Lawyers are “officers of the Court.” This means that we play a pivotal role in the implementation of the judicial system. Essentially, we are guardians of justice. In the course of our professional duties most of us acquire a sense of the importance of the courts, the judicial branch of government, and its judges and lawyers. We are a profession of personal service like no other. To quote Richard D. Burbridge, Dean of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers:
“Those whom we represent face crushing challenges and/ or have suffered life-altering loss, the course of which we are often powerless to fully amend….To serve them we must claim them as our own and make their cause our cause as we prepare prosecution or defense to enable the fullest meaning of a just resolution. We thus find ourselves ministers to body and soul; holding, supporting, instructing, inspiring, guiding and all the while protecting and enhancing the system of justice through which crucible we and our clients must pass. The breadth of our roles is as daunting as it is exhilarating. Priest, rabbi, confessor, teacher, detective, psychologist, student, historian and finally producer and director of profound reality dramas with life-altering consequences.”
The courts are the only branch of government in which we may speak the truth without fear of retaliation, where fact supported by evidence is the only acceptable way to resolve differences, where people from every vein of society can receive true justice, because of dedicated lawyers and judges. The scales are evenly balanced between the smallest voices and the rich and powerful in our society, because the officers of the Court are aware of and dedicated to their roles in our system of evenhandedness in the handling of the affairs of our citizens.
Had judges, lawyers, and jurors debated the great issues of our times, such as endless war, death and injury of our young men and women, depletion of our treasury because of tax breaks for the rich, discrimination against the poor and minorities and continual wrangling by politicians who want to get nothing done except what is their own self-interest, life in the world might be very different. As lawyers and judges, we are proud to safeguard our justice system and are also proud of the other indispensable officers of the Court — the citizen-jurors.