From the President: ‘Go Placidly Amid the Noise and Haste . . .’
By Andrew R. Lynch
President, DeKalb Bar Association 2018-2019
Most lawyers have never had a client tell them “you look stressed, are you working to hard? Take a break from working on my case and go on home.” I thought I would write briefly on the stress we all deal with just doing our jobs.
In our profession, we work on hard problems and under stressful situations. Take the time to have a life. Take your kids, dog, or just yourself to the park. Take time to take care of your health, you can always work but you can never get your health back. There really will always be one more problem to solve or one more case to work on. At some point you need to just take a break. Stress from the practice of law has killed or damaged more than one of us.
Be kind to your opposing counsel. If your opposing counsel or the lawyer in your courtroom needs something that is not of consequence to your part of the case give it to them. Our jobs are hard enough without our adversaries complicating the logistics of just doing our jobs.
An unsigned note found in a church in Baltimore, dated from the year 1692, has always given me respite in stressful times:
“Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affair; for the world is full of trickery But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do no distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here, And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.”