THE MEANING OF DAMAGES

The composer and singer, Taylor Swift, recently won a sexual assault lawsuit against a former radio host. He initially sued her stating that she had caused his dismissal. She countersued because she wanted the trial to serve as an “example to other women”. Swift only sought a single dollar in damages, which the jury awarded her.

The dollar awarded to Swift brings up some interesting points about how damages are calculated under the law. There are two parts to every case. The first part is liability, meaning that one has to first prove their case before they are entitled to damages. Many people spend most of their energy on the facts of their case, as they are so personally involved in it. Yet, once they are able to prove their case, the next step, and often the most important step, is for them to prove how they were damaged. I often tell clients, once they receive even one dollar in a negotiated settlement, mediation, arbitration, or judge or jury award, they have prevailed under the law in some form.  The one dollar amount is also significant because that one dollar can trigger a statute which awards the prevailing party fees and costs in certain areas of the law, such as some areas of civil rights law.  These awards of attorney’s fees and costs can often be quite large.

But, most people who are involved in the legal process would not ask for or be pleased if they only received one dollar in damages. The question of how damages are calculated in the legal arena can sometimes be mysterious. There are different kinds of damages which can apply to different areas of law, and the terms “statutory”, “compensatory”, “liquidated” and “punitive” refer to the types of damages which may be available depending on the type of lawsuit one brings. Damages can sometimes be enhanced by added-on interest or a multiplying factor due to the nature or type of law being pursued, or some unique benefit created to a class of people or the general public, or producing some drastic change in the law, or as permitted via statute or case law. Many clients feel that they are entitled to receive damages due to their “pain and suffering” their “humiliation” their “emotional distress”, their “mental anguish”, or their “loss of enjoyment of life”, but these types of damages are not available in all areas of the law.

Damages generally require some underlying basis in fact. In certain areas of the law, personal injury for example, a calculation of damages generally includes lost wages, unreimbursed medical bills, expenses relating to seeking of medical care, or treatment, and said calculation is not difficult. In other areas of the law damages are difficult to calculate, and some damage requests are outside the perimeter of what the law or the decision makers are able or willing to do, such as restore someone to their prior occupation.

Many people have unrealistic expectations of the damages they are entitled to, either because they feel that someone has to “pay” for what has happened to them, or because they have heard about large awards received by others, and do not understand that each lawsuit stands alone, and the results can vary based on their particular forum, jurisdiction, the decision-maker, their location, the statutes involved, and the circumstances of their case. Even when one reads about a large award they do not realize that the award is sometimes reduced or overturned at the appeal stage of the legal process, or that the award may never be able to be collected, like the Silverman family who has never been able to collect on their judgment against OJ Simpson. Other times, such as in employment cases, the damages are greatly reduced as they are offset by the earnings or other benefits the terminated person has received, which must be offset against their lost wages.

It is highly likely that Swift would have received a large financial award had she sought it, as many celebrities do.  Quite often it is their very celebrity which leads to their victory or a high award, as well as their ability to afford excellent and expensive attorneys. I give Swift credit because she stood up for her principles. On the other hand, few average people who also would like to prevail on their principles can afford to fund an expensive lawsuit. Bear in mind that someone has to pay for a lawsuit. That someone can be the parties to the lawsuit, their lawyers, or some third party who agrees to fund a lawsuit due to personal or public interest.

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LOOKING FOR RESPECT

Aretha Franklin sings in her song, “Respect”, “all I’m askin’ for is a little respect, R-E-S-P-E-C-T”.  I think all of us are looking for some respect these days, because respect seems to be missing in the manner in which people treat each other.  Surveys indicate that legal profession, which in years past was a highly respected profession, has been reduced to one of the least respected professions.  Lawyers are not alone, and elected politicians and teachers are examples of other professions which are no longer respected.  On the personal side, respect for one’s elders and even parents have diminished over the years.

As my perspective derives from being a lawyer, and because the rest of the universe daily weighs in about a lack of respect involving politicians and the political process, I will limit myself to my experiences in the practice of law, plus what I have read of late about respect, or the lack thereof, in and about the legal system.

