Tom Vick 2018-01-23 02:07:51
At the end of the Revolutionary War, the state of the legal profession was at an absolute abyss. Many lawyers returned to England because their allegiance was to the monarchy. There was a dearth of lawyers, most of whom were poorly trained and even less respected. Thomas Jefferson had a vision about the burgeoning republic and its governance. He believed that its greatest chance for success was for well-trained lawyers to be at the core of government. He recruited George Wythe to head the law school they created at the College of William and Mary to educate students in law, philosophy, and literature and, in a break from classic education, conducted mock legislative sessions to equip students with the skills for good government. The result was a who’s who of graduates leading our nation. For decades thereafter, lawyers dominated the halls of government. In the mid-19th century, 80 percent of members of Congress were lawyers. That fell to less than 60 percent in the 1960s and less than 40 percent today. A similar decline has happened in legislatures across the country. Concomitant with this downturn has been a decrease in the civility, compromise, and ethical leadership our country sorely needs. Lawyers must commit to become re-engaged at all levels of government. We are particularly equipped with the skill set needed for good governance. We are a nation of laws, our conduct governed by the rule of law—so who better to manage the process of government than those trained and skilled in the law? Lawyers are bound by a strict code of ethics demanding integrity and engendering respect. We have the tools for good communication, the ability to develop consensus and to be fair, deliberative, and decisive. These are all characteristics that draw students to the law and are developed by lawyers in practice and training. These are all the characteristics needed for good governance. It is time for lawyers to double down on our commitment to serve our communities. It is time for lawyers to serve on city councils, on boards and commissions, in county government, in the legislatures, and in the halls of Congress. As a part of the oath we took, we have a special duty to defend our laws and our way of government. We are derelict in our obligations to our profession and to our country if we fail to do so. TOM VICK President, State Bar of Texas
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/President%E2%80%99s+Page/2991636/470180/article.html.