Friday, March 30, 2018

Why Not Pat Ourselves on the Back?

Seven Days recently ran a story entitled “Conservative Senator Peg Flory to Hang Up Her Spurs.” 

In the article, Flory was portrayed as outspoken, prepared, skilled, tough, fearless, logical and detail-oriented.  As VBA Past-President, Dan Richardson, pointed out on his Facebook page, one of the most compelling quotes in the article was in reference to how Senator Joe Benning described his dealings with Peg on highly charged debates, stating that “his relationship with Flory remained respectful throughout, which he credits to the fact that they’re both lawyers.”

We should all pause to let that sink in.  In spite of the insults and jokes people make at the expense of our profession, it’s high time we all recognize that we are trained to engage in meaningful civil discourse.  With all the finger-pointing, internet trolls and low-brow fighting that takes place on television and the web, it is easy to get sucked into the realm of destructive discourse.  

We are trained professionals who are skilled at respectful debate and we spend our days helping others, upholding the rule of law, and working within an adversarial system that respects the right to disagree and to give each side an opportunity to put its best case forward.  So be proud. Reach around, and pat yourselves, and your colleagues on the back.  Let’s recognize the skills and promise that we bring to the table of civil discourse.  Together we can raise the public perception of the profession, all while we tirelessly assist our clients.

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