To Those Who Help

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To Those Who Help

November 27, 2014

As they do each year, the Dallas Morning News published their list of those for whom we should be thankful on this truly American holiday.  I was struck by the common theme of their selections: people who help and serve others.  While hardly a novel concept, it was a good reminder of who constitutes the most remarkable among us.

atticus-finch

Like many in our line of work, I grow weary of the sweeping assaults on the legal profession by the politicians and comedians (despite the undeniable humor of many.)  Too often I feel forced to explain that “I don’t practice THAT kind of law,” tacitly agreeing with the gist of their critique.  Why?

The commercials are sickening.  Loud-talking blowhards promising “cash” for fender benders on daytime television don’t look and sound like my friends and adversaries over the last 18 years (well, maybe one or two, but certainly not 99%).  The vast majority of my contemporaries, like me, wanted to pursue this difficult profession to be like Atticus Finch (at least in some small way.)  To HELP those who needed help.

I don’t know how to treat Ebola-stricken patients in a hospital.  However, I DO know how to file a mechanic’s lien to help a plumber with weak English skills get paid for the work his crew performed for months so that he can pay his workers.  I can’t clothe, house and feed house the hundreds of thousands of Central American refugees at the border like our Border Control agents.  However, I can help an entrepreneur establish her new corporation and hopefully employ dozens of employees.

My son asked me when he was in the first grade what a lawyer does.  It’s a tricky question to answer for a commercial litigator; I couldn’t think of any accurate “first grade response.”  Then it came to me: “We help people do things they can’t do for themselves.”  It’s true and I think it’s honorable.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a lawyer.

Okay, so a priest, a doctor and a lawyer are playing golf…

Written By: Mark Walsh

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