On Presidents’ Day, we celebrate the great men that dedicated part of their life to running this great nation. Sure, not all were great, but all did agree to do something that I don’t think I could do – being under a microscope where everyone would analyze every words said and every action taken.
As a lawyer, I am proud to say that 25 of the 44 U.S. Presidents were lawyers. On Presidents’ Day, I give you a few quotes from past U.S. Presidents about lawyering. My favorite being Abraham Lincoln’s quote below.
“Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser—in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, “Notes for a Law Lecture” (July 1, 1850), p. 81.
Lawyers are necessary in a community. Some of you … take a different view; but as I am a member of that legal profession, or was at one time, and have only lost standing in it to become a politician, I still retain the pride of the profession. And I still insist that it is the law and the lawyer that make popular government under a written constitution and written statutes possible. WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT, speech, Nov. 4, 1909
No group has a greater responsibility today in helping maintain our free institutions of society than the lawyer. In fact, being a man of the law, he is uniquely equipped through training, outlook and experience to be a leader of his fellow citizens. American history confirms his tremendous contribution–helping draw up the basic documentation of our freedom, serving as a leader in local, state and national government, participating in the affairs of community life. At this hour, America especially needs the leadership of the lawyer. The moral fabric of our Nation is badly torn. Disrespect for law and order is widespread. The very principles of free government are being scorned and perverted. Flouting the law has almost become a hobby for some individuals. J. EDGAR HOOVER, Texas Bar Journal, Feb. 22, 1964
I know, there are plenty of lawyer jokes to go around. However, one of the best at telling jokes says this about lawyers:
To me, a lawyer is basically the person that knows the rules of the country. We’re all throwing the dice, playing the game, moving our pieces around the board, but if there is a problem the lawyer is the only person who has read the inside of the top of the box. — Jerry Seinfeld
No matter what your political affiliation is every American should take a moment and acknowledge what all the U.S. Presidents have done collectively to make America. They took on pressures that I would never want to undergo. Rather, I will sit in this free country of ours and simply read more of the inside of top of boxes and try to follow the words of Abraham Lincoln in my practice.
Happy Presidents’ Day and God Bless America!