Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We were about to start a trial in which we represented two young women who had been sexually abused while in foster care. Neither had a fixed address or contact number, so we set out to look for them, driving around on Buffalo's East Side. We listened to NPR, and so kept up with what was going on, more or less, to the extent that anyone could say what was going on. The streets of the East Side, which is a poverty-racked neighborhood, are always full of people sitting on their stoops, or going about whatever business they have, and on that day, naturally, there were people who were gathered in little knots talking about what had happened. We handed out cards and asked people to have the women call us if they saw either of them. Everyone in the neighborhood knows everyone else, and they all knew our clients, but our presence their seemed to jar them. For the most part white people are seldom seen on most of those streets unless they are cops, and although we were pretty obviously not cops that still left open the question of what exactly we were, and why we were looking for two of their own. Later we thought-- along with about a million others-- that perhaps we could give blood. We went to the Red Cross, but it was closed. Months later we learned that, of course, there was no need for blood, and that most of the blood that had been collected that day had been disposed of.

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