Years ago I was a paralegal at a law firm. One of the cases we obtained was a high profile case involving a murder that was well covered by the media. It was an exciting time for those of us working on this and we worked long hours trying to get our case together.
In a briefing one morning, our lead attorney announced that Melvin Belli was coming to town as a consultant on the case. If you don’t know who Mr. Belli was, you need to look him up. Not only was he one of the most well known attorneys of his day, but he was also an author and guest starred in several television shows (Star Trek for one) and movies.
There were four of us assigned to help Mr. Belli and we were all nervous and excited to meet him. We were sitting around the desk in one of the meeting rooms waiting for him and trying to calm down. When the door opened, Mr. Belli came in with a tray in his hands. On the tray was coffee and an assortment of pastries. Each of us scrambled to help him, but he waived us back to our seats.
Mr. Belli sat the tray on the table and proceeded to pour each of us a cup of coffee and serve us. We were so awe struck that we could not say anything. After serving us, he sat at the head of the table and began to speak.
He told us that he was happy to have each of us on his team and knew that if we all put our brains together, the case would come out well for our client. He said that over the years he had been fortunate enough to become rich and well-known in his chosen profession. He had known some of the most well-liked people in the world, and some of the most hated people in the world. But all of them had one thing in common – they all wanted to be understood.
I have tried never to forget that statement. All of us, no matter what we have done, want our side to be understood. A lot of the problems we have in life, no one wants to understand and help us with. Some of the time, we don’t stop to try and understand others.
A little understanding DOES go a long way. If we take the time to try and help each other in our individual struggles, each of us might find the help and guidance that we need. Many times helping someone else will answer the problem we are having in our own lives.
Mr. Belli was not a perfect man. He had many faults and often seemed very arrogant in his later life. But he will always have a place in my mind as a person who knew how to make the least person around him feel important. It was a trait we should all try to master!