My mantra has always been, in my personal and professional life, that “you don’t have to like me, but I expect you to respect me”.   A legal columnist recently wrote an article opining that senior lawyers no longer receive the respect that their predecessors received for their experiences as being part of the legal system and toiling in the field of law for years.  These days senior lawyers who can no longer be relied upon to produce new clients or create the revenues expected of them are often asked to leave their firms.  I frequently see notices in the legal newspapers that a lawyer is joining a different firm, or starting their own practice after spending 20, 30 or more years at a particular firm.  These lawyers are frequently in their late 60’s or 70’s.  In the “old’ days, that was unheard of.   As lawyers aged in the larger firms they were permitted to retain their offices, but they were able to reduce their schedule if they wished to do so.

Aside from being able to keep one’s job as one ages, I notice there is no longer a connection between how long one has practiced law, and the automatic respect that experience used to generate.  These days when I mention to a judge, arbitrator, or other decision-maker, how long I have been practicing law, that information is often met with disinterest, and sometimes I get the impression that they don’t really care, as they are only interested in how they want to do things.  The reason I mention it at all is usually because I feel that the actions of these individuals is sometimes not aligned with historical practice.  Even if the respect for my many years of experience is acknowledged, it doesn’t usually influence the result.

The other day, a well-respected and experienced lawyer, who has chaired both his local and the state bar associations, was involved in an altercation with a guard in a government building housing criminal courts.  The details of the altercation was sparse, and apparently occurred because there was a disagreement over which door the lawyer could exit from, but he suffered a broken shoulder.  Things have certainly reached a low point when a security guard and an elderly lawyer duke it out in the halls of justice.

Lawyers’ relationships have also changed with their clients.  Gone are the days when a lawyer was a family retainer, often representing two or three generations of a family.  Today clients and potential clients read the news in various formats, have access to a wide variety of case law, judicial decisions, and cases they think are similar to theirs, on the Internet, and view television series about the law and the justice system.  As a result, some clients feel as if they know the law as well as, if not better than, their lawyers; however, clients often do not know the nuances of the law, the reality of how law is actually practiced in a given geographical area, and other realities of how the legal system may work.  This disconnect between reading about the law versus actually practicing the law can lead clients to have unrealistic, and often fantastical, expectations about what can be accomplished for them by their lawyers.  This is also true of potential clients who don’t want to hear about the reality of pursuing one’s case and the expense involved in what they seek.  They often state that they will continue to look for a lawyer who “knows the law”, meaning a lawyer who agrees with them, even if they are misinformed.

People need to be respected for their life’s experiences and their history.  Respect shouldn’t be attached to how much money one has, how much money one earns, and/or what occupational position or celebrity they have achieved, because quite often the factors of luck, family background, or knowing the right people influence this type of success.  A lack of respect for one’s peers, family members, or anyone else, will greatly diminish our society and cause the type of problems in our society which currently exist, and seem to be worsening.

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YOUR CHAKRA IS SHOWING

I am not a particularly spiritual person. I consider myself to be a very solid, staid and responsible person. That is probably why I became a lawyer. The legal profession does not lend itself to meandering thoughts, and regular self-examination. The law is a profession of evidence, rules, and having to do things in a certain way.

But lately I seem to be seeing terms which formerly were considered “woo-woo” making their way into mainstream thinking and literature. So if I am reading an article or magazine about architecture and exterior design, there is generally a mention of feng shui or creating good karma, or the importance of surrounding oneself with crystals or harmonious colors. If I am reading a women’s magazine there are always articles about wellness, relaxation, meditation, etc. Although in years past the West Coast in the United States was the origination point for many of the health, wellness and lifestyle concepts, these concepts have now become national, and many of these concepts are international and derive from other cultures.

I was recently reading about the first conference presented by Gwyneth Paltrow and her Goop website. Many of the topics presented at the conference were very “out there” for me, and I had never even heard of the type of food that was offered. But I was interested in learning that someone I knew and am related to by marriage was one of the speakers, and a spiritual advisor to Gwyneth. His name is Barry Michels, and he, along with partner Phil Stutz, practice as therapists in Los Angeles. They recently wrote a book called The Tools, which details a methodology Stutz developed to awaken creative impulses and provide people with a means for reaching their potential. Michels and Stutz present regular workshops on the book’s concepts.

I confess that I don’t always understand some of the concepts mentioned in the book, but a recent article about Stutz’s speaking engagement with students and community members at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, was of interest to me based on the advice that he provided to budding entrepreneurs.

His comments are below, and I have freely quoted from the article I received as I am on their mailing list. I agree with some of the comments, and I don’t agree with others, but they provide food for thought.

