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2008-03-02 - 8:06 a.m.

I discovered an organization I never heard of before.

I think its fantastic that Judge Pam Brooks of Loudoun County Family Court has won an award through SCAN. In fact Judge Pam Brooks is so strong on the issue of prevention of domestic violence, that my EX's attorney knew he had better do some fast forum shopping and VOILA suddenly our case was moved from Pam Brooks court room and into Loudoun Circuit-- otherwise know as "The Good Old Boys Network"

Here's the award:

I am also very happy to have discovered that Bernadette Rush O'Reilly of Campbell Miller and Zimmerman in Leesburg won the following award for her Pro Bono work against domestic violence. She is one of the most ethical and hard working, professional, capable and caring attorneys I have ever met. I look at her as a role model of what an attorney should aspire to be. She represented me with dedication and skill and had a wonderful communication ability to tell me when to "Shut up" gracefully, and knew when to listen as well. She also had the MORE RARE gift in a professional of Humility and being humble. That in my estimate is a strength of her character which is a rare gift indeed, and one which makes me regard her in the highest esteem. She was not ashamed to apologize when she made one mistake at one time. ALL ATTORNEYS WILL MAKE MISTAKES. ALL PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES. But perhaps MOST IMPORTANT in the representation of women who are victims of domestic violence is that SHE UNDERSTANDS and is able to FORGIVE THE BEAHVIOR OF THE PTSD CLIENT which really gets in the way of a functional attorney client realationship. It is REALLY HARD to represent someone who has a block from trusting their attorney. Bernadette so gracefully handles that issue . ONCE you leave, and only then does it get mentally REALLY BAD, the PTSD symptoms kick in AND VICTIMS BECOME AN UNSTABLE MESS. As far as a client to get trail ready, a PTSD woman is an attorney's nightmare. As far as a client who is most stressful to work with, A PTSD women is an attorneys worst nightmare. As far as a case which an attorney can work on and walk away feeling good about, A PTSD WOMAN is an attorney's worst nightmare- because in the case of domestic violence the age old problem of EVIDENCE remains a HUGE BARRIER. An attorney can invest their very SOUL in this work, and still EXPECT TO LOSE as they know in the eyes of the law-- only that which can be PROVED is controlling. To make it even worst, when you have a PTSD client: She won't trust. She won't listen. She will be afraid. She spontaneously combust into tears. She will get lost finding the office and never be on time. She will be AFRAID to have an honest conversation and never tell the attorney all. She will tell only what she thinks is ENOUGH. There will be More that MIGHT HAVE BEEN ENOUGH... when what she told wasn't. She will be guarded. She will look at you with the fear of a cornered animal when you try to help her. She will be paranoid. She will be afraid She will be disorganized and lose things you need her to get to you. She will be afraid. It is Bernadette's ability to somehow break through that FEAR and somehow to not ever get so frustrated HERSELF that enables her to be wonderful attorney in her dedicated work to protect women. If the existance of GOD were on trial, God would lose. We all know there are things that are real yet we can not prove. We all KNOW THIS TRUTH, yet the reality of what happens in courtrooms can not reflect it. So even when an attorney KNOWS THEY ARE GOING TO LOSE THAT DOESN't MAKE IT ANY LESS HEARTBREAKING FOR THEM in cases of domestic violence. For some I bet it is a shake up of their belief in the legal system. For others they recognize that faith is what is left and that faith is what is also still there for those who walk away after a legal battle which leaves them without anything in the eyes of the world. So for those who remain faith filled and believe in GOODNESS prevailing in the end, they KNOW all will STILL BE OK. The STILL BELIEVE in the legal system. They STILL KNOW THAT THEIR EFFORTS MAKE A DIFFERENCE BERNADETTE MANAGES TO NAVIGATE THAT DIFFICULT TASK OF MAINTAINING HER ZEAL AND BELIEF IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM AND HER IDEALS OF SEEKING JUSTICE, EVEN WHEN FACED WITH THIS REALITY- WITH A REMARKABLE GRACE. In her dedicated work to protect women who will be incapable at times of trusting her. In her dedicated work to protect women who most need protection , she is a beacon of hope in a world which sometimes shuts them out.

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