The case of the likely lawyer


Talk about a conundrum.

When you’re meeting a lawyer for the first time at a placed called The Verdict, a Greek, family owned diner filled at lunchtime with other lawyers because of its proximity to the local courthouse, how do you figure out which one is the correct counselor?

It felt a bit like landing in the middle of a John Grisham novel — right down to the name of the place. The Verdict? Well, it’s more than just another book to read at the beach or in an airport.

According to its website, this Verdict has been in business for 14 years. Reviews written on its Yelp listing indicate it has a large clientele of lawyers and other county workers and courthouse employees. For at least today, I’m guessing, the lawyers were the customers wearing suits and ties.

My verdict is that it’s my kind of place. The food was good. The servings were generous. And the check for two lunches was only $22.

I’m pretty sure Mickey Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer character created by novelist Michael Connelly would feel at home at The Verdict.  For that matter, so would Dismas Hardy, the San Francisco-based defense lawyer featured in many of the crime novels written by John Lescroart.

Because Lescroart’s novels often mention Lou the Greek’s — a rather interesting eatery frequented by the characters in his books that, I’m pretty sure, is a fictional diner with a Greek owner — I couldn’t help but connect the dots. It did make it easy to imagine I was in a scene in a novel.

So how did I figure out for which barrister I was buying lunch? It was easy. I had arrived 15 to 20 minutes early, using some of the extra time to do a Google image search on my iPhone. And he had included a very nice and current photo as part of his LinkedIn page. When he walked in, I waved at him, he joined me and we immediately launched into an animated and friendly conversation.

If it had really been a scene in a crime novel, maybe we could have been an attorney and a rumpled police detective. If not for another conundrum. In this genre of fiction, it seems that only the young and just-recently-promoted-to-detective detectives are tech savvy enough to do a Google image search. Their older partners — the grizzled cops with graying and receding hair —  usually seem barely able to even receive and send text messages.

I’m not sure what that means.  Maybe it’s just a cliche. Or, as a recently minted 50-year-old, maybe grizzled and old are not yet accurate adjectives for me. Perhaps the fictional old-guy gumshoes ought to be given more credit by their creators for actually having some computer skills.

See, like I said: It’s a conundrum.