Executive Summary: For love of the practice
Vol. 79, No. 1 / January - February 2023
Mischa Buford Epps
I love being a lawyer. One of my favorite things about serving at The Missouri Bar is the opportunity to meet and visit with lawyers and judges across the state.
Hearing stories of their experiences reinforces that Missouri lawyers are a talented bunch, making differences in peoples’ lives – whether they are helping a grandparent obtain guardianship for a grandchild who lost a parent to COVID-19; prosecuting individuals who were trafficking young teens; securing financing for a local manufacturer to expand operations; or defending a corporate client in high-stakes litigation.
It is not always easy being a lawyer. In addition to needing to stay abreast of rapid changes in the law, rules, and regulations, lawyers must navigate economic uncertainties, increased time demands, misinformation, and efforts to undermine public trust in important government and civic institutions. We have all heard our fair share of lawyer jokes and jabs. But, as 2023 gets into full swing, there is still much to celebrate about the practice of law.
I reached out to some of our colleagues to see what they love most about our chosen career. So, here is a valentine of sorts to our profession, reminding us in the words of a few bar members across the state why it is an honor and privilege to be called to practice law.
“What I love about being a lawyer is ‘the creation of possibility’ and constant education. Sometimes people come to the office, and they have no hope or feel as though they are at a dead end. The challenge becomes digging into the legal problem, finding a way, and learning something I didn't know myself. That's satisfying work.” – Celestine Dotson, St. Louis
“I love being in a profession that makes a difference in people’s lives and communities. Lawyers have the training, skills, and opportunities to address the access to justice gap and other disparities in our system, which gives me hope and makes me glad to be a part of this profession.” – Kirsten Dunham, Columbia
“In a country that aspires to have no man as King, but rather the law as King, the legal profession plays a key role. I love the legal profession because its role is fulfilled every day as lawyers solve the problems presented in every situation and case brought to them.” – Judge Gary Lynch, Bolivar
“I think the most significant thing lawyers can do is ‘share.’ Whether it is sharing our knowledge, leadership skills, time, advice, counsel, or however we may choose to do it. When we ‘share,’ it is the greatest gift a lawyer can give back to society.”— Joseph P. Rice III, Cape Girardeau
“As a personal injury lawyer, I love being able to assist my clients in finding a just and reasonable resolution under the law. In addition, I find great satisfaction in being a problem solver and finding ways to help clients on many different legal issues they face.” – Keegan Tinney, Joplin
“So often, I deal with marginalized communities who feel abandoned by those in power, so it is truly gratifying to be able to work with individuals and make them feel like someone has some power, believes them, and is going to fight hard for them.” – Stephanie Wan, Springfield
“I love practicing law as a municipal lawyer because I am able to give back to my community. I have lived in the KC metro my entire life, so having the ability to serve as an assistant city attorney is truly meaningful for me.” – Alexandra Wilson, Kansas City
At your Missouri Bar, we want to hear what you love about the work you do each day and how we can help you better serve your clients and communities. Feel free to reach out via ListenNow@mobar.org, or tag us on social media.