  1. It takes courage to move beyond one’s safety zone when starting a company, so if you don’t feel afraid, you are not trying hard enough. Failure is a real possibility, and a good likelihood, but that shouldn’t stop you from developing the courage to try every day, and it is normal to feel scared in the process.
  2. Make a daily list of challenges you intend to take, and then inventory that list every night. If you seem to be avoiding things, then take a step in the direction of what you are avoiding, as that is the right direction.
  3. If something is painful, go towards it. The normal human desire is to avoid pain, but if these painful things exist in life and business, and you avoid them, then they will grow into massive problems. If you try and confront that pain it will become diminished. After a period of time you will learn how to deal with that pain.
  4. Fear must be acted upon and not merely thought about. Sometimes one must repeat statements about confronting fear regularly to assist with the process of confronting fear. He encourages yellowing out these affirming statements.
  5. Defining success doesn’t always mean having lots of money. If you fail and lose your money, which has happened to many successful entrepreneurs, and money is your only measure of success, you will be devastated. Success should be defined more by what motivates and fulfills you, and it may not only be based on results.
  6. Have the power to walk away, even if it means losing, in negotiations. If you can’t walk away and you are so attached to prevailing on your point of view, your view is distorted, and you may not win. There is a power that comes from being willing to lose.
  7. Free yourself from the need to be liked. A leader must stand to be alone. A leader also must understand that he/she may be uncertain, be misunderstood and be hated at times. But he stated that the person who can tolerate being alone has freed himself from the need for adoration.
  8. Approach life like a string of pearls. Each pearl represents an action one takes, and it is unlikely that even if one reaches the goal one thinks they would like to reach, like fame or fortune, their world will be transformed. Generally, even if one reaches that goal, they discover that the “magic” pearl doesn’t give them what they want. So, people have to be disciplined enough to keep adding pearls to their strings and move forward.

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PUSHING AT THE EDGES

Recently I was featured in an article called “Pushing At The Edges,” which appeared in SuperLawyers Magazine, which also published the 2017 (Annual) List of Top Attorneys in Pennsylvania and Delaware (see here).  The article constituted an oral history of eight selected women who began practicing law in the early 1970’s.  It is interesting to consider how much things have changed in 45 or so years for women lawyers in some respects, and how little things have changed for women lawyers in other respects.

 

Despite the below examples of boorish behavior and discrimination in the 1970’s, ours was the first generation of women who began to make their mark by being accepted in law schools.  In 1970 women made up only 4% of the student body in U.S. law schools, and the prevailing opinion was that a woman attending law school was displacing a man who had to support his family.  When I attended the University of Denver College of Law, I recall being only one of five women in my class, and I was the only married woman until our last semester when two of the law students married each other.  Prior to that time, many women were not accepted into law schools, and women law graduates generally were not hired as attorneys, and sometimes couldn’t get interviewed for any positions dealing with the law.

 

Sexist, Condescending and Disrespectful Remarks, Threats, Taunts and Jibes

 

Some of the experiences recounted by me and other women lawyers featured in the article are that women lawyers were sometimes addressed in rude, disrespectful, condescending, and often sexist terms.  One lawyer noted that her opposing male counsel told her to “shut up sweetie”, and the arbitrator before whom she was appearing, did not comment.  My law school was very progressive at the time I attended, and had one of the few trial tactics internships.  I appeared in juvenile court one day in Denver, and my assignment was to argue to the judge that he was not granting due process to juveniles.  He told me to shut up, sit down, and if I spoke up again he would have me arrested.

 

When I began practicing law I practiced with an all-male firm in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and I believe I was the only woman lawyer practicing in Wilkes-Barre at the time.  I attended a Bar Association golf outing, and, since I was the only woman lawyer there, they gave me a radio as a prize.  No one felt there was anything offensive about this; rather, they thought that it was a compliment to my gender.

 

Other women in the article recall hearing from clients that they felt women were pushy or they didn’t like them.  Women were often subject to tasteless remarks, or had to listen to sexist jokes and not be expected to comment.  Women who were forceful and aggressive were considered to be arrogant and obnoxious.

