President's Message January/February 2015

Sharing Our Exeperience, Strength and Hope

Bruce W. McIntyre, Esq.
President, Rhode Island Bar Association

Whether you are a litigator or a transactional attorney, every one of your clients will remember you as a participant in some of the most important moments in their lives. 
Making History
One of the most delightful opportunities associated with the Bar presidency is participation in the Rhode Island Supreme Court swearing-in ceremonies for attorneys who recently passed the State Bar Examination and the Character and Fitness review. Our Bar Association presents each attorney with a quill pen gift symbolizing a lawyer’s place in history, and reflecting their use in crafting important documents dating back to the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. On a related note, today, attorneys arguing before the United States Supreme Court receive one of these pens, provided by the Court, at the counsel table.

It occurred to me that our new Rhode Island attorneys will make history, as they represent clients in their practices. Whether you are a litigator or a transactional attorney, every one of your clients will remember you as a participant in some of the most important moments in their lives. Our words, advice and deeds during difficult moments are rarely, if ever, forgotten by our clients. And, our actions form the foundation for our reputations.

Banding Together
It is gratifying to see how well Bar Association members banded together to help each other during the implementation of the State courts’ electronic filing system. Change is never easy. This is especially true for more senior practitioners who have seen a lot of change over the course of their careers.  Many attorneys struggled with the looming electronic filing system deadlines. For many, it felt as though the sky was falling. But, as the court’s training training sessions unfolded, Bar members did what they do best, providing training and assistance to each other. Court administrators, judges and staff were all learning the new system together with lawyers. I have been through a number of large-scale technological implementations at State agencies, and I have collaborated on interstate technological implementations. They all have challenges and frustrations, but we could not function without them and the support of our colleagues. Well done!

Buying Happiness
Psychologists have discovered the old adage, “Money can’t buy happiness.” is, as many suspected, only partially true. As it turns out, spending money on ourselves does not add much to the quality of our happiness. However, being charitable with our money seems to provide the psychological ingredient that gives us a sense of well being and contentment. Another way to enhance our well being is to take better care of ourselves. Exercise, smoking cessation, and limiting or eliminating alcohol consumption our proven ways to improve our quality of life, and our Bar Association’s Lawyers Helping Lawyers Committee is here to assist us through difficult transitions in our lives.  We are fortunate to have their support, and that of many of our colleagues, in addressing our personal and professional challenges.  

As we enter this new year, I encourage you to celebrate our past, present and future in the knowledge that we have come so far and so well through our shared respect and assistance.  Let’s keep up the good work!