The Convention, This Blog, and Giving

Well, the 2006 TTLA Convention is over. As I mentioned earlier this week, Gary Gober did a great job organizing the speakers for the event.

Many of you came up to me at the various meetings and parties and expressed your appreciation for my work on this blog. I truly appreciate your kind words. A blog does take more effort than you might imagine, although I must say I do not really find it to be “work” in any shape, form or fashion. I learn with every post and, to the extent that I can help my fellow lawyers do a better job representing their clients by sharing what I learn on this blog, so much the better. A rising tide truly lifts all boats.

Some of you asked what you could do for me for providing this service to the Bar. I have one request: support the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association and its political action committee, Lawyers Involved For Tennessee. Both organizations perform valuable service for the people of Tennessee. TTLA helps advance the cause of personal injury and wrongful death victims on Capitol Hill and educate its members on how to advance the cause of those citizens in our courtrooms. LIFT contributes money to candidates who have made or are willing to make the sacrific of public service in our Legislature. Both organizations deserve our continued support.

I do not expect every lawyer who represents tort victims to spend time writing articles or posts or giving speeches to help other lawyers to serve their clients. I confess, however, that I do expect lawyers to contribute money, time or both to preserve the rights of those clients to have their day in court. Some lawyers can afford to give substantial money and others can afford to give a little, but every single one of you can afford to give something. It is not right to expect others to protect the rights of your present and future clients.

I confess I get very frustrated when I see lawyers who at least pretend to have good practices refuse to contribute to the TTLA legislative effort or to LIFT. I despise people who “take” and truly respect those who give. People like Sid Gilreath, Gary Gober, Gary Brewer, Bob Pryor, Randy Kinnard, T.Robert Hill, Ricky Boren, Ronnie Berke, Jeff Garrety and others have given for decades – time and time again they are called upon and time and time again they dig down deep. It is obvious to all that know these gentlemen that they actually care about what they do and the people they represent. They are givers, and everyone of us should appreciate what they have done, what they are doing, and what they will do. I certainly do. There are dozens of other people with less time at the Bar who have already demonstrated a solid recognition of the need to give, and I am confident that these men and women will continue to do what needs to be done.

But there are hundreds of others who do not give or do not give in proportion to what they have received. During my drive home from Memphis this afternoon I toyed with naming names – of calling out those who routinely take from the system but do not give. Of letting each of you – and their clients, if they happen to come across this post – know that these lawyers care so little about the civil justice system that they will not contribute to save it for future personal injury and wrongful death victims. And then I thought no, I should not take that step, not because each one of them does not deserve to be called out but rather because they would take my action as one more excuse not to give.

Is this more preachy than you expected on a Saturday morning? Almost certainly it is. Be assured, however, that what you are reading right now is tame compared to what was going through my head in the car Friday afternoon after I looked around the seminar and saw some people who do not do their fair share.

So, where do you fall? Are you contributing your share? Are you contributing at all? Or are you having others carry your water for you?

Please look at your financial situation and consider whether you are doing what you should. If not, I hope you will give because you recognize that you have been blessed with sufficient memory, reason and skill to be a lawyer and serve others, and part of that service includes the need to protect the rights of those you have not met and will never meet. Hopefully, what you learn from time to time on this blog will help you meet your financial obligation to preserve of the civil justice system.

Thanks for letting me rant. And if the spirit moves you, this link will set you on the path to do your fair share.