Bar News - December 16, 2015
President’s Perspective: ‘Tis the Season for Gratitude
By: Mary E. Tenn
My youngest son recently asked me, “Mom, what does ‘tis the season mean?” In what I thought was a moment of fine parenting, I explained that, “‘Tis the season means many things to different people.”
For some, it is a celebration of the birth of the Christ child and all of the promise of Christmas blessings; and for others, it means Hanukkah and the festival of lights. Still for others, it is a time to share the joy of family, friends and good health; and, others pause to reflect on the year gone by and the anticipation of the New Year. And, of course, for some the words are just part of the jolly lyrics from a Christmas song.
My son looked at me curiously. “Oh, I thought it was about Santa and the elves,” he said. “That too,” I added quickly. The look of relief on his little face was plain, and, without missing a beat, he prattled off a list of things that Santa must leave under the tree for him and for his brother.
The question did get me thinking. What is special about this season? What does it mean for lawyers? To me, the answer is simple – gratitude.
At this time, I find myself reflecting on the choice to pursue a career in law and being grateful. I recall the excitement of being accepted to law school, the press of coursework and the looming angst about the bar exam, and then the pride felt when finally joining the ranks of the bar. I see that sense of pride still in the faces of each class of newly admitted lawyers, and in the members of our bar association who wear their 50-year pins with delight.
Gratitude, too, for the countless good works by lawyers. Often these works go unheralded, happening in conference rooms or in the midst of busy courts. Despite the demands of practice, we know that what lawyers do makes a difference in people’s lives, their personal and business affairs, and in our justice system.
We are fortunate to be able to use our education as a force for good. Our efficacy no doubt comes from hard work, and the often lonesome study of the law and preparation for advocacy. These efforts, however, are the foundations of our profession and the privilege we enjoy as counsel to clients in an increasingly complex world.
In addition to our practices, New Hampshire lawyers have a deep commitment to service. Many work to increase access to justice and support the Bar Association’s Pro Bono program by volunteering their time and talents. Others have stepped up, helping to fund the year-end annual appeals of the New Hampshire Bar Foundation and the Campaign for Legal Services. These entities serve the public. They need your continued participation and financial support, and I know they are grateful for your help.
So too, New Hampshire lawyers have an essential role in educating the public about the rule of law, and in ensuring a fair and impartial justice system. Recently, we saw the judicial confirmation process unfold. Lawyers, to varying degrees, played individual roles in that process to be sure. The NH Bar Association also played an important role. If you have not read the NHBA Board of Governors’ letter to the Governor and Executive Council, you can find it on the NH Bar Association website.
In this season, many of us remember our colleague, David Nixon, who we lost just over a year ago. He loved lawyers and the legal profession. He sought to educate others about the law, and always strived to use the law as an instrument of justice. I am grateful for his example and his friendship.
We can all be grateful for the voices that have been raised, the work that has been done, and the chance we have to do even better tomorrow. ‘Tis the season.