President’s Message I, 1018 ALBJ, Vol. 31, No. 5. 10

AuthorH. Dickson Burton
PositionVol. 31 5 Pg. 10

President’s Message I

Vol. 31 No. 5 Pg. 10

Utah Bar Journal

October, 2018

September 2018

Facing the Future and Taking on Our Challenges Together

H. Dickson Burton

According to one Internet blogger, when actor Harrison Ford's son Malcolm was a little five-year old, he was asked to tell his school class what his father did for a living. He responded, "My daddy is a movie actor. Sometimes he plays the good guy and sometimes he plays the lawyer."[1]

This makes for a humorous anecdote but also leads one to consider what it means to be a lawyer. Coincidentally, my own son Will was about the same age, five years old, when he was asked, like Malcolm, to tell his own classroom full of kids what his father did for a living. I don't know exactly what Will told his classroom, but he did come home that night and ask me, "Daddy, what do you do for work?" I responded with some surprise that I thought he knew I was a lawyer. After looking at me quizzically for a moment, he followed up with the obvious question from one not yet exposed to lawyer dramas on TV: "I know that, but what do lawyers do?"

I stopped for a moment. What could I say that would allow my young son to understand what it was I did every day after I left home? Or. when I was sometimes away late at night, or sometimes out of town for a few weeks for an out-of-state trial? I could tell Will I spent a lot of time meeting with people, a lot of time working on a computer, or a lot of time talking on the phone. I could also try to explain what it means to go to court and argue a case. I decided to keep it simple for a five-year-old. So, I said to my son, "Will, to put it simply, lawyers help people solve problems. Especially when they are in trouble."

I could see Will thinking about what I had said for a minute. Then a big grin slowly come across his face as he exclaimed, "So lawyers are the good guys!"

As illustrated by Harrison Ford's son's response, not everyone thinks of lawyers as the "good guys." But I am proud to say that the Utah lawyers I know actually do want to help people - most especially people in trouble. Utah attorneys are staying up late at night, tirelessly working to help people threatened with jail time, with losing their home, or with losing custody of a child. Sometimes Utah lawyers may work hard to save a small business, or a larger business with scores, or even hundreds, of people's jobs at stake. Or. they may work at preparing a contract that will help a business succeed - sometimes along with hundreds of people's jobs. The fact is, Utah lawyers are helping people solve their problems. And some of those problems are serious and a lawyer's help is desperately needed. Utah lawyers should feel good...

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