“Karma!” said Cullen, the firm’s senior lawyer.  “There’s a big pendulum up in the sky that eventually makes everything even.”

From experience, Frank knew Cullen’s habit of starting a conversation in the middle as if his thoughts to himself were part of the conversation.

“What do you mean?” Frank asked, and sat down in the client chair in front of Cullen’s desk, because he knew there was a story coming.

Cullen put his feet on the battered desk top and leaned back in his leather chair.  “I’ll tell you a tale of two different cases and you tell me if Karma was at work.  The first is the Cokely case.  Mr. Cokely built a successful career as a business broker.  But times were tough when he came to see me for his divorce.  His wife had lawyered up and pleadings were flying.”

“Mr. Cokely was a tough negotiator from his experience in buying and selling businesses.  His strategy for negotiations was to project strength and power. The problem was that Mr. Cokely viewed the world as a hostile place.  He was rude, insulting, and critical.”

“Halfway through the trial, it was clear that the judge didn’t like him.”

“Mr. Cokely blamed his lawyers for a bad result in his case (although the assets were divided about equally), and demanded a large discount on his unpaid legal fees.  The firm withdrew from representing him.”

“Now Mr. Cokely is an unemployed investment adviser with half the assets he had before, no friends, no wife, no lawyer and no customers.  Mr. Cokely may never recover from his divorce.  Karma caught up with him.”

Next: Karma and Mr. Shiply