My job affords me the opportunity — from time to time — to level the playing field on behalf of folks who have suffered injustice. One such person came to me a couple years ago. Military officer. Combat leader, Infantry, in both Iraq and Afghanistan — superb record on both deployments.
He came back home, and ran into a couple of superiors in garrison who just flat didn’t like him, and apparently didn’t think he belonged in their “club.” Less than a year later, they placed an efficiency report in his official file which effectively ended his active duty career. Poof —ten-twelve years of brilliant service and sacrifice over.
My client did, however, have a number of fellow officers, both commissioned and non-commissioned who — at some peril to their own careers — were willing to stand up and be counted. By leveraging their accounts, together with my clients observations and hard work, we were able to tell an accurate story of this man’s entire career to proper military authority. Recently — and to our complete surprise I might add — we learned that the Army granted full relief, restoring our client’s position, standing and honor in the process. His own reflection about what this decision means to him is pasted below.
Whatever our positions, jobs, or life experiences are generally, I think all of us, at one time or another, have faced injustice or an unfairness which threatens our stability, peace of mind or career. It was really nice to see a government agency, which historically has had the reputation of being “deaf” to such claims, hit one clear out of the park. Kind of restores your faith in the right stuff! For those of you who know somebody currently going through the wringer facing injustice or, as we sometimes refer to it, “stuff that just ain’t right,” you might want to share this man’s story with them. Good, in this instance, triumphed over its opposite. And for that, I’m grateful for and humbled by the Army Board’s decision. My client’s thoughts follow:
I sincerely wish to thank you for providing me the counsel, guidance, and extreme honesty even when there were times I didn’t wish to hear it… However, there is something to be said of how you were able to listen to my case and ultimately wholeheartedly believe in me.
I love serving in in the United States Army. I love representing my country and leading Soldiers. But thank God for Counselors as yourself who decide to honor your clients by taking on their battles to ensure fairness and equity prevails in all matters. The work that you have performed went above the call of duty in my eyes. You have helped me restore my Family name.
I am humbled by my case. There are no words of mine that can bestow my highest gratitude or praise. However, I am extremely proud to know there are true Hero’s like yourself to ensure both sides of the story are explained to the exquisite details as you have done for me. Bill, you helped me persevere when I said “the task is too great… the accusations are unfair and unjust… and this US Army Ranger has climbed all the mountains in Afghanistan and went through all the alley ways in Iraq… this feat is just too grand”. However, you reminded me to persevere and to be strong as I have in the past… Prove them wrong while you demonstrate the highest military professionalism every day you wear the uniform.
I will always treasure your words of wisdom. As there was a time, I was at a loss of what to do. This was a true test for me and I am a much better person through this all due to your guidance. I am very pleased to call you my Friend.”
May God always bless you.
If you’re facing an uphill battle in your career, and need help … please don’t hesitate to call or drop a line.
v/r Bill Meili
Office: 214 363-1828 Cell: 214 536-3888; email: email@example.com
A Success Story Worth Sharing
So …. I picked up phone messages the other day and recognized a name. A note attached to the call slip said it was a former client. After some digging, it turns out I handled a couple of cases for him almost twenty years ago — which, coincidently, was about the time I hung out my shingle.
Well, I called my former client yesterday and we had a great chat. He simply wanted to let me know how much he appreciated what we were able to do for him when he was a mixed up 20 year old without a plan. Turns out his robbery and theft charges eventually went away on what we call a deffered adjudication, and he was able to turn things around after that. Now 40, he recently graduated with a four year undergraduate degree in a highly specialized discipline, and is actively pursuing a career with top tier firms.
He asked me if I ever hear back from folks who share “success” stories. “Every now and then,” I said, “but from two decades ago – not so much!” I didn’t remember the details or facts of the case, and though I remembered his name, I’d be lyin’ if I told you I could pick him out of a lineup. But his memory on things is pretty vivid. As a friend recently told me: “People will forget what you said; and they’ll forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
That phone call made me feel pretty darn good, and I’m grateful to my former client for taking the time to re-connect.
If you have a military or criminal law situation which needs straightening out, give us a shout. We’re at your service.
Bill Meili 214 363-1828 Office; 214 536-3888 Cell
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.
Show Cause Boards, otherwise known as Boards of Inquiry and Field Boards of Inquiry continue to come down from installation GOSCAs (General Officer Show Cause Authorities) and from the services respective Personnel Commands with increasing frequency. These Show Cause elimination boards can derail an otherwise outstanding career. And many times, the officer involved is being targeted for elimination based on allegations which came out years before the Board sits. It’s absolutely essential to have the best help possible to defend yourself all along this emotionally draining and difficult process. I suggest that if and when you receive a Notice of Elimination (Show Cause) memorandum, you contact us immediately for a thorough assessment. We’ll take it from there.
