From the chair

This is my last column as chair and I am happy to report that the state of the Senior Lawyers Section Council is good. Old, but good. It has been an honor to serve with such a wise, productive, and contributing assemblage.

The Senior Lawyers Section is a venerable group. I am a 46-year ISBA member. That puts me pretty much in the middle of the pack in terms of longevity. But it has given me the opportunity to work with some of my fellow council members on ISBA projects for over 30 or 40 years. We have multiple ISBA past presidents on the Senior Lawyer Section Council, as well as lawyers who have served and chaired dozens of ISBA committees and section councils. If the group members pulled out each of their plaques, there would probably be enough lumber to add a new wing to the ISBA Springfield office.

What makes serving on this council so interesting is that I have the pleasure of serving with men and women who have had successful careers, but who have also devoted much of their energies to improving our profession, to improving the delivery of legal services, and to generally making things better.

Statutory changes and corrections do not come out of elves’ workshops. They are crafted and developed by conscientious and creative attorneys, trying to make things better. Legal aid, mentoring groups, and CLE programs do not come served on a platter. They are the work product of dedicated men and women of the bar, trying to make things better.

We have over 10,000 lawyers in the ISBA Senior Lawyer Section. It’s possible that one or two of them may not read this column. And some are just turning 55, just barely old enough to use their AARP discount at Denny’s or Hertz. I ask them to accept my apologies, because in this short note I want to focus on the senior seniors who remain professionally active.

Unfortunately, we seem to become invisible as we age. When seniors are in commercials, it’s most often as a victim of illness, which the advertised medication might cure. If we are depicted in regular television programs, it’s often in roles such as “The Good Wife” doddering judge or ditsy old senior partner. I don’t take offense, but I don’t recognize these characters.

The council members I serve with are a bit grayer than when we first met in ISBA projects. We move a little slower and take more bathroom breaks. But these attorneys continue to bring to the table extraordinary life experience, intelligence, and professional morality. Little by little, we continue to chip away at the problems confronting both society and our profession. It may be a bit late to yell “let’s play two”, but the senior lawyers I’ve had the pleasure of working with are still in the game. And we are still trying to make things better.

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May 2019Volume 10Number 4PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)