Your Honor, this is my client.

My client may have been a highly paid executive in her former life, or maybe she suffered great abuse as a child and now fights demons and addictions.

It doesn’t matter. My client is a human being, more than a stack of medical records and test results.

My client feels pain, fear, sadness. Although these feelings are real, they probably can’t be seen on an x-ray, or during a 20 minute medical exam.

My client does the best she can to get the treatment she needs to feel better. She cannot control what her doctor writes down in the medical record, she can only tell you how she feels.

My client may not have insurance. If she has insurance, she may not have the money to pay her copays. She may not be able to afford fancy medical tests. She may not be sophisticated enough to complain if her family doctor doesn’t send her to see specialists. But before you blame her for not getting enough treatment, you should consider the reasons why she doesn’t.

My client has probably waited two or three years for this hearing and she has a lot to say, but her words might not come out just right because she is extremely frightened. You shouldn’t try to trap her into saying the wrong thing, or take her nervous words out of context.

My client is terrified of the outcome of this hearing, because if she doesn’t win this case, she may lose her home, if she hasn’t already. She may wind up on the streets. She may not be able to afford the medicine she needs. She may not be able to see doctors. She may not be able to feed and clothe her children.

My client deserves the right to tell her story, and to have you look her in the eyes and listen, and to have you thoughtfully consider what she says and how she feels. I will try to make it easy for you to do that, but you have to help me.

And after my client leaves your courtroom, please don’t rush to judgment. Please take time in making your decision, because a lifetime may depend on it.