Mobile Bar Association President Pete Mackey’s January Comments

There is no effective against the persuasive power of good works. – David Ball

Mobile Bar Association President Pete Mackey

Mobile Bar Association President Pete Mackey

A summary of the work done by members of the Mobile Bar would impress any objective observer, particularly by our positive impact in our community. The South Alabama Volunteer Lawyer Program is putting up numbers that would make Nick Saban proud. We have lawyers in every area of practice who are as good as they come and are also standouts in their churches, synagogues and civic organizations. Our Bar consists of actors, authors, artists, gardeners, musicians, youth sports coaches and civic leaders. We are involved in non- profit organizations and charitable endeavors of every shape, color and size. The Mobile Bar has a rich history of giving back to the community.

Unfortunately, not every good story is told, not every observer is objective and many view our profession with a jaundiced eye. It is too easy to find remarks and stories – even whole web sites – excoriating the criminal defense lawyer who kept a “danger to society” out of jail, as well as the judge who had the gall to grant bail in the case. There are stories about the “greedy lawyers” trying to “gouge” insurance companies or BP, as well as the lawyers who are ”mere shills” for those institutions. None of them let the facts stand in the way of their opinion. Though all of us – lawyers and judges – make mistakes from time to time, those mistakes are the exception, not the rule. Why is it so hard to find the stories about the good things that lawyers do every day?

This bad perception is fixable if we just show the good that we do. Several years ago, I had the good fortune to attend a talk by David Ball, an author who has written several books on proving damages. “There is nothing a lawyer on either side of the case can
tell a jury that will convince them that he is doing anything other than trying to earn enough to put another Lexus in his garage,” he said, “but he can show them by his good works that lawyers are, in fact, something that society needs.” He titled his concept “being good by doing good.”

How do we do that? First, by doing good works, both in and outside the courtroom or boardroom. Second, by publicizing those good works in a professional, tasteful and positive way. We are not talking Tom Hanks or Denzel Washington. We are not talking “ The Alabama Hammer.” Third, by mentoring young lawyers and guiding them in the way things should be done, both in the office and at home.

In the coming months, we will be sharing stories from the lawyers who have volunteered to be part of this effort. These are the s

ouls who make us proud to practice in this profession. We hope these stories will inspire you, and hope they will educate the public about the many faces of service found in the Mobile Bar. We will also be telling you how you can be part of this effort. Please be part of being good by doing good.

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