Sometimes we can forget that we are not just engaged in the legal “industry” but in the legal profession. As lawyers, we belong not only a profession but one of the three traditional “learned” professions (the other two comprising the ranks of doctors and priests). Quite simply, the presence of the legal advocate is one of the hallmarks of a civilized society. As a profession we revere (or should) those individuals from the far flung mists of history down to the present day who have excelled at a vocation at the law. Rife with moral hazards, life as a lawyer is perilous and living up to the aspirations of profession is not easy. Those who do can only be called heroes.
I think our present day profession has done admirable work in making sure that young lawyers have mentors. (Here I would define a contemporary who has offered us profound guidance and training in the skill and craft of being a lawyer.) However, most of us haven’t adopted one of the legal greats as a role model and more shamefully we might not even know who they are.
Anyone care to guess who Ivy Williams is? Have you ever taken a trial tip Thomas Erskine? What can be gained from being familiar with Cicero and Quintilian? Is there something to learned from the career ups and downs of John Archibald Campbell?
So do you have a legal hero in your life? If so, please share something about them in the comment area so that others can learn about them as well.