 

You Are What You Wear

 

Women did not wear pants to court or even to the office in the 1970’s.  Many female lawyers tell stories that if they wore clothing that a male judge did not consider appropriate, they were told they could not appear in court.  I recall an elderly male judge in Municipal Court in Philadelphia County, who always asked me, whenever I entered or left the courtroom to use the restroom, why I was carrying a briefcase.  He did this in the middle of hearing another matter, in a room full of people waiting for their cases to be heard.  He did not consider that women could be lawyers and carry briefcases.

 

Women were cautioned about wearing clothes that were too sexy, but if a woman didn’t dress well she was considered unattractive and dowdy.  It was a difficult line to walk.

 

Sexual Harassment and Hostile Work Environment 

 

At one of the large law firms I practiced with, when there were only a few women there, no women lawyers discussed their private lives or mentioned that they had children.  There were no specified family leave policies.  One woman I worked with waited until she was made a partner, and then rather late in life, had children.  I am certain that she wanted to secure her position before having children as she was concerned that she would be terminated while out on pregnancy leave.

 

Sexual harassment was very prevalent, and women who resisted such harassment did so at their own risk of being terminated. Female lawyers are loath to discuss their experiences in this regard, but we all shared them in the 1970’s.

 

The Future

 

Over the years progress has been made, and the numbers of women lawyers and judges have greatly increased.  Yet women lawyers still register many types of complaints regarding unequal pay, lack of flex-time, lack of respect, dissatisfaction with the hard-nosed legal profession, and gender hostility when women act as vigorous advocates for their clients’ causes.  Unfortunately, there has been a resurgence of what types of behavior are permissible in public, and social media is fueling negative behavior in all professions, including the law.  It is common knowledge that women do not always respect each other, or vote for other women.  We will see what the future has to bring.

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Don’t Dig Yourself Into A Hole

Don’t Dig Yourself Into A Hole

This is a pop quiz on when it is advantageous to hire a lawyer:

  1. At the beginning of a significant matter in your life which could have a financial and/or emotional impact on your future.
  2. After you have – already signed legal documents that could encumber you, or after you have been sued, or after your deadline to pursue a matter have passed.
  3. After a judgment has been entered against you in a lawsuit you did not defend; years after you did not monitor what was happening with a relative’s estate of which you are a beneficiary; after you settled on a piece of property and begin having major problems.

I would hope that most of my readers would have selected A. Yet in my experience, most people do not hire a lawyer until they have experienced problems in B or C. It is definitely easier to dig oneself out of a hole before one is too deep into the hole to do so.

I surmise it is human nature to wait to take action until a situation has reached crisis proportions. I will provide some examples of problems that clients could have avoided if they would have hired a lawyer at the beginning of their matter. Some of the facts of the matters have been changed, and the names are fictitious.

Example One

John Jones decided to place an offer on a house. The agreement of sale was drafted by a real estate agent who was a friend of John’s family. John decided to have us review the agreement of sale after he and the seller had already signed the agreement. Many people do not realize that a written document takes precedence over a verbal agreement, and even if the parties agree to change the agreement of sale, that agreement is often not valid until it is reduced to writing in a specific form. An exchange of e mails is not the necessary specific form.

We pointed out problems with the agreement because there was no limit on the amount of repairs John would have to pay for after he received his inspector’s report, it would have been John’s sole responsibility to pay for any citations the city would have issued prior to the sale, and the seller asked John to waive any disclosures he would otherwise been legally required to make.

Also, John owned 3 cats. John did not see the documents governing the homeowner’s association until after he signed the agreement, and those documents limited him to 2 cats. Although John was told he could move in with his 3 cats, restrictions were placed on him on whether the cats could remain if problems arose, and John was required to pay a deposit that had not been mentioned before. John has decided to cancel the deal and is waiting to see if there will be a problem with receiving a return of his deposit. If there is such a problem he may have to engage in an expensive mediation process.

Lesson: Always hire a lawyer at the beginning of a legal transaction.

Example Two

Debby Doe contacted us because she was told that she had 21 days (this is a federally mandated time period for employees over 40) in which to review a severance package after she was terminated from her employment. There were two parts to the agreement. Debby was told by her manager that if she signed the agreement the day she received it she would be considered for another position. However, Debby was not offered another position. Debby also suffered from some medical problems, of which her employer was aware, and became confused, upset and anxious when she learned she was being terminated. Debby retained us to secure a better severance package than the minimal package she was offered despite years of being a good employee, and because Debby was confused and intimidated and misled, she did not realize that she had signed both of the agreements, instead of one of them. We are now pursuing a discrimination action on behalf of Debby for lack of accommodation by her employer due to her medical condition, as well as not complying with giving Debby 21 days in which to consider the severance package.

