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It's hardly one of the more common national days of celebration. In fact, the majority of lawyers are not aware that April 14th is National Be Kind to Lawyers Day. However, the celebration itself should be embraced by a profession that has at times struggled with its image.
Origin of the day
The celebration was established in 2008 by Steve Hughes, a Public Speaking professional who worked closely with lawyers. Steve believed that lawyers did not deserve the public contempt and negative publicity that they regularly received. He therefore proposed a celebration in between April Fool's Day and the US Tax Filing day to be held each year to show appreciation to those who make it their responsibility to handle the nation's legal matters.
The celebration has gathered interest and support abroad, which has led to a movement seeking to change it into the 'International Be Kind to Lawyers Day'.
Is the negative public perception unwarranted?
For centuries public satire has targeted the integrity of lawyers. Since Shakespeare, practitioners of the law have often been portrayed as dubious characters. There is a tombstone in Surrey, England, of a lawyer who died in 1772 that reads "God works wonders now and then—here lies a lawyer, an honest man".
Recent times have seen the legal profession thrust into the public arena in the form of high profile trials (O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson spring to mind) as well as network television and Hollywood's dramatization of the legal industry. Tom Cruise famously played the starring role as Mitch McDeere in John Grisham's 'The Firm', which focused on the sinister side of a prestigious law firm. Paul Newman in 'The Verdict' played a drunk that deceives clients into thinking he has their best interests at heart, while 'Michael Clayton' sees a major corporate law firm engage George Clooney's services as a fixer to do its dirty work. This fictional world has played a powerful role in presenting firms and attorneys as heartless sharks greedy for their next pay-day.
The reality is that for every dishonest or shady attorney there are hundreds who have the utmost respect for the profession, their ethical obligations and most importantly the duties they owe to their clients. However, what does differ is the experience, personality and dedication with which attorneys progress their clients' matters. I have worked with many lawyers over the years and I am proud to be part of a profession that for the vast majority is made up of men and women of integrity and respect for the rule of law. My advice to any individual or business looking for an attorney would be to take some time to satisfy yourself you have found competent legal representation that fits your needs.
Celebrate National Be Kind To Lawyers Day
If you have an attorney or are friends with an attorney you should know that their working day is usually long, stressful and tiring. They are committed to getting their clients the best outcome possible and invest a lot of time and energy to achieve that. Most good lawyers regularly work evenings and weekends to stay on top of a case, and are on-hand to step in whenever you need them to protect your interests and defend your rights.
I encourage marking the day by letting attorneys know its National Be Kind to Lawyers Day. The attorney in question will almost certainly appreciate the comment. Plus, being on good terms with an attorney can only be a good thing. In tribute to the day I recommend watching 'A Few Good Men', to restore any doubts in the profession... and to watch Jack Nicholson give one of the best court room scenes on movie history!
This message and the information presented here do not create or evidence an attorney-client relationship nor are they intended to convey legal advice or counsel. You should not act upon this information without seeking advice from a qualified lawyer licensed in your own state or country who actually represents you. In this regard, you may contact The McGill Law Office and then representation and advice may be given if, and only if, attorney Edmond McGill agrees to do so in a written contract signed by him.