Random Thoughts to Match Random Events - The S.E. Farris Law Firm
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Random Thoughts to Match Random Events

I went to Chicago for the first time when I was in my early twenties. I had never been to a city that size, and I was shocked at how many people were walking around on city streets after 10 p.m. Coming from the much more temperate American Southwest, I was shocked (and horrified) by the weather most of all.  In fact, I didn’t see the sun in Chicago until my fifth visit there and got snowed on in April which never happened back home in Oklahoma.

While history may repeat itself, the weather should not. I was in Chicago for CLE training last week and once again got snowed on in April. I made it to all of my CLE sessions as the lousy weather kept my body from wandering, if not my mind. Besides, I needed the two hours of ethics credit that were included in the program.

My state requires regular ethics education. If two hours of study each year are enough to keep a lawyer ethical, he or she probably would have stayed on the straight and narrow anyway. The converse is also likely true- if one is prone to stray, two hours is not going to keep them on an ethical path.

The weather did not seem to hamper Chicago much, but It put a crimp in my plan to extend the training session into a mini vacation. My wife and I hopped back on the train and came home a day early. We were fortunate that there was plenty of space on the train for us to switch days and tickets. Being fortunate is a huge part of my daily plan.

Travelling by train is uncommon for me. When I see lines of people waiting for a train on television, I have no frame of reference. I like riding the light rail system here in our town, but don’t get to do it often.  Our train to Chicago from St. Louis was full enough to justify the route I guess, but not much more. We thought it would be a fun change of pace and it was. I can almost imagine lawyers of old, reading the newspaper or their legal documents as they rode in a business class car in to the city from home. Or I could just imagine lawyers from more traffic congested areas doing it now, for that matter.

Chicago’s random weather got me back to work a day early. I could blame the random weather for the random things that have happened lately. In fact, I do.

May is a very busy month this year. I am scheduled to play an away game, trying a case out of town. Graduation ceremonies for two nephews and an almost niece will happen this month. Both nephews are graduating the same weekend, which means my wife will attend one ceremony and I will hit the other. While I truly want to celebrate with both boys, going to one graduation instead of two is the only bright side to them happening on the same weekend. The one I am attending is on a Monday, which seems random to me.

I randomly went to court without socks last Monday. I spent the night at our farm (which is a farm in the same sense that a Yugo is a car) and packed a change of clothes for court the next day. Sans socks.

Going to court without socks is what the cool kids do. I remember a competition in law school where a friend of mine didn’t wear socks and the volunteer judge berated him for his lack of decorum. I was mortified, but he was a cool kid and bore it well. Still, making sure I have the required wardrobe elements- suit, shirt, tie, socks, shoes- has been part of my morning check list since that day.

While cool lawyers are comfortable when they show up in jeans or other casual attire for court, I stick to a suit and tie. I can’t remember the last time I dropped down to a sport coat for a court appearance, although lots of lawyers do. Knowing I won’t get yelled at for being under dressed takes one more worry out of my head.

Wearing my dress shoes without socks felt weird, not cool. It was like standing in bologna sandals for a couple of hours. That feeling alone may get a pair of socks moved into my briefcase, right next to my back up blue pen and an emergency postage stamp.

In the end, I am the only one who noticed my hairy ankles. Like much of life, the problem was only in my head. And like most of my problems, it seemed important at the time but was just a random thing in the end. And now, a random thing to you as well.

©2019 under analysis llc. under analysis is a nationally syndicated column. Spencer Farris is the founding partner of The S.E. Farris Law Firm in St. Louis, Missouri. Credit to Steve Martin for the walking on bologna reference. He was right. Comments or criticisms about this column may be sent to Under Analysis via email at