Governance & Membership
May 2018 President's Message
The Practice of Law - It's a Small World
By Kimberly Hays
The month of May is busy – schools recess for summer, graduation celebrations and a chance to be outside enjoying all that our beautiful state has to offer – before we start feeling the 100-degree Oklahoma heat. Law students have successfully completed a challenging year of learning the law, and the graduating law students begin studying for the bar exam. We all lead different lives, while at the same time we, as attorneys, are joined by our common respect for, and knowledge of, the law.
Most of us focus our practice in specific areas of the law: civil litigation, assisting a family with estate planning or ensuring someone’s constitutional rights as defense counsel. The practice of law is diverse, as reflected in our 28 OBA sections. Within the practice of the law, there is also the common bond we share – an understanding and respect of the legal profession and the responsibilities that come with the title “attorney,” “lawyer” and “counselor at law.” As attorneys, we all live in the same small world – the legal profession.
Consider the lyrics of the Disney song, “It’s a Small World.” The song is repeated throughout the slow-moving boat ride found in the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland. Have you noticed that the lyrics could describe some thoughts and emotions that might occur in the practice of law?
It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears
It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears
There’s so much that we share
That it’s time we’re aware
It’s a small world after all.
(My sincere apologies if, “It’s a Small World” is now repeating in your head.)
Since we are all on the same ride, but in different boats, in the small world of the legal profession, we must strive to treat each other with civility and respect. The Lawyer’s Creed, adopted by the Oklahoma Bar Association Board of Governors on Nov. 17, 1989, and amended March 2008, includes the pledge, “I recognize that a desire to prevail must be tempered with civility. Rude behavior hinders effective advocacy and as a member of the Bar, I pledge to adhere to a high standard of conduct which clients, attorneys, the judiciary and the public will admire and respect.”
To those outside of our small world, we are the examples of the legal profession itself. When we treat each other, the courts and our clients with civility, dignity and respect, we are advancing our own profession. If you have not read the Lawyer’s Creed recently, I encourage you to do so. It’s available online.
Finally, I hope you join OBA members from our “small world” and register for the Solo & Small Firm Conference, which will be held June 21-23 at the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa. The planning committee and OBA staff have created an informative and very relevant program, “Serve Our Clients and Protect Their Data.” New and innovative ways to serve clients will be central to the conference this year with a special focus on limited scope services, client portals and serving clients via a virtual law practice. This year also includes a special Cybersecurity Fair. The venue is an exciting and new location for the conference. Details can be found at www.okbar.net/solo. I look forward to seeing many of you in June!
Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal -- OBJ 89 pg. 4 (May 2018)