I’ll buy you lunch….. I’LL FILE IT I’LL FILE IT! Okay, he says smiling. Hands the phone back. The man with the short arms is about crying with joy. It was like a scene out of It’s a Wonderful Life.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Rick.
Hey. How you doing man? You good? You need 20 for some lunch?
Richard Silverstein. Alysia, CJ. They treat people fair with kindness and respect. A life line for the 500 people he represents. Suspending his law license for a petty clerical error is an affront to Justice.