Editor's Column

Editor's Column

It takes courage to be a lawyer. Each day, we take on the problems of others and make them our burdens. Each day, we make decisions that could be outcome determinative for our clients. Each day, we fight to win and, sometimes, come up short. It takes courage to do all that and get back out there and try again.

In moments of decision, I have often thought about this quote, attributed to President Theodore Roosevelt:

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

The nuance of that quote is very important. Many of us fear doing the “wrong” thing. I know I do. For many people, fearing to do the “wrong” thing, they lean back, avoid, and let other forces decide the issue. When we don’t decide the issue, when we lack the courage to make a tough call, we do the “wrong” thing. When other forces decide the fate of our case, without our input, we do the wrong thing.

Yet, sometimes doing the “wrong” thing is not doing a negative thing. Rather, a reasoned choice that comes up short may have been incorrect but may not be “wrong.” And, ultimately, choosing to act rather than allow other forces to decide the matter is actually the “right” thing regardless of the outcome. In most cases, acting according to your best judgment within the bounds of ethical and professional advocacy is never the “wrong” thing.

Have the courage to make the tough call. You decide the direction of your client’s case—each and every day. We must have the courage act, even when it might be the incorrect call. We must be bold for our clients and for ourselves. Or, as the great Gerry Spence says, “we can simply refuse to give our opponents permission to defeat us.”

Andy Jones is a senior associate at Sawicki Law and a director for the Texas Young Lawyers Association. He can be reached by email.

Views and opinions expressed in eNews are those of their authors and not necessarily those of the Texas Young Lawyers Association or the State Bar of Texas.

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