J. Cole Portis, J.
A Commitment to Transparency And Communication
Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus replied, “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And, love your neighbor as yourself.” Somebody in the crowd raised their hand and said, “Well, who is my neighbor?” In response, Jesus told them a parable.
According to the parable, as a guy was walking along the road, he is robbed, beaten and left for dead. Two religious leaders see him, but they pass by on the other side of the road. You would think these religious leaders would love this particular neighbor because this man who was beaten and left for dead held the same religious beliefs and cultural heritage as the religious leaders. Instead of stopping and rendering aid, however, they purposely ignored the hurting man.
And then along comes the very good Samaritan. The Good Samaritan notices this Israelite, who has been left for dead. Typically, the Samaritans and Israelites were enemies, but instead of hatred, the Good Samaritan displays selfless love to a stranger. He painstakingly cares for and nurtures this man until his needs are met. Jesus asked, “Who was this man’s neighbor?”
Who are our neighbors? As lawyers in the Alabama State Bar, everything that we do as a bar must pass through a prism of our values: trust, integrity and service. These values guide the Alabama State Bar.
Further, as we practice trust, integrity and service, we believe that lawyers in our bar are advocates of the profession and for the public. In other words, we must love our fellow lawyers and folks in our communities and state. What does that look like?
Most often, the Alabama State Bar is associated with discipline. I hear the comment often that the state bar is only about discipline. It is true that discipline is one of the tasks of our bar, but know this–discipline can and should be about love. Many of you have children, and so do I. Sometimes I have to discipline my children. Why do I do that–because I hate them? No. Because I love them. Our discipline system is designed to love our members and the public enough to discipline lawyers who violate our...