When I do initial appearances for newly arrested folks, it's not uncommon for them to ask me to do them a favor. Make a phone call to a relative (or another lawyer), check to see if he can get some food, etc. But the other day I had someone make a request I wasn't quite prepared for. The conversation, after I'd explained what would be happening in court, went basically like this:
Client: Can you do one thing for me?After that there was an awkward pause before I redirected the conversation towards his next court date and finished up.
Me: I can try.
Client: Pray for me.
Me: I’ll do what I can.
Client: Just pray for me – you believe in God, right?
Me: Well, actually, no.
Client: What, you don’t believe in nothin’?
Me: Nothing supernatural, no.
My initial feeling was that I screwed up - they guy was looking for some comfort and I ruthlessly shut him off. But the more I thought about it, the better I felt. My job is not to bring comfort to my clients. It's to be honest with them in my representation and make sure they know the reality of their situation. In fact, sometimes I have to cause quite a bit of discomfort to make sure they know what's in store for them.
So in the end, I felt OK with things, but it's still a unique situation in my legal career.