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Bulletin Winter 2016

forever.’ My dad recounted this story to me in Montgomery moments before I was to be sworn in as a member of the bar. He went on to impress upon me that all the members of the bar are now my brothers and sisters in the law. He said they are your family now. Just like in families, you have disagreements but you do no harm to one another and you protect each other. So many times it feels as that sentiment is almost extinct within our membership. Rarely do the attorneys shake hands after a trial. Th e motions before the courts now are aimed at lawyers almost as much as litigants. I don't know the root of this behavior but I believe it can be reined in and be better.” Will we love our lawyers enough to display professionalism during our legal interactions? Recently, I heard Sam Franklin and Jere Beasley speak on this subject. Both men had been in some substantial legal battles with one another, but both of them expressed an appreciation for the other’s professionalism during their confl icts. We should all follow their example. With regard to loving the public, the Birmingham Bar has been a leader in pro bono work in our State. Your bar has provided countless hours to improve access to justice for the poor. Equal justice under the law is not attainable for far too many Alabama citizens. Poverty levels continue to increase and our legal funding continues to be woefully insuffi cient. Th is is exacerbated by our state’s failure to properly fund our judiciary. We have many lawyers who sacrifi cially serve. Lawyers in large and small fi rms donate thousands of hours for no credit, but we must continue to improve, and we will do Special Interest so. I know that the Birmingham Bar will be a leader in this area and continue to encourage its members and the members of the State Bar to provide pro bono legal services to the poor. Finally, I know that all of you are loving your neighbors every day. You love your family, your communities, your profession, and your country. Th ank you. May we continue to be known as a profession that loves others. Maybe, just maybe, our actions will change some of the rancor we see in our society. Even if no change occurs, we can be content that we positively impacted the lives of others. G J. Cole Portis is a principal with the Montgomery based fi rm of Beasley Allen, and current President of the Alabama State Bar. Guided by Rodney A. Max, center, and Michael B. Walls, right, our experienced team also comprises Brad Wash, Arthur J. Hanes Jr. and Marty Van Tassel. They assist law firms and their clients in every phase of dispute resolution, settling major litigation in Alabama and nationwide. 2000A SouthBridge Parkway, Suite 400, Birmingham, AL 35209; 205-933-9033 Upchurch Watson White & Max BIRMINGHAM’S MEDIATION DESTINATION Birmingham Bar Bulletin/ Winter 2016 25


Bulletin Winter 2016
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