President's Page: Connection through community
Vol. 78, No. 6 / November - December 2022
Lauren Tucker McCubbin
I am the beneficiary of many years of mentoring, sponsorship, and communal support. Any success I have achieved in my career is due in great part to the many Missouri judges and lawyers who have taught, guided, supported, challenged, and critiqued me over the years. And I am fortunate to have a community within my firm and among other members of our bar whom I can rely on for moral support and connection, and for whom I do the same.
The concept of kinship among lawyers is not new. Indeed, throughout the history of the legal profession, there has always been a strong focus on community.1 From the Inns of Court in England to the apprenticeship model in the early days of our republic to the establishment of formal legal training in law schools, bar associations, and other affinity groups — lawyers have always benefited from connection with one another.
This remains true today. It is easy to be disheartened when we hear or read about the lack of civility; prevalence of mental health challenges; and ongoing struggle to improve the diversity, equity, and inclusion of the legal profession. But one of the simplest and most powerful ways we can combat each of these issues is through connection.
It is easy to be kind and considerate to someone we know and care about. By developing relationships with our opposing counsel and those who do not see the world the same way we do, we gain empathy and are far more likely to be civil.
Similarly, we can have a positive impact on each other’s mental well-being through community.2 United, we can help each other feel a sense of belonging, support, and purpose. And by connecting with, mentoring, and sponsoring lawyers who are underrepresented in our profession, we can improve diversity, equity, and inclusion — which benefits us all.3
Missouri lawyers thrive in community with each other, and The Missouri Bar provides myriad opportunities for us to come together. Through connect.MOBAR, we can find others who share our professional passions and build a network of support. Through continuing legal education programs and conferences, we can make friends, network, and find mentors and sponsors to help us grow professionally and personally. Through volunteering and pro bono work, we can find a sense of purpose together and give back to our communities. Together, connected, we flourish. Visit MoBar.org to find more ways to connect.
1 See, e.g., Susan Katcher, Legal Training in the United States: A Brief History, 24 Wisc. Int’l L. J. 335 (2006), https://wilj.law.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1270/2012/02/katcher.pdf.
2 See, e.g., Stephanie Gilbert, The Importance of Community and Mental Health, National Alliance of Mental Illness, Nov. 18, 2019, https://nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/November-2019/The-Importance-of-Community-and-Mental-Health.
3 See, e.g., Erik Larson, New Research: Diversity + Inclusion = Better Decision Making At Work, Forbes, Sept. 21, 2017, at https://www.forbes.com/sites/eriklarson/2017/09/21/new-research-diversity-inclusion-better-decision-making-at-work/?sh=33bfd3464cbf.