In a world that has grown increasingly violent, I have become accustomed to hearing reports of tragic, painful deaths. (The morning news about the shooting in Orlando, Florida is just another example.) When one dies peacefully in his or her sleep, we celebrate the death as a “good” death. We are saddened nonetheless because a loss is still a loss. We just don’t want our loved ones to suffer.
It is with great sadness that I mourn the loss of William Kopeny, a fellow appellate attorney. I knew Bill for many years, but we didn’t know each other that well. I had only one appeal again him. During the course of the appeal, I would joke with Bill that we were both so damned polite, how could we get anything done because we would each implore the other to go first.
I mourn Bill, not for the time I spent with him, but because the world was a better place with him in it. He was a true gentleman and he really cared about people and his work. Civility is a problem in our profession, but it was never one with Bill. He was always polite. He could teach a lot of attorneys some lessons in civility.
I am sure that Bill’s kindness started with his family and friends. I am happy that I experienced it personally. Death may have come quickly and quietly for Bill, but we still feel the loss of a fine man. But we will always celebrate his life and our memories of him.