My mother had a great impact on my value system which indirectly influenced me toward becoming an attorney. If I had to sum it up, it was simply, “Do the right thing at all times under all circumstances.”
As a young man, accurately or not, my perception of the law in application was that it was there to ensure that in our society, wrongs were made right, justice was served, and protection against the evil and unscrupulous of this world was afforded to all. My perception of what the law was and what it meant aligned well with that overriding element of my mother’s value system, “do the right thing.”
It appealed to me very much to think that I could work in my chosen profession where such noble and lofty goals and objectives were the framework for my everyday work. So, in a very significant way, I can say that my mother had a great influence on my decision to become an attorney.
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After practicing law for forty years, I’ve learned that indeed our legal system is intended to accomplish those very objectives of righting wrongs, meting out justice and protecting the innocent. Inasmuch as those objectives are only realized to the extent that we in the profession, including attorneys and judges, keep those values foremost in our actions and conduct, and recognizing that we all fall short of the mark, it may seem that sometimes my youthful perspective was idealistic. And to some extent it was. I, like many, have been disheartened from time to time when I have observed attorneys and judges who abuse their positions or fail to act with professionalism. All in all, however, though the legal process can be cumbersome at times, I believe that, even with its failings, it’s still the best in the world.
There is still plenty of work to do to make it even better. Thanks to my mother for instilling in me the basic desire to do what is right and see that right is done.