After 16 years, veteran journalist, Aric Press (@aricpress), is leaving ALM (f/k/a American Lawyer Media).

Press served as the Editor in Chief of The American Lawyer and later, Senior Vice President, Editor in Chief of ALM.

Yesterday, in a wonderful piece entitled, Big Law and Me (reg req’ed), Press reflected on the past 16 years and shared a dozen principles he learned.

Two grabbed my attention.

Pro bono isn’t charity. I cringed recently when I heard a longtime public interest lawyer refer to pro bono work as what big-firm lawyers doso they’ll have something to put on their tombstones. I’m not that cynical. I think it’s work that lawyers do because they belong to a profession, and professions have obligations to the broader society in which they operate. Otherwise they don’t deserve the privilege of self-regulation and the honor of a special status in our courts. Part of the price for that status is serving those who can’t afford legal services. It’s a duty, in my view, but also an act of self-protection. With outside investment money beginning to slosh around the legal world, the question of bar regulation will be visited again in your futures. If you want to maintain the current framework, you have to pay the dues. It’s a profession, if you choose to keep it one.

And:

What a great time to be a lawyer! The rule of law spreads, chasing commerce and capital around the globe. Inventors bring new technologies and industries to the fore, ones requiring the protection and guidance that only lawyers can provide. Human rights become more than a slogan in previously unmapped jurisdictions; only lawyers can keep them meaningful. There’s a world of need and challenge out there, and lawyers have powerful and crucial roles to play if they choose to. And I hope you will.

This message couldn’t be a more optimistic one for young lawyers, law students and those thinking of the law as a career.

I understand jobs are not as easy to come by as they once were. It will require innovation and business development skills, also observations of Press. But the law remains a profession of service to our society where lawyers have crucial roles to play.

I may draw a few arrows, but what a great time to be a lawyer.

PS – Read Aric Press whole article. It’ll be one of the better ones you’ll read this year as a lawyer.