15:04 PM

Missouri Bar Senior Counselors offer advice

Each year, The Missouri Bar designates a group of lawyers as "Senior Counselors." To become a "Senior Counselor," a lawyer must reach the age of 75 or have been admitted to The Missouri Bar for 50 years. We asked this year's class to share some words of wisdom with their fellow Missouri lawyers -- specifically those recently admitted to the bar. Here's what they said:



Michael Edward Baker

Learn to listen.

Ruby L. Bonner

Practice with civility and integrity. The legal community is relatively small, and words travel. As officers of the court, lawyers are held to a higher standard in and outside of the court.

Hon. Richard C. Bresnahan

Never make a false statement to a judge, a fellow attorney, or to courthouse personnel. Your most valuable asset as an attorney is your reputation. No matter where you practice, if you lie, everyone will soon find out and you will never be trusted again.

Richard T. Brewster Jr.

When you get a call from an acquaintance who wants you to help his/her elderly relative, and you are swamped at work, and know that person will have no money to pay you, agree to help anyway. You’ll feel good, you’ll gain a friend or two for life, and this might possibly even have some financial benefit for you.

David Victor Capes

Always be prepared and ready in any representation you take, always be professional and courteous to everyone you deal with, try not to take yourself too seriously and be of good humor whenever possible, and find something outside of the law and your practice that you love to do and use it as an outlet for all the pressures you will incur and difficulties you will encounter in your professional life.

Richard T. Ciottone

Clients can view objectivity as disloyalty or lack of commitment. Long-term relationships necessarily will eat away at objectivity, especially when you were involved in decisions that crafted the act or policy being advocated or defended. When you lose objectivity, it takes a toll on your personal life as well as your effectiveness. It’s an occupational hazard which is impossible to avoid, but it helps to see it coming.

Joseph P. Conran

Practice law with respect and integrity. Believe you can make a difference for your clients and others in the community. Represent your clients with intensity and attention to detail. Be thankful for the blessing and the privilege of being part of an honorable profession.

John W. Cowden

  1. Be prepared.
  2. Show up on time.
  3. Treat others with respect.
  4. Comply with ethical standards.
  5. Think before speaking or writing.
  6. Honor promises and agreements.
  7. Acknowledge support from others.
  8. Share credit for victory.
  9. Accept responsibility for defeat.
  10. Enjoy the fascinating journey.

Hon. Kathianne Knaup Crane

I want you to consider that you are now part of a legal community and in this community, over a lifetime of practice, you will work with an interact with community members over and over and in many different capacities. Treating each member of this community respectfully, civilly, and professionally is key to having an enjoyable, successful, and productive career.

Hon. Winston G. Davis

Truth and civility are the keystones of law practice.

Kerry D. Douglas

As a general rule, lawyers are uniquely qualified to be leaders in their communities, and are uniquely obligated by virtue of their training, experience, and God-given talents to offer their services and resources for the benefit of the communities in which they live and/or work. Experience has taught me that the rewards following these principals are incalculable.

James L. Eiffert

Be honest: to your co-workers; to other attorneys; to the courts; to your family; and, most important, to yourself. Never forget that there many important things in your life that have nothing to do with the practice of law!

Patrick J. Eng

Be yourself, don’t forget where you came from. Just because you are a lawyer you are no better than anyone. Be kind/courteous and always available.

George Elliott Feldmiller

Clients may well want ethical lawyers who will do the right thing, and not all potential clients want a win-at-all-costs lawyer. In my view, you can always win in a high-minded way. In the practice of law, it is important to know people. To know people, it is important to have some self-awareness. True self-knowledge can lead to empathy and insight into others and to a respect for all people, even opponents. It is important to also be faithful to the actual and important facts and not contrived facts. We must encourage good lawyers and those aspiring to be good lawyers.

Raymond J. Flunker

Be kind to all court employees. Treat your opponent with courtesy and respect. Be truthful in all interactions with the judges. Use the law as a tool, not a weapon.

Michael Fisher

Never compromise your credibility.

Carlyle Foley

  1. More lying goes on in the courthouse than in any other building in town.
  2. A person who has nothing to lose is the most dangerous person in the courthouse.

Joseph P. Fuchs

Be prepared, be polite, be considerate, be attentive, and be respectful.

Gary Jenkins

Always have a “widow or orphan” you are helping.

Ernest C. Jett, Jr.

Seek wisdom, justice, and equity.

Gordon D. Gee

The practice of law is a profession, not just a business. I became a lawyer to help people resolve legal needs and conflicts.

J. Patrick Glynn

Always remember, it’s not just a job, it is a profession.

Robert H. Grant

Treat fellow lawyers with respect, even if they don’t “deserve” it. Never keep a judge waiting.

Gwendolyn Hart

Practicing law is like marriage. You better make sure you love it, because it is not easy.

Wayne C. Harvey

  1. P+P=S (Prayer plus Patience equals Success, if you remain humble and focused!)
  2. If you treat your clients well and give a quality product at a fair price, they will tell their friends and neighbors, but if you treat them with disrespect, give bad advice, and overcharge, they will tell the whole world.

John Powell Hastings

Remember that law is a sterile body of statues, rules, and prior opinions only applied and brought to life after the facts and truth have been discerned. Without observing the necessity of truth, justice becomes a random act, so be scrupulous in your search for truth and personal integrity. Affiliate with other attorneys that have similar high principles and a regard for the truth. Anticipate many changes in the law and practice. Most lawyers will become comfortable but not wealthy.

Keith W. Hazelwood

As your circumstances allow, try different practice settings (private practice; large firm; private practice; small firm; solo practice; in-house corporate practice; public sector); spend the majority of your career in the practice setting which is most comfortable to you.

Robert E. Heisler

Stay true to the reason you chose to become an attorney.

