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Lawyers can take two lessons from President Reagan

I was watching a little league game with my two youngest sons when I heard of President Reagan’s death. I told the boys we needed to go home – one, because I wanted the boys to learn from the television coverage a little about the man and the respect he commanded and two, because I felt it appropriate to pause for a brief time to pay respect to President and Mrs. Reagan. I was really moved listening to people praise President Reagan and pay their condolences to Nancy Reagan.

As lawyers there’s two lessons we can take from President Reagan. One is the sense of optimism and hope we need to have. He is living proof that a kid growing up with nothing in the middle of the country can become president. My mother installed that sense of optimism in me – that anyone in this country can grow up to be anything they want – including President of the United States if they put their mind to it. President Reagan brought incredible pride to this country and made us feel good about being Americans. Share that pride, optimism and enthusiasm with clients and other legal professionals – it does not matter what your political views are.

Second, Ronald Reagan said what he believed and acted upon his convictions. There was no holding any punches. He was criticized for it from time to time but it served our country well to know we could turn on the TV, listen to one of his speeches and know where he was taking us.

As lawyers we play a special role in society. Our law degree is a privilege and one we should honor by telling people how great this country is because of the laws it has to frame people’s individual rights and responsibilities. We should be involved as civic leaders using our knowledge and experience about the law and our civil justice system to help local community organizations.

We should be involved in the political process, even if it means only supporting local candidates or speaking our minds on an issue. In this day of favoring the politically correct, lawyers, who played a large role in founding our country, need to again the lead the way on causes. By virtue of our law school education and the communication skills we use every day we have gifts not everyone has. We have the obligation to use them for the good of our country.

If you have not read his post, read what Rick Klau had to say about President Reagan. He said things in a far better way than I could.

Finally, I can remember well the night President Reagan was elected. I was in law school in Sacramento and came home after voting for congressman John Anderson to see that the election was called before the polls even closed in California. I thought we were that much closer to a nuclear war with a President that said what he thought about communism and the Soviet Union.

Looking back, it was President Reagan’s not being afraid to say what he thought and to act on it that brought an end to communism and the cold war. As lawyers we are not to going to effect that type of change but we can make a difference in our towns and the lives of the people we represent & the legal professionals we interact with by learning a thing or two from President Reagan.

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