Lesson: Do not let your employer bully or intimidate you into signing a severance package. Give yourself the legally allotted time to review the agreement, and have a lawyer review the agreement and either make suggestions to you as to whether changes are suggested, or try and negotiate a better package for you. Remember, that non-monetary changes are often just as important as monetary changes when considering these agreements.

Example Three

Bill Smith’s mother passed away in 2014.  She did not leave a will, but Bill agreed that his brother Jim could be named to administer their mother’s estate. Bill trusted Jim, and asked him every few months how things were progressing. Jim said things were fine, but there were many things that had to be done under the law, and that he would distribute Bill’s share of the assets as soon as their mother’s house was sold. In 2017 Bill became suspicious and checked some records at the courthouse. He learned that Jim had sold their mother’s house for $1 to Jim’s son, who in turn sold it to a third party for $100,000. Jim also confessed to Bill that he had spent $50,000 in their mother’s bank account on gambling, and had declared bankruptcy. Bill retained us, but by then very little could be done without extensive and expensive litigation which most likely would not have been fruitful.

Lesson: The law books are full of estate cases in which family members have taken advantage of each other. Greed unfortunately trumps kinship. It is wise to hire a lawyer at the earliest opportunity in estate cases and have that lawyer monitor what is happening and what should be happening. The law gives the administrator/executor of an estate broad discretion to act, and often spend the estate’s funds to defend themselves if they are accused of improprieties. It is preferable to hire a lawyer to monitor the situation, than spend many times that amount to sue an administrator whose fees are covered by estate resources.

 

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A BITTER WORLD

In the aftermath of every seminar I present at, I receive an evaluation of my presentation. Although most of the comments are favorable, there are sometimes one or two comments that are not. Some comments just contain information, as does the following one which is the subject matter of this blog. One of the comments for a seminar I presented last November was “Faye comes across as bitter. I wish her happiness.” I was the last speaker of that two-day seminar, and my topic was ethics in employment law. As this topic had been touched upon by several of the earlier presenters, I decided to focus on the real world of employment law cases, and the ethics, and sometimes the lack of ethics, of lawyers in these types of cases. Apparently my presentation revealed my unhappiness with some of the ethical issues I have encountered in my practice.

 

Do I consider myself to be bitter? No. The adversarial process is typically disappointing for both employees and employers, who have different perspectives about employment relationships, discipline, and terminations. Often, this causes employees and employers to become bitter during litigation.  However, I feel that I am often more disappointed than bitter, because I see the negative side of human nature.  In the field of employment law, there is never one totally correct and one totally incorrect side. Lawyers, for both employees and employers, don’t always receive the complete story from their clients, who frequently skew the facts in their favor, so that a lawyer will accept their case. Unfortunately, the true facts of a case may appear late in the process of representation, which is frustrating and disappointing to a lawyer who has advocated his/her client’s case without receiving a complete version of the facts.

 

The legal process itself is fraught with strife. Even U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, said in a talk he gave to a group in 2010 that “not long ago, we used to have trials without discovery. Now we have discovery without trials.” He was referring to the discovery process in litigation, which absorbs most of the efforts of a legal matter, and creates most of the expense. The discovery process, which was intended to facilitate the exchange of information between counsel and to promote early settlement, has become a Frankenstein living a life of its own. Because of the time and cost associated with discovery, this process has led to many parties being priced out of court. Often, those with the most available resources can prevail by extending the discovery process to the point where the average person cannot afford to continue to participate.

 

Bitterness and disappointment are not limited to the legal process. Certainly our current political climate, and the most recent Presidential election, has brought out the worst in human nature, with friends and family taking opposing political stances.  In my opinion, with the exception of the people who live in Norway, considered the happiest nation in the world, most of us are unhappy about something. This year, America dropped one place on the list of happiest nations, and is now the 14th happiest nation in the world.  So in America, this land of freedom and opportunity, something is obviously making us unhappy.

