The Professional Lawyerby admin
The Professional Lawyer
by Leonard W. Foy III, Esquire
One of my pastimes is listening to sports talk radio – although I fear that someday as I lie upon my deathbed surrounded by family members my twin regrets may be that there was too much time at the office and too much sports talk radio. But I digress . . .
Anyway, this morning, as I was listening to the hosts on this particular station, they were doing what sports talk radio hosts do best: they were arguing. And the argument, obscure though it was, concerned the label “professional hitter” (in baseball) and whether this label when applied to a player was true praise or faint praise (which as we all know, the latter is damning).
I’ll leave that argument where it is, but the subject brought me right back to my own profession, the practice of law, and what it means to be “professional.” And I asked myself, what does the “professional lawyer” look, act and sound like?
I’ve been hanging around courthouses and law firms and conference rooms since first entering law school in 1991, and I was wearing suits to class and began handling cases as a law student. My whole life is in this business and I know it better than anyone. And I know what it means to be a professional lawyer, because I am one.
The look should be, in my view, professional attire. I wear a suit to the office every day, even if I have no client appointments or real estate closings. Usually someone important pops in and I’m glad that I took the time to dress up.
How should a lawyer “act?” That’s a loaded question, because I think we can all agree that the golden rule is “to thine own self be true” – or simply stated, “be yourself.” Beyond maintaining one’s authenticity – a lawyer should act in a dignified, responsible, even-tempered and mature fashion.
As for the sounds – a lawyer should avoid vulgar or profane language, he or she shouldn’t so much as raise their voice, much less yell and scream. I always speak as though I’m being secretly recorded – if my words could be played back for me or for a broader audience, would I be proud or would I be ashamed?
I’ve given this subject a lot of thought. Your lawyer is a reflection of you, and if your lawyer is a slob people might assume that you’re one too. There are so many good lawyers to pick from, pick one with some class to make a million-dollar impression for you. Remember, to most people, appearance and reality are one and the same. Don’t just get a lawyer, get a professional lawyer. That’s my golden rule.
Leonard W. Foy III, Esquire October 30, 2014