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From the President: The Collective Integrity of the Bar

dan-dewoskin-new-photoby Daniel DeWoskin
President, DeKalb Bar Association

As practicing attorneys, many of us handle litigation that can be contentious and uncomfortable. If this is not true for us, it certainly may be true for our clients. I often say that my clients do not call me on a good day, just to say “hello” and to tell me they have no current need for a trial attorney. Occasionally, I will get calls that allow me to prevent a more serious calamity involving my client from taking place, but usually something fairly significant has taken place and my client requires immediate representation.

Like many of you, my cases and my clients weigh heavily on my mind at almost all times. I work very hard to decompress in healthy ways and to leave my work stress at the door when I get home. I try to keep my cases from disturbing my sleep at night and consuming more of me personally than they rightly should. I try.

I also work hard to engage in professional, cordial, and ethical communication with opposing counsel in every case. Aside from this being good practice, there is the fact that we have been hired by our clients to remove the personal involvement and try to resolve whatever matter it is we are working on. If we become personally vested, our perspective changes and it can become more and more difficult to see what is reasonable, what is accurate, and what will best serve our clients’ interests.

The DeKalb Bar is a professional oasis . . . in which we are not hell-bent on making our point to opposing counsel or hashing out an issue with the court.”

I say all of this to explain just one of my favorite things about the DeKalb Bar. When we come together for our luncheons, we set aside our respective clients’ conflicts. We often sit at the table and have lunch with attorneys who have represented interests opposed to our clients in the past, or who may currently be opposing counsel. We talk about work, we talk about what is going on in our lives, and we talk to one another as colleagues.

This, as much as anything else, contributes to the collective integrity of the Bar. We are professionals, and we are people. We enjoy the attendance of our judges at our luncheons and other functions as proof that they, too, are fellow lawyers and are interested in engaging in the same social discourse that we do. I am always pleased to see and hear that our luncheons are well attended, that our members and guests enjoy the food, the company, and the speaker. It is a professional oasis in the middle of the work week, in the middle of the day, in which we are not hell-bent on making our point to opposing counsel or hashing out an issue with the court.

Like many if not all of you, I am a member of several professional and civic organizations. For me, the DeKalb Bar is one where I am very active because of the people. As an organization, we get stronger as we grow to know and trust one another more and more. Our county is in the midst of difficult times with respect to the public trust, which results in many of us being called upon to voice our opinions and reactions to different issues. Our Bar is a place where we can have frank discussions regarding our community and our profession without the pressure and judgment that we might find in other forums. The reason for this is professionalism.

This year, we have many wonderful things on the horizon at the DeKalb Bar. We will continue to host great speakers at our luncheons and are working to provide poignant and valuable CLE opportunities for our members. We are also working hard to organize fun socials and increase our involvement with other local bar associations. We encourage all of you to bring guests to our luncheons because this will help increase our membership and make our organization stronger. We further encourage you to be involved in the Bar and to take note of how our collective integrity reflects upon each and every one of us as attorneys and participants in our community.

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