Caught up in my own little world last Wednesday, busily working on my tasks, I had no idea what was happening until a student shared the news during a phone conversation that evening. My thoughts and feelings as I tried to catch up on the events of the day:
• Shock at the images of violence
• Saddened for the victims and their families
• Disbelief at the disrespect by Americans for the sanctity of our nation’s house of government
• Concern for our democracy
• Embarrassment for our country
• Shameful lack of leadership by a man this country entrusted with the Presidency
• Sad, dark day in our history
And then the images of our elected representatives determined to do their job in spite of the events. Their resolve to ensure our democracy strengthened because of the actions of those who chose to violate our nation’s Capitol.
I am also mindful of the appropriateness of Darby Dickerson’s theme for this year’s AALS Conference: The Power of Words. And as I listened to the excellent presentations in the Leadership Section program this week, I heard Mitchell Zuklie, Chairman of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, remind us multiple times that what we say and how we act matters greatly. Important messages we need to share often, especially with our students.
As we celebrated the ending of 2020, many of us thought we were turning the page in history to a better year – surely 2021 would bring a new and brighter day – only to be confronted on January 6 with the destruction and chaos and loss of life that occurred in the Capitol. May we each do all in our power to prevent that from ever happening again.
As teachers, trainers, and mentors of the next generation of lawyer-leaders, we hope you will join us in renewing our commitment and re-doubling our efforts to:
• inspire our law students to willingly acknowledge, and eagerly accept, their obligation as lawyers to serve the public and protect our democracy,
• encourage our law students to courageously seek opportunities, using their legal knowledge, training, and experience, to wisely and justly lead in their communities, and
• better prepare our law students to be leaders for change that will move our nation toward becoming a more perfect union.
Please let us know how we can help you in your work. Please also share your ideas for how we can work together to increase and grow leadership development initiatives across all law schools.
May this be a better year for all!