On September 24th, approximately 100 law school graduates will be admitted to practice law in Mississippi. The Bar Admissions Ceremony is something these young men and women have planned for and thought about for many years. This celebration not only recognizes their hard work, but their acceptance into our profession.
I’m sure each of you can recall your very first legal employment. What was your experience with your first employer? Was it with someone you greatly respect and admire because they took the time to mentor and teach you the honorable way to practice law? Or was it someone who demanded too much with unreasonable expectations and low ethical standards?
What about your first court room experience against a seasoned attorney? Do you forever hold that attorney on a pedestal because he treated you with kindness? Or do you still begrudge his name for taking advantage of your inexperience?
How will you treat our new colleagues? Does it matter?
Of course it matters! Your interaction with our new colleagues will have a direct effect how they will practice law. They will be absorbing every aspect of practicing law, including the art and skill of litigating, communicating, negotiating, advocating, and collaborating. For the next few years, we will be directly and indirectly instructing them on the standards of practicing law in Mississippi.
We have a duty to teach and mentor new attorneys on how to practice with honor and integrity, while vigorously representing their clients. We have an obligation to show them how to disagree while still being courteous to opposing counsel. We have a responsibility to show them that professionalism, trust and respect are core values in Mississippi. The future of practicing law in Mississippi is with our new admittees. Don’t underestimate your impact!
Your Capitol Area Bar Association is also dedicated to helping these young attorneys learn to practice. At our CABA membership meetings, our speakers will address topics of professionalism and the practice of law. CABA community service events will emphasize the important ways that lawyers can give back to our communities. Our social events will bring together newer attorneys and seasoned practitioners in a relaxed environment. Encourage all young attorneys to attend our CABA functions to socialize with fellow attorneys, meet our distinguished judges, hear great speakers, and stay involved our legal community.