From time to time this newsfeed will include a closer look at our attorneys. The posts will be on topics not necessarily about the law but about what is personally important to our attorneys outside the office. This is the thirteenth installment of our spotlight as we feature a personal story from Attorney Chad Lorenz Halliday. Thank you Chad for sharing this with us!
The telepathic power and soaring oratory of a highly anticipated closing argument; the intricate beauty of a well-crafted metes and bounds legal description; a contract rendered ironclad by a carefully conjured string of wherefores notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained herein; analytically alliterative agitation of arcane avenues of argumentation; a legal brief of such import that entire universes hang on its every meticulously placed turn of phrase; an underappreciated rhyme scheme hidden within a strongly worded email. Oh, we lawyers have certainly chosen a profession rife with opportunity to perform. And perform we do.
There is an element of the human condition that carries no purpose but to demand the notice of the universe itself – to seek a reflection of our human existence seared to the universal sands of time and memory. To stake a claim to immortality. Maybe that is why cave dwellers millennia ago painted their walls. Maybe that is why highway overpasses are endlessly adorned with tags of remembrance, of undying love, of that simple and defiant pronouncement that, “I was here.” As Cormac McCarthy wrote, “At our noblest, we announce to the darkness that we will not be diminished by the brevity of our lives. That we will not thereby be made less.” However it is that we define this drive to leave a remnant of ourselves, it is why I do what I do even after the demands of the office have receded to a whisper, temporarily, at the end of the day.
Suffice it to say that I leave my lawyerly breadcrumbs in whichever corners of posterity they may fall, as do we all. But time is fleeting, and nothing can be left to chance. For as long as I can remember, one tune or another has occupied my consciousness. Some are of my own creation; some are more like the wallpaper of my mind – the soundtrack of modern life as I understand it. Or perhaps as I fail to understand it. Regardless of their origin, they demand a release, and I am more than willing to oblige, much to the alternating delight, chagrin, or indifference of the universe whose notice I seek.
I make music.
As much as I may love to make claim to the accolades endured by successful artists, the truth is that I am just one of untold millions who contribute to the eternal hum of humanity. And that hum persists wherever we are: in arenas, in amphitheaters, in auditoriums, in music clubs, in dive bars, in basements, in subway tunnels, in jail cells, enclosed in cubicle walls. I have experienced the thrill of performing before large, raucous audiences; I have suffered the ignominy of opening my eyes after a heartfelt croon to observe completely empty rooms ringing with the dissipation of amplified feedback. And most recently, I have engaged in one of the most rewarding, discouraging, enlightening, and exhausting efforts of my life.
For 200 straight days that marked what we believed at the time to be the great extent of our descent into the Covid-19 pandemic, I learned, performed, recorded, and then subjected to the harsh light of the Internet a new song every single night. Some were my original compositions, but most were those songs I had heard over a lifetime: the patterns woven into the wallpaper of my consciousness. In a lonely time, this was my attempt to sing a bedtime lullaby (and occasional barn burner or frequent dud) to my friends and family every night. It was an effort at maintaining community when community felt so elusive. Mind you: I am no musical savant. Moreover, I discovered a distinct sort of tone-deafness heretofore unknown to science that tends to arrive in the wee small hours of at least this wayward musician’s journey.
But I kept going. I would like to think that perhaps I became a somewhat better self-taught guitarist than I was when I started. The jury is still out on that score. Regardless, I learned a bit about myself. I will keep the lessons to myself for the most part. However, what I know is this: chasing the muses; demanding the attention of the universe; insisting on the relevance and immortality of whatever it is we may or may not ever agree humanity is: I have claimed these pursuits as my own. And the pursuit of worthy and uplifting goals, no matter what they may be, is what makes me a better lawyer, and God willing, a better man.