From the YLD President, 0421 GABJ, GSB Vol. 26, No. 5, Pg. 10

AuthorBERT HUMMEL YLD President State Bar of Georgia
PositionVol. 26 5 Pg. 10

From the YLD President

No. Vol. 26 No. 5 Pg. 10

Georgia Bar Journal

April, 2021

The Veracity of Our Pursuits: “Reality” Should Be Authentic, Our Voices Matter and the Public is Listening

BERT HUMMEL YLD President State Bar of Georgia

We find ourselves in an interesting time in our history when nearly a quarter of the population lives in the physical world, a second exists almost exclusively in the virtual world, a third lives in the past and most of the remaining reside somewhere in the future. That leaves very few who are living in the now or, in other words, very few Americans find themselves in "reality." For lawyers, however, living in the moment and being mindful is something we strive for, or it is at least something we implore jurors to do as the trier of fact at trials.

Almost any attorney, when addressing a jury in opening and closing statements, will ask jurors to be mindful of the facts presented, to listen to the witnesses' testimony and, when deciding guilt or liability, to ensure that external facts, preconceived notions and bias do not factor into their decision. I always like to ask that they not leave their common sense at the courtroom door when they step into the jury box. The point is that, in trial, we ask jurors to live in the now and be mindful of the space they are in. Why then would our profession not take the same advice?

The answer is complex and, to a degree, irrelevant. What is relevant is that in order to be mindful of the now and create an authentic "reality," we must respect and honor the veracity of the statements we make, the positions we take and the arguments we construct. Otherwise, we are misleading the public, damaging the profession and ruining our own reputations. In a sense, this is why the present, physical world is known as "reality."

Truth, or striving for facts, is what our entire evidentiary system is based upon. As such, truthfulness should be at the forefront of how we as attorneys conduct ourselves in everything we do, because our actions reflect our profession and the institutions we represent. In fact, our As-pirational Statement on Professionalism calls on us as lawyers: "(g) To preserve the dignity and the integrity of our profession by my conduct. The dignity and the integrity of our profession is an inheritance that must be maintained by each successive generation of lawyers."

Without truth and veracity—or in the...

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