November 19, 2007

WA: what if you inherited many, many $$$$'s?

First you'd quit your p.d. job and invest in something worthwhile... From the Spokesman-Review:

Connect: An urban vision for green living

It was not unlike winning the lottery without buying a ticket. Jim Sheehan was burned out on the law. For 20 years he'd worked as a public defender, and he'd just tried a death penalty case in Spokane. "I was just so finished. Then one morning my sister called from Seattle. She said, 'Are you sitting down, because you better be,' " Sheehan recalled. "Then she said our aunt Verle had died and left us this exorbitant amount of money..."

Unexpectedly wealthy, Sheehan took a year off to figure out what to do with his life. "It was really simplistic," Sheehan said, "because I loved being a public defender. It's incredibly important work. People think it's the prosecutors who wear the white hats and preserve the culture, but in my opinion it's those who represent the charged that we should commend as the defenders of freedom."

So in 1999, he opened the Center for Justice, a public interest law firm. "I was going to use my money to help have the voices of people heard, who never get heard," Sheehan said. "The poor, the disadvantaged, the oppressed, the disenfranchised – which all together is a vast number in our culture. They have no access to the legal system. I thought: I can do something to change that."

...later on, you'd hire the best lawyer you could find, naturally. Again, from the Spokesman-Review:

Attorney, law center join up - Jeffry Finer brings decades of experience to Spokane's Center for Justice

It was a lawyer's peak moment: arguing a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. But Spokane attorney Jeffry Finer was pretty sure he'd lost in 1996 when Chief Justice William Rehnquist abruptly clicked off his microphone and leaned back with a scowl. "I got jumped by nine judges in robes. I lost hugely," Finer said of the case, in which he argued that civil forfeiture and criminal prosecution for the same offense violate double-jeopardy protections in the U.S. Constitution.

Finer, 52, is better known in Spokane for the high-profile civil rights cases he's helped win or settle, including the epic Spokane Gypsy case and a clinic-picketing case pitting the privacy rights of women seeking abortions against the free-speech rights of abortion protesters. Now, in a new step in his 23-year career, Finer is closing his solo practice and joining the Center for Justice, a unique public-interest law firm funded with former public defender Jim Sheehan's inheritance...

1 Comment:

Can I go home now?? said...

This is really heart-warming and commendable! Hats off to him!