Tempus fugit! Time flies – how true, as we welcome 2019. I offer you three invitations as you reflect on how to invest your time in the new year.
Be an Ambassador for Civility
As construction lawyers – and as human beings – we often find ourselves interjected into intense and/or hostile situations. At those moments, I invite you to be a resource for civil dialogue and problem-solving. As lawyers, we are uniquely equipped to help people be heard and work out their differences in a civil, respectful, and professional manner. Consider the many opportunities you may have to bring civility into the equation, to support the rule of law and help resolve conflicts, not only on your next case or construction project, but in the civic arena, in your neighborhood, school, volunteer activities, or family.
Diversity and inclusion are hot topics in construction, design, and law today, as diverse persons seek to increase their ranks in these professions. For workforce development to succeed in the next century, these environments must be open – and inclusive – to a diverse work force. You might know that bias is one of the biggest foes of inclusion. The Model Rules of Professional Conduct encourage lawyers to work toward eliminating bias in the profession by refraining from conduct that would harass or discriminate. In order to do that effectively, we need to take account of ourselves – and our audience. How well do we know and understand our own biases? How aware are we of the person with whom we are communicating? Does our method of communication put people down and/or single people out? Do we speak respectfully? I invite you to help eliminate bias in the legal profession – and in society – by examining your own biases and respectfully considering perspectives different than your own.
Consider your Impact
Lastly, and building on the first two ideas, I invite you to view the bigger picture of how you, as a lawyer, can impact the Forum, the profession, and the world around you in a positive way. In the Forum, we spend considerable time and effort pursuing our mission of “Building the Best Construction Lawyers,” and we do! But each of us, as an officer of the court, has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution and support the rule of law in our society. How does that oath impact you in your daily life? We carry these responsibilities with us into every situation we encounter, not merely when we are on a construction site, in the office, or in the courtroom. Consider the positive impact that all 6000+ Forum members could have on society if we made a conscious effort to stand for respect, civility, and inclusion every day when helping people work out their differences. The impact for the good would be remarkable. Please join me.