It has been 15 years or so since the founder of this blog pulled up stakes and moved on to a different firm. At the time, I thought I had no interest in writing of this kind and yet it seemed irresponsible to simply close the thing down. Back in those ancient days, you wrote, published and hoped that someone out there might want to read it. There was no one to tell you if anyone read it or cared.
One thing I didn’t like was the idea of a blog as a personal messenger of my thoughts or feelings. Certainly, my views and those of other writers are there to be had, but the goal is to provide useful information to the reader, not therapy for the writer.
So, I write this one with an apology in advance. Today, we celebrated the life of my law partner of 33 years, David Rasner. He died on Saturday at 77. Among his many friends and family there were some exchanges about who would speak and what to say. I got into this game, too, but then conceded that my Morristown NJ partner Eric Solotoff took the prize for brevity. He concluded David was a “mensch’s mensch.”
We heard beautiful encomiums today as one would expect from a lawyer who was wise, respected and unfailingly humble. I’ll spare the readers that detail. You have your own funerals to attend. But one of today’s speakers was a former client of David’s, Carol Saline. Carol is known to me for her many years as a writer at Philadelphia Magazine. But she has written seven books as well and has also been a broadcaster.
When Carol selected David as her attorney in her long-ago divorce, she had just signed a contract to publish a book. She had not yet written the book but her reputation was such that the publisher was willing to stake a contract on her reputation. My partner, Mr. Rasner, told her that as this book would represent her post separation labors, it was proper for her to maintain that the contract was not a marital asset subject to distribution in divorce. As you might expect Carol’s then husband and his lawyer saw things differently. Thus, the battlefield was arranged.
As Carol put it, while she and her husband brought forth the troops and the resources to have this epic battle, David, pulled her aside. Yes, she could win this battle and her odds were good. But the opponent was the father of her kids, and as this warfare went on, it would inevitably affect any long-term relationship she might share with her ex. It would include raising children, marrying them, and living life as co-parents and grandparents.
Some readers might regard this as “caving to the enemy.” But Carol Saline saw this as blessed advice that she still saw as transformative to her life decades after it was offered.
As the service concluded, Rabbi Howard Cove observed that we are living in contentious times and that, we often get into a fray without thinking about our reasons going in or possible ways out. As he exited life’s stage my friend and colleague David would implore all of us to pause for a moment before these fights and to ask whether the fight is necessary or productive in the grander scheme of things.
As you can tell, David Rasner was a wise man. He will be missed.