The unthinkable happened this week, with the sudden and unexpected passing of my dear friend, co-counsel and lawyer Patrice Ann Talisman.
I met Patty in the first year of my law career as she generously offered to help me write an appellate brief. She did not charge me or my client for her time and continued to give so generously to me up until the very end.
Patty possessed a legal mind unlike any I had ever known. She could see things in cases, that I could not. She could reel me in when I was flaying out of control, with just the sound of her voice or by her smile.
I began to rely on Patty more and more both as a friend and a lawyer. We soon started to co-counsel on cases. She would handle the pleadings and research and I would handle the clients and trials. Many times, I’d pull Patty into bizarre and unpleasant cases. She never said no, tho I am sure she must have wanted to many times.
She also was my lawyer. Representing me on many occasions. Her defense, when I was charged with contempt along with her husband Richard Hersch literally kept me out of jail. Her written words, for sure have kept me licensed and solvent.
Most importantly, Patty was my friend. I could and did tell her anything about my life, as she never judged me or criticized me. She was like a big sister without any drama.
What I most certainly will miss about her, was her ability to make me laugh when I wanted to cry. No matter how doomed I thought a particular situation placed me or my client, she could always make me laugh at it. She would say, “oh you poor dear” or “how unfortunate” and I would giggle.
Just last week, not knowing the extent of her illness, I asked Patty for help. She came running and sat in my conference room on a rainy Saturday afternoon as I spent an hour looking for a document I should have had at my finger tips. Rather than complain or criticize, she sat there, regally, elegantly and peacefully as I scurried on my hands and knees with my associate Lennon to find the document we never could.
She gave me some advice on jury instructions, spoke patiently with my jury consultant and I walked her out to her car. I could see she was frail, perhaps in pain. She told me that she was sorry she was not more help and I told her she would never truly know how much help she has been on this case and every other case in my life. She smiled.
I hugged her and kissed her cheek. Something she was slightly uncomfortable with as I was always more affectionate than her. I told her I loved her as I did after every one of our daily telephone conversations. And I meant it. I truly loved Patty Talisman, the lawyer, my lawyer, my friend and my guide. I miss her and will always think of her like a lost tribe misses their guide.
Richard, Ellison and Rebbecca, I don’t suppose that you read my blog, but if you do, I hope that my words about Patty are not offensive in any way.