So a Lawyer Walks Into a Bar
Too often we hear about the worst of our profession – sometimes with daily reminders in the news or as the butt of many jokes – like this one I heard recently.
Some friends and I were out at a ranch a few weeks ago and decided to shoot some clay pigeons. Right as I was about to pull the trigger, my non-lawyer friend said, “Joey, you know what they call parachuting lawyers? Skeet.”
Now, that same friend has turned to me countless times for trusted (and free) advice, so I don’t really mind a little joking between friends. It all comes out in the wash.
Then there are those serious times that I am reminded what an honor and a responsibility it is to be an attorney – an officer of the court. Some of the women and men I admire most are lawyers who day after day, year after year, give sound advice and counsel – most of it practical more than “legal.”
Two more attorneys I learned of this week are also now on my list of admirable lawyers: John Torres, EVP and Chief Legal Officer and Secretary for Lennox International, and Aaron Diggins, an SMU 2L whose distinguished career even before law school is astounding.
Aaron Diggins is the winner of the Forrest Smith Scholarship at SMU Law School, and John Torres is this year’s recipient of the Robert H. Dedman Award for Ethics & Law. I don’t know these men personally but was greatly inspired after hearing their stories and their wisdom at this week’s Texas General Counsel Forum’s Dedman Award for Ethics & Law Dinner.
(As an aside, Level 2 Legal served as the Signature Cocktail Sponsor of the Dedman Dinner. The TGCF named the drink, “Ethical Dilemma,” which was quite popular among the lawyers in attendance.)
Aaron is a former U.S. Marine, U.S. Air Force airman, and Dallas police detective. He is studying at SMU Law School because he has seen firsthand the countless ways that lawyers can help significantly improve the lives of others. He has been deeply involved with numerous social justice efforts, including The Clemency Project and Nexus Recovery Center. He also spoke on “A Bold Conversation with a Black Cop” at a recent TedX SMU event.
John’s professional achievements are extraordinary, having headed the legal departments for two publicly traded companies – Freescale Semiconductor and Lennox, along with a stint as a VP in the Motorola legal department. But those accomplishments aren’t the most impressive things about John. Something said about him in his introduction by Hilda Galvan of Jones Day has stayed with me. John’s problem-solving always begins with one question: ‘What’s the right thