BERT HUMMEL, YLD President State Bar of Georgia
A Time for Purpose Through Service: The Chance to Direct This Generation’s Legacy Has Arrived
For nearly all of us, 2020 has not been a banner year thus far. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our physical and mental health, our economy and our daily lives has been more disruptive and, in many cases, more devastating than anything this generation has experienced. On top of that, the past several months have brought about numerous reminders that our profession, society and institutions continue to be plagued by injustice, inequality and systemic racism.
We find ourselves standing in a unique position from which we have the opportunity to determine how future generations look back on 2020. There is no way to change the events that have already transpired. However, the most important determination of how future generations will look back at this moment in time is how we step up as leaders of our state and respond to the ongoing crises.
Will we look back at these times with disdain, resentment or emptiness? Or, will we choose to roll up our sleeves and confront these challenges, so that we and future generations look back at this time with admiration, gratitude and esteem for how we responded?
I am extending a challenge and an invitation to all of the young lawyers in Georgia: to step up and serve our communities as the problem-solvers, administers of justice and protectors of the law we strive to be in our “Lawyer’s Creed.” Make no mistake: it is not as though these issues of inequality and injustice are new problems. Unfortunately, they are problems that have long-plagued our communities, our justice system and our profession, and our awareness of them has once again crept into the forefront of the American conscience.
Now, in a time that cries out for leadership, how best can the YLD—long known as the “service arm” of the State Bar—best serve our communities, our justice system and our profession?
First, we will address systemic racism in our communities, our justice system and our profession in order to promote necessary changes to end the instruments of inequality and injustice. Our new State Bar President Dawn M. Jones is providing a framework for change through the establishment and appointment of a committee on racial bias and injustice. The...