Words from a Wise Man : Missouri Lawyer Blog / Keep Up with Your Lawyer

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Words from a Wise Man

by Anissa Bluebaum on 06/28/11

A wise man wrote these words and they hang eternally in the Greene County Courthouse . . .


"You'll hear no lawyer jokes tonight because I do not consider being a lawyer a joke.
Our trust is more sacred than that of any other profession. Individuals trust their health to doctors and dentists. They trust their accountant with the management of their money. They trust us with the truth. Whatever we've done to cause the public to lose respect for us, we must change.
We must remember and live by this: Our first duty is not to our client . . . it is to the Court . . . the system we serve. If we live by this, our conduct will give no one cause for complaint.
We will seek to solve disputes, not create them.
We will do so more quickly, rather than more slowly.
We will make things simpler, not more complex; easier, not harder.
We will act with dignity, not with rancor.
We will see the formality of the process not as an obstacle; but as an affirmation of our traditions . . . traditions that have worked.
Our clients do not need us to be angry. They do not need us to be inflexible. They do not need us to be rude. They do not need us to be petty and mean-spirited. They easily manage all of this by themselves. It is because this comes so readily to them that we are needed . . . needed to calm the stormy seas . . . to be steady at the helm . . . to find safe harbor before all is lost.
If we cannot, as a group, do this we all will go and be not missed or mourned. If, on the other hand, we are the solutions to the problem and not its cause, if we are the grease, not the grit, everyone will feel better about us and we will feel better about ourselves. Unless we honor our profession by what we say and do, we cannot expect anyone else to do so."

James W. Newberry
Installation Banquet Remarks
January 21, 1995