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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’S 7 GREAT VIRTUES

Recently I walked by a parking garage in Philadelphia and noticed something that made me smile on a gloomy winter day. A sign announced that the floors of the garage were named after Benjamin Franklin’s 7 personal virtues that he created to define his life, and no doubt hoped would be followed by his fellow American citizens – an aversion to tyranny, compromise, freedom of the press, humility, humor, idealism in foreign policy, and tolerance.  Even more telling, I noticed the sign shortly after our country had concluded the most vicious Presidential election in American history (2016), when the nerves of all citizens, both winners and losers in the election, were still raw due to the brutal process of this particular election.

 

Although I probably had read about the virtues during my school years, they seemed new, fresh, and particularly relevant to our current lives, so I decided to read about Franklin’s thought process in selecting them. Franklin was one of the, if the not the most, interesting and remarkable of America’s founding fathers. He was a man of many talents, skills, interests and knowledge. I will discuss how the legal field impacts on those virtues.

 

An Aversion to Tyranny– In 1755 when Franklin opposed taxes imposed from England, and most of his fellow colonists did not oppose them, he wrote: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” The law presents the only legitimate avenue in which ordinary citizens, within the means at their disposal, can attempt to create change. Of course, citizens can lobby their elected representatives or influence the press to publicize their viewpoints, but this can be a cumbersome and lengthy process.  Although the legal process has its own vagaries and expenses, it can potentially allow even a single person to create significant changes based on a court’s decision at some point in the legal process.

 

Compromise– The legal profession is based on compromise.  That is not to say that lawyers do not aggressively pursue their clients’ interest, but in the long run, the legal process would collapse if compromise was not engaged in since over 90% of all matters are usually resolved during the process before or during litigation. Not only is compromise a practical approach, but it encompasses engaging in some of the other virtues mentioned here.

 

Freedom of the Press– The flow of information and ideas through a free press has long been a hallmark of the legal process. These days the process is more transparent than ever before. Most courts engage in the electronic process, which allows anyone to view the progress of a case, review the documents filed with the court and by the court in that case, and to review the court’s opinion if it is published. Although certain politicians and political movements have an agenda of limiting free press these days, on the other hand, everyone seems to have a viewpoint these days, and feels free to promote it easily through social or print media. It does not appear likely that ideas will stop flowing and opinions, although chilled perhaps, will stop being promoted in the future.

 

Humility– I don’t think this word is in most lawyers’ vocabularies. It is the nature of the legal profession to favorably compare ourselves with other lawyers.  We are encouraged to market and advertise ourselves as being the best of the best. We are encouraged to profile our superlawyer and pre-eminent status through all forms of media. Unfortunately, some of the least skilled lawyers are the ones who resort to the most puffery. Also, unfortunately, people tend to believe such puffery until proven to them otherwise. I don’t know if a lack of humility is necessarily bad in the field of law, so we will live with it.

Humor– Jokes about lawyers appear endless. Although law is a serious profession, the situations that ordinary people often find themselves in can be hilarious.  Often the decisions handed down in the legal process can be funny. The actions of lawyers, judges, jurors, and lawyers can be humorous. Unfortunately, the day to day lives of lawyers are usually based on serious situations involving individuals clients, companies, and the government. I believe lawyers try to do the best they can with the situations handed to them, which often leaves them as the brunt of jokes. We can’t all be stand- up comedians, and if you need a lawyer you wouldn’t consult a clown, so it is what it is.

 

Idealism in Foreign Policy–  I recently read an article about the Kansas 40 member  Senate not having a single lawyer serving in it.  Although many people may applaud this absence of a legal mind, this absence caused a problem because of a statutory requirement that required a lawyer. It surprised me that there were no elected lawyers in that Senate, because politics and law certainly have gone hand in hand throughout American history. Not to say that other professionals do not have ideals and ethics, but I think lawyers have the unique training and perspective of trying to further the common good through their profession, represent their interests intelligently and act ethically while doing so.

 

Tolerance– America has struggled through and continues to work on the concept of tolerance. Many of the civil rights laws were not enacted until nearly 200 years after America’s creation, and the establishment and consideration and determination of those laws is an ongoing process. Tolerance is under great attack these days, and although we live in a diverse country, that diversity is not equally spread or appreciated throughout our country. It is up to lawyers to make certain that tolerance is adhered to and honored, even in the worst of times.

 

Tolerance encompasses the other 6 virtues which were endorsed by Franklin, and tolerance is what makes America great and continues to make America great in these turbulent times and in this turbulent world. Let it reign forever, and let lawyers be its crowning glory!

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