Bar News - June 21, 2013
Morning Mail: Lawyers Should Speak Out
For those who do not read the Concord Monitor, I confess to being fairly vocal about my feelings on Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s recent gun vote. On several occasions, various members of the Bar have commented that, while they are in agreement with my letters and my positions, they are reluctant to speak out publicly for fear of losing clients. To my colleagues, I suggest the following:
1. Lawyers have a duty to speak out on issues about which they feel passionate. Not only will you not lose clients, your clients will respect you more, even if they disagree with you. I cannot recount how many clients disagreed with me over my various views, yet remain clients.
2. If you hold passionate views akin or in opposition to mine, what are you waiting for before you speak out? Reasoned debate and discourse are vital and critical to a democratic society. Join in the conversation.
3. Finally, members of the Bar have a unique role, not just in the courts, but also in society at large. Generally, our voices are clear, logical, articulate, and advance the debate, by helping others see where there are areas of consensus or profound disagreement. What would you have on your gravestone (next to the line about “I wish I billed more hours”): “I should have spoken up”?
So, to my friends and colleagues, I say, do not wait or, if you do, know that sometimes doing or saying nothing is worse than being “out there.”
Robert A. Stein