This week I had the pleasure of attending the ceremony held each year for new lawyers being admitted to practice law in Nebraska. Our very own, Angela Terry, graduated from Creighton University Law School in May, successfully passed the bar examination in July and officially became a licensed attorney this week. She, along with the other new lawyers, promised to support the United States Constitution, the Constitution of our state and to execute their duties as a lawyer to the best of their abilities. They promised to pursue justice and to support their clients.
Angela reminds me of how earnestly lawyers begin their careers – before being faced with hard cases and the demands of multiple clients. She reminds me that entering our noble profession is noteworthy and special. She reminds me of how much I care about being a good lawyer.
From the minute I met Angela, when she interviewed to be my secretary 4 years ago, I was struck by her raw desire to excel and do good work. Much to her chagrin I am sure, I immediately dubbed her “Junior.” Angela worked as our secretary for a year before moving on to law school. She saw clients from the inside out before learning how to transition into the role of being an advocate.
In mentoring and guiding Angela in how to actually practice law, I have seen how seriously she takes her responsibilities. I have seen how committed she is to serving our clients in a supportive and powerful way.
I have also paid attention to the lessons I believe to be most critical that she learn:
That lawyers are truth tellers always – to the courts and to our clients. It preserves our personal integrity and the integrity of our justice system;
That she will make mistakes and when she does – how she admits them and rebounds will most significantly impact her law career. The law manages and address imperfections in human behavior every day and perfection is never the aim; and,
That she should strive to always appreciate the vulnerability of our clients and to zealously protect and respect it. We, as lawyers, are granted not only a huge responsibility toward our clients, but more importantly an honor to be another person’s advocate.
This week, I was gratefully reminded of why I care so much about having a great legal team in my firm; of why it was essential for me to find an associate who would excel at taking care of our clients; and of why I feel a deep sense of honor in being a member of a profession which allows us to have the privilege of pursuing justice each day for those who place their deepest trust in us.