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Hickey: Out with the new and in with the old

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Recently, I cleaned my office. That alone is worthy of a President's Message; however, the story gets better. What began as an almost-as-good-as-a-root-canal experience turned into a journey back in time with a treasure-trove of items that hadn't seen the light of day in decades.

As I pulled out boxes from law school, I was reminded of stories of offices with grease-stained files from doughnuts having been smashed between them while the pile sat. I worried about whether something would nibble on my hand or whether I would mourn the death of a once-living thing crushed by mountains of legal prose. Other than a smashed pretzel and one dead fly, I was pleasantly surprised with some of my discoveries. Among them were . . .

My law school notes. Amazingly, I saved every last scribbling from school. At first, I kept them in case the need arose to resort to textbook definitions for basis and other pressing tax law questions. Then, I had high hopes of passing them on to future law school friends. That was as silly as my fascination with the environmental law outline it took me a semester to craft. I decided to part with the notebooks that represented so many hours of study; however, as I did, I was reminded of a time when passion, patience, and perseverance ruled the day.

Various Certificates of Admission and Appreciation. Wow. I was admitted to practice in places I had never been and awarded certificates for things I didn't recall. I dusted those off and now they have been elevated to the top of a table. One day, they might make it to a frame. Maybe, maybe not.

A very-young-looking photo of me behind my desk with piles of files. It could have been taken 15 years ago, but my surroundings were still the same: a computer, lots of work, and candy on my desk. That was in the same box as a Ziggy cartoon about organized chaos; I threw that away since it clearly had not served me well over the years.

The IBA Standards of Professionalism and a book on Integrity. If you have not seen the Standards of Professionalism in a while, I encourage you to read them; they make you stand a little taller and practice law a little better. I believe these have a place right next to the paperclips and pens on our desk as an indispensable item to be consulted often. These, I kept.

Many old copies of news articles about colleagues, local Bar events and special people. I took some time to look back through these. Yellowed papers showed smiling faces of young lawyers who are now our seasoned leaders in the community. They smiled from behind an award being presented, or above a caption recognizing them for something wonderful they did as a new attorney. At the time, I had no idea that I was saving clips about what would be the future of our legal profession. It was nice to take a trip back in time with so many close friends, trusted colleagues, and respected leaders.

Personal notes that I had kept for one reason or another. While email and texting are all the rage, the personal note has all but died. I saved personal thank you's written for Bar work done from over fifteen years ago. I tucked away personal sentiments from attorneys and IBA staff who took their time to give me words of appreciation and encouragement. Even in the day of less is more, we should not underestimate the power of the personal note.

Finally, a faded copy of a Xeroxed paper was lodged between memos, books, and other items of no import. I am glad I took the time to read it before pitching it with the many other items that had our shred bins bulging at the seams. I don't know where I got it, or who gave it to me, but I kept this one. It had a short message and one that is worth saving: Today is What I Make It.

It seems to me that things require dusting off every once in a while. Remind yourself what was important to you at one time, what remains important to you now, and what you might have lost sight of. Take a moment to write a personal note to a trusted friend or a colleague whose photo is in the paper. Reflect back on your law school days, the people who helped get you where you are, and remember that today is what you make it.

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  1. "Am I bugging you? I don't mean to bug ya." If what I wrote below is too much social philosophy for Indiana attorneys, just take ten this vacay to watch The Lego Movie with kiddies and sing along where appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etzMjoH0rJw

  2. I've got some free speech to share here about who is at work via the cat's paw of the ACLU stamping out Christian observances.... 2 Thessalonians chap 2: "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last."

  3. Did someone not tell people who have access to the Chevy Volts that it has a gas engine and will run just like a normal car? The batteries give the Volt approximately a 40 mile range, but after that the gas engine will propel the vehicle either directly through the transmission like any other car, or gas engine recharges the batteries depending on the conditions.

  4. Catholic, Lutheran, even the Baptists nuzzling the wolf! http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-documents-reveal-obama-hhs-paid-baptist-children-family-services-182129786-four-months-housing-illegal-alien-children/ YET where is the Progressivist outcry? Silent. I wonder why?

  5. Thank you, Honorable Ladies, and thank you, TIL, for this interesting interview. The most interesting question was the last one, which drew the least response. Could it be that NFP stamps are a threat to the very foundation of our common law American legal tradition, a throwback to the continental system that facilitated differing standards of justice? A throwback to Star Chamber’s protection of the landed gentry? If TIL ever again interviews this same panel, I would recommend inviting one known for voicing socio-legal dissent for the masses, maybe Welch, maybe Ogden, maybe our own John Smith? As demographics shift and our social cohesion precipitously drops, a consistent judicial core will become more and more important so that Justice and Equal Protection and Due Process are yet guiding stars. If those stars fall from our collective social horizon (and can they be seen even now through the haze of NFP opinions?) then what glue other than more NFP decisions and TRO’s and executive orders -- all backed by more and more lethally armed praetorians – will prop up our government institutions? And if and when we do arrive at such an end … will any then dare call that tyranny? Or will the cost of such dissent be too high to justify?

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