Number 9 of 21 For 21 – Sid Bresnick Tribute
A Tribute to Sidney Bresnick, Esq.
One of my favorite clients, Sid Bresnick died five years ago today. He was a patent attorney well past the mandatory retirement age of the firm from which he “retired” to start his own practice. And, when you think about it, why should he have retired? He loved the work he did for good clients, and they appreciated his contributions and experience. He often spoke of feeling vital and in his element while working. I need another whole post to describe how he ran circles around his much younger adversaries, eliciting unprompted compliments from the judge in one of his matters. When discussing a whirlwind trip a couple of years before he died, one that prompted him to rush out of LaGuardia around midnight one night, a man on a mission, he expressed feeling “alive” with important business. It occurred to me that I enjoy the energy of anyone like that regardless of industry, but there’s something even more special when clients are among them.
When I told him I was leaving a billion-dollar company in 2010, to launch my own trial services boutique, he congratulated me and remained a steady client. His appreciation for my contribution to his work is still felt at my company today.
I loved watching him dive in, studying the patents at issue, drafting briefs while dedicating himself to the intellectual challenges of his work with vigor and gusto, meaning and purpose. Ultimately, I came into his working life as his proverbial sun was setting. I did not know him when he worked for a couple of the biggest patent firms in the country during their heyday. Looking back, that timing is okay with me, because it gave our conversations about the past a lovely glow.
One day, over lunch, he said, “Suann, has it ever occurred to you that our work is ONLY about conflict? That conflict overtakes the issues sometimes – that people end up just wanting to be difficult, to win, at all costs, with no regard for laws, civility and what’s right?”
That question surprised me, but not for the reasons one might think – that maybe conflict had finally gotten to him – but because it took so long for that realization to hit him. Yes, I understood that conflict was at the heart of our business, and believe that our work complements the system that is meant to find resolution.
I love helping parties with their well-deserved “day in court.” Otherwise reasonable people often need help seeing and reaching the best resolution to their dispute. And our work helps that process by allowing for the development of a clear story.
Most importantly though, I feel lucky to have found something worth tackling with gusto, sleeves rolled up, and eyes wide open.
Sid and I shared a special kindred spirit for our work. Over scotch, we would toast hard work, acknowledge its effect on our home lives and enjoy the gratitude of lasting friendship.
And that outcome can be a win of its own.
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