D. Michael Bush
Family and Civil litigation
My practice includes family law and civil litigation. Many of my clients are referred by previous clients. I think of clients as beautiful trees, where if I take good care of them, the seeds will fall and new trees will grow.
I start with listening closely and trying to identify the best outcomes and recalibrate, based on new information.
I encourage my clients to connect with and listen to friends, family, colleagues, therapists, and those within their religious community. The feedback they get from all these sources, along with my recommendations, gives them different perspectives on their problems. I encourage my clients to take the time to make good decisions, which is empowering.
I help guide my clients as they struggle through challenging times. The goal is that they will thrive, as opposed to trying to destroy the other side, where victory is measured by who limps less. Sometimes clients question if I’m really on their side. I deeply care about them and their case, but I think long-term. Success for me is years later if they say, “Now I see what you were trying to do.”
A college professor of mine once said that a good attorney can successfully argue both sides of an issue. As intriguing as that was then, after 40 years in practice I’ve found my passion for the judicial system is rooted in justice.
Regarding one of my cases, I was quoted in a front-page article of the LA Times as saying, “A kernel of truth can come from the most unlikely sources….”
In thinking back over the cases I’ve handled, I find this to be very inspiring:
Woe, woe to him, on safety bent,
Who creeps to age from youth,
Failing to grasp his life’s intent,
Because he fears the truth.
“Be Just And Fear Not,” by Henry Alford
I don’t fly planes, but I understand there are visual flight rules, as in “There’s the runway to land on,” and instrument flight rules for when can’t see anything and you have to trust your instruments. I see the truth as being like an internal gyroscope, guiding my client and me through a turbulent storm to the best landing place, instead of relying on my personal powers of persuasion.
When I’m listening carefully and am focused, I can appear abrupt, such as the first time I spoke to a woman whose daughter had been murdered when she asked what I’d charge her:
“No charge,” Michael said. “What I’m striving for is pure motives. Once you start doing something for compensation, even expenses, things get fuzzy. What if I turn up evidence of something you don’t agree with? I don’t want you and your family to be in a position to tell me not to expose that. I just want to see if I can help you get to the truth.”
From “One to the Wolves, on the Trail of a Killer,” by Lois Duncan
With some exceptions, I do charge my clients. This comes with a softer side of my personality. However, my desire to do “the right thing” for my clients is equally as intense.
Sometimes solutions are surprisingly simple, especially when applying “Occam’s razor.” Other problems can be complex, where creative problem solving can be helpful. With some flexibility, everything won’t be in unison, but there can be harmony.
Giving to others helps keep life in balance, as it gives a sense of purpose and inspires gratitude, which can provide light during dark times. I regularly donate platelets at the Red Cross. I occasionally take some time off my bill for clients who also donate, especially new donors.