President's page: What’s the point(illism)?
Vol. 80, No. 1 / Jan.-Feb. 2024
Megan Phillips is the 2023-24 Missouri Bar president.
Greetings, colleagues. I write this in the first days of the new year, full of high aspirations and fresh resolve.
As lawyers, we expect much of ourselves, striving for whatever we perceive as perfection. But let’s be real. We’re in a challenging season. And the winter blues are only a fraction of it.
It’s hard to stay positive in this era of division and global conflict.
The World Justice Project estimates that the rule of law is declining in 82 countries, including the United States.1 We went to law school to make a difference, to serve our communities, and to advance democracy. So, in today’s climate, it might often feel like your best efforts are tantamount to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. But here’s the thing. We can and do make a difference, collectively, with each good act.
The Supreme Court of Missouri created The Missouri Bar as a unified bar to unite us in our mission to improve the profession, the law, and the administration of justice on behalf of the public. Today, we enjoy the combined strength of 31,000 members. Together, our potential for good is greater than the sum of our parts.
Think of a pointillist painting in which each small victory, act of integrity, and gesture of kindness is a tiny individual dot of color. Up close, they may seem like nothing more than random dots. But, stepping back and shifting focus, one can see that your individual daily heroics form a greater, cohesive tableau that elevates the Third Branch and improves the lives of those we serve. In 2023, thousands of you provided pro bono or reduced fee services. Last year, 65 volunteer lawyers answered 2,266 questions through Missouri.FreeLegalAnswers.org. We provided training for high school civics teachers, and we visited classrooms. We helped our clients, served our communities, and uplifted each other in our strategic work and in infinite spontaneous moments.
So, as we start a new year and trudge through these cold months, I urge you to carry on and seek out connection and collaboration through our bar as a form of perseverance, to paint more dots. News.MoBar.org and the weekly ESQ. e-newsletter contain a wealth of information about opportunities to network, learn, volunteer, and witness your inspirational service to the profession and the public. It feels good to do good, and we exert the widest influence when we do it together. So, grab a paintbrush and pick a color.
1 “WJP Rule of Law Index,” World Justice Project, 2023 at worldjusticeproject.org/rule-of-law-index.