The Atlanta Lawyer — April 2014
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President’s Message
Wade H. Watson III

MAKE A LIFE Get involved in the atlanta bar association

“The test of their scholarship, their humanity, and ultimately their happiness would not be in the dollars they might earn, but in the life they would live. ...”

Dr. James T.laney, former emory university president and united states ambassador to south Korea, once gave a baccalaureate address in which he tried to explain to the graduating class that their greatest challenge would not be making a living, but making a life. As emory graduates, they had all the skills and credentials necessary to make a good living. Yet the test of their scholarship, their humanity, and ultimately their happiness would not be in the dollars they might earn, but in the life they would live. How would they use their talents and education to make a rewarding life?

I think about Dr. Laney’s words often as I reflect on my legal career and the legal profession in general. Our profession is as demanding on a person’s intelligence, energy, and psychology as any can be. It does, however, provide the vast majority of us with the means to make a good living. Yet most of us find that after a few years of toil learning our craft and working those long associate hours, just making a good living is not enough. We want more. We want meaning, we want recognition, and we want somehow to feel that our work and labors have made a difference in this world.

What does any of that have to do with the Atlanta bar association, you ask? I am glad you did. If your name is not Thomas Jefferson, abraham lincoln, oliver wendell Holmes, or Benjamin Cardozo, you may find it difficult to live an extraordinary life all by yourself. That is where the atlanta bar association comes in. For most people to live a meaningful life in the law, you need an organization, you need support, you need opportunities to keep learning, you need opportunities for leadership, you need opportunities for service, and you need friends in the law. The atlanta bar association can help you with all of that.

In the coming months our board will be presenting opportunities to involve you in leadership, even if you have never been involved before. There is a common misconception that in order to be involved as a leader, you have to be an old grey-haired person with lots of spare time and nothing else to do. Not true. Our leaders include lawyers young and old, women and men, from big firms and small, deal makers and litigators, partners and associates, judges and mediators, conservatives and liberals, republicans and Democrats, and some who defy easy description. What we have in common is the law, an ethic of service, and a desire to make lives of meaning together.

I invite you to come to our annual Meeting on May 20, 2014 at the piedmont Driving club to meet our leaders for the coming year: Jacqueline h. saylor, president; harold e. franklin, Vice-president/president elect; James D. blitch iV, secretary; and Margaret H. (Maggie) Vath, Treasurer. These officers will take their oaths along with the newly elected members of the board of Directors: lisa K. liang, christopher p. lightner, Melissa phillips reading, and others who will be appointed by the president. If you have an idea about something you want the bar to do, or if you want to be of service, show up and let one of these folks know. I look forward to seeing you there.
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