President's Message November/December 2019

Love of the Law
David N. Bazar, Esq.

President, Rhode Island Bar Association

“There are many days when the practice of law may seem routine, but we should all remember the excitement we had when we first began our journeys in the law.” 
I had the opportunity to attend the orientation for the new law students at the Roger Williams University School of Law. The dean of admissions spoke of all the different paths the students took on their journey to law school. The excitement of the new law students was palpable. The day reminded me of the enthusiasm we all had for the law when we began law school. It also reminded me of the route I took to law school.
I knew exactly what I wanted to do as I began college. I was going to go to medical school. I would major in biology, breeze through organic chemistry and pick which medical school had the most to offer. So there I was, a freshman in physiology class. One of the lab requirements involved cutting the heads off of live rats and draining the blood in a sink. I discovered something about myself that day. I don’t like to see blood, my own or the blood of any other living thing. Medical school was not going to work. So, what next?

Sitting in French class as a sophomore I was smitten with the professor with the cute accent. This was the perfect major. I would fulfill the requirement by taking as many classes as I could from her. After class one day, I revealed my plan to the professor. She looked at me and said, “You are from Rhode Island, right?” “Mais qui,” I replied. She then said, “With your accent, you would need six years in Paris to complete a major in French.” Devastated.

So there I was, the only junior in History 101 with one hundred and fifty freshmen. The class was taught by the chair of the department who asked a question on the first day, “Why would anyone want to major in history?” He then told this story:

There was a bright young Trinity College graduate who majored in history working at a company in New York City. The president of the company called the young man into his office. He told him that he noticed the young man had been doing a good job and that he was going to pro- mote him to executive vice-president and double his salary. “Thank you,” replied the young man. The president looked at him and said, “You are a graduate of Trinity College. You majored in history. I just promoted you and doubled your salary.  And the only thing you can say is thank you?” The young man looked at him and said, “Well then, thank you very much, Dad!”

I had found my major. Prior to desktop, laptop, or for that matter any home computers other than maybe Apple I or II computers, we had to type our papers on typewriters. My brother was in law school at the University of Bridgeport, so I would drive from Hartford to Bridgeport to have the papers I was writing typed by someone at his law school. He suggested that I should go to law school and that we could open a practice when I graduated. He introduced me to the dean of the law school, Anthony Santoro. It took Dean Santoro about five minutes to convince me that I wanted to go to law school.

The love of the law as a first-year law student is infectious. Following my exams in the winter of that first year, I had dinner with a lawyer named Edward Goldin. I spent the entire dinner telling him about every fact pattern and the nuance of every issue. He told me that we should never lose the enthusiasm born in law school that we have for the law. There are many days when the practice of law may seem routine, but we should all remember the excitement we had when we first began our journeys in the law. As for my brother, when I graduated from law school I suggested we practice law together. He said, “Who wants to practice law? I’m working for Dad.”