Hon. John C. Holstein

WORDS HAVE MEANING. The usual and ordinary meaning of a word is not improved by multiplying, stretching, or twisting it. Keep it simple.

Michael C. Horn

First, understand how fortunate we are to have the privilege to devote our lives to the law in the pursuit of bringing a better, and a more just and decent life, to all we come in contact with. Second, know that your undertaking to participate in the pursuit of the law is a high responsibility, and as such is not an easy endeavor; it requires hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. Third, and of equal importance, have respect for yourself.

Bernard Charles Huger

My advice to young attorneys is to remember that the practice of law is a profession and not a business, and that our role is to understand the needs of our clients and to meet those needs in a thorough, professional, and helpful way.

Terence Kelley

The bar asked me as a senior counselor to provide some advice at this virtual Annual Meeting. My advice was staring up at me from the paper form to carry my thoughts. During my career, technology has remade the landscape for the practice of law. It has not, in my judgment, remade the practice itself. Law remains a profession of the basic principles and values of the nation and not the aggregation of technical skills serving a particular end or outcome. For this reason, whether it is spell check or AI, technology should serve the purpose of the law and not the other way around. The law should always have a place for advice to be given on a piece of paper with useful words from a dedicated counsel to his or her client that is meant to begin a conversation. A corollary to this advice is practice good penmanship so you will be able to write down your advice instead of relying on a computer like I have to because I did not put in the time to write legibly.

Jerrold Kenter

For those who fought for it, freedom has a taste the defeated will never know. – Old U.S. Marine Corps saying

Hon. William A. Knox

Your integrity is your most valuable asset. It will win you more cases than case law. Don’t do anything to jeopardize it.

Lawrence Leroy Limpus

Follow the Golden Rules is the best advice I can offer. Treat others as you wish to be treated, be civil to all, and speak only the truth. Act ethically and responsibly. In the old west, a man’s word was his bond. This should be true in the practice of law. Your reputation and character will define your place in the profession and in society. While the practice of law is often adversarial, it is critical to remember to be civil to all. Those whom you oppose today may be able to assist you tomorrow. Remember the Godfather, “It is business, not personal.” Act professionally.

Hon. Robert M. Liston

Communication is the means of creating good client relations.

James F. Malone

You are here to serve your client. Be honest with them, with yourself, and with your peers.

Daneil J. McMichael

Please do not write, respond to, or rule upon a motion for Summary Judgment without first reading Columbia Mut.Ins. Co. v. Heriford, 518 S.W.3d234, (Mo. App. S.D. 2017) and HOW TO WRITE A MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGEMENT 63 J. Mo. B. 68 by Judge Julian Bush.

Richard T. Merker

Treat the Court, other attorneys, and clients with respect.

Warren G. Moseley

Make the government prove every aspect of any case.

Joseph Arthur Morrissey

Don’t let you law practice interfere with your hot rod building.

Linda Mary Neal

You are more likely to live long and prosper if your practice area matches your personality:

  • Straight-line thinker = Administrative Law;
  • Problem-solver = Estate Planning;
  • Nimble mind and creative -= Criminal Law;
  • Love blood and gore = Family Law.

John B. Renick

It’s all in the preparation.

George R. Ripplinger

Look it up. Read the whole thing.

M. Dwight Robbins

1.What case to turn down, unless they have $1,000 cash.

2. You will learn something new every day, always in front of a packed court room.

3. You client’s truthfulness is always greatest right after they take the stand.

Donald R. Schuering

The practice of law is a profession not a job, so act accordingly. Treat your clients with dignity and compassion and remember no question should go unanswered.

Mary Joe Smith

Have uncommon wisdom with common sense. Be client focused and results driven. Remember experience listens. Be heard. What makes us different… makes us better!

R. Pete Smith

It is a vigil.

Fred J. Spigarelli

The best advice I can give is to always be honest with your clients, be honest with your opponents, and be honest with the court. If you do this, you’ll be okay.

Thomas H. Stahl

Being a lawyer can be one of the most fulfilling and best professions, as long as one of your primary goals is to help others.

Thomas N. Sterchi

In order to be successful in the practice of law, lawyers need to adhere to three basic principles: (1) work hard; (2) always tell the truth; (3) do what you promised to do, because your word is your bond.

Steven J. Streen

Know your core values and let them dictate your behavior, even when that’s not easy to do. Don’t oversell likely outcomes to attract clients. Keep expectations reasonable.

Hon. Miles Sweeney View a video with Sweeney's remarks here!

Lynn Franklin Taylor, II

Pay attention to the facts. As Michael Crichton, quoting John Lawton, observed: “The irony of the Information Age is that it has given new respectability to the uniformed opinion.”

Marilyn S. Teitelbaum

Civility and reasonable cooperation with opposing attorneys should be an ethical imperative for those that practice law as a profession rather than just a job; doing so will ultimately benefit your clients more than obstructionist tactics. Respect the law and the facts. Then zealously and honestly argue them both on behalf of your clients.

Perry M. Toll

Work hard but take quality time for your family – they are the client you will have all of your life.

Gary R. Underwood

To anyone arguing a motion or trying a case follow: The P’s – “Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.”

James L. Van Dillen

Take care of your connections.

Andrew C. Webb

Don’t begin to believe everything you hear, and have lots of patience!

Alvin D. Wilken

Never stop learning.

Mark H. Wissehr

  1. Do not discuss legal matters in public, especially on a cellular telephone.
  2. Strive for a good relationship with court personnel. They appreciate the recognition and are a great asset to the lawyers.

Hon. Michael A. Wolff

View a video with Wolff's remarks here!

James E. Wynne

Be an advocate for your client – even when his position makes you appear stupid.

Harvey L. Yusman

Always stay true to all attributes of professionalism.