You can reach us at Office: 214 363-1828 or via email at Info@meililaw.com. I look forward to hearing from you.
Bill Meili, Attorney and Counselor at Law, COL(R), JA, USAR
Good evening folks.
I had been working a few matters earlier today, when my daughter texted a
question. “What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received,” she asked. Well,
I had to think about that. Thought about it pretty much all day, and I just
responded back to her. Thought I’d share it here. I got it from a friend I’ve
always held in the highest regard — Judge William Sowder from Lubbock, Texas
when he was still in private practice, and I was just hanging out my shingle about 21 years ago. I think Bill got it from his Dad, a long-time, well loved attorney in Lubbock in his own
Though I didn’t believe it fully at the time, I’ve come to realize that it’s right on the
money. Here’s what Bill told me:
“It’s not the final result that most clients care about, so much as how they feel they were treated and taken care of by you — their attorney — over the course of the representation that matters most.”
That general wisdom and advice probably applies to most fields of endeavor and
relationships generally. It’s certainly good stuff to chew on as July fades to August here in North Texas. As always, Bill
Gratitude, a good friend once told me, is the king of emotions. Along those lines, then — the following:
Officer client facing a career ending Board of Inquiry, was lucky enough last week to have his entire case history reviewed by his Commanding General. Sometimes, when the parties can sit down and take a moment to review the fundamental truth of a situation, good things happen. Of course …it helps to have a CG who cares deeply about all his troops, especially those who are torn up physically and psychologically. We had such a commander in this case.
My guy didn’t get a free pass. He took ownership, and held himself accountable for his actions. As a result, provided he comports himself properly, he’ll be given an opportunity to retire from active duty, with dignity, respect …. and the lifelong, medical pension he’s earned as a result of his service to the country.
It felt really good traveling home from this one.
If you or someone you know needs help defending a Board of Inquiry — or any other administrative elimination action — please call me.
Respectfully, Bill Meili, Attorney and Counselor at Law, COL(R), JA, USAR, 214 363-1828: Office; 214 536-3888, Cell
Apropos of the thoughts in my 15 March 2013 Face Book business post re patience, persistence and a little luck, consider this vignette:
Representing a combat medic trainee. Good guy, smart, independent minded, a little naïve and immature (he’s 22) – with a bit of a challenge vis a vis the social graces … patience not a strong suit. Translation: He’s got a short fuse.
So he buys a trip to the local hospital for an evaluation and the uniformed docs there recommend separation for “personality disorder”. Commander at the time wants to get rid of this kid, and puts him in a “hold for separation” category. However, there’s another report by a contract civilian, extremely experienced psychiatrist saying the kid is “good to go.” In other words, he’s a valuable asset who should be allowed to finish the last two three weeks of his specialty training. But … the commander isn’t budging, and he’s apparently not even looking at the second opinion. He didn’t even call the second doc back despite repeated calls and emails to get his attention. Not good.
What happens? The former commander is relieved about ten days ago. Gone unceremoniously …. Don’t know why. A new CO arrives and immediately begins to look at the many separation files pending. He and I speak a week ago and what he said still resonates: “Fathers and mothers across this country entrust their kids to us and expect us to train them properly, as they should. I don’t think your guy was afforded everything he was entitled to; I’m not saying he’s a saint by any means, but I’m willing to take a second look at his packet.” Still get goose bumps thinking about that call.
The new CO has eighteen years in — former Drill Sergeant with a wealth of wisdom and experience way above his 0-3 pay grade. He’s who I want to see more of in positions of leadership across the board. Sad to say there are all too few of his kind out there.
The new CO has been good to his word. My client is back in a training rotation and not facing imminent separation. If he doesn’t make it now, well, it’s all on him: he knows it, his family knows it, everyone’s read in. I really hope I get to go to this kid’s graduation in a few weeks. I’ll look him in the eye, shake his hand, tell him job well done, and, “mind your P’s and Q’s from here on out.” Then I’ll go over to his new CO and salute him before I shake his hand.
Like I said, patience, persistence, a little luck … and men and women who know how to lead, and aren’t afraid to do so. Makes my job look easy.
That’s it for now. Happy Easter weekend to all.
Bill Meili, Attorney and Counselor at Law, COL (Ret.), JA, USAR, 214 363-1828, firstname.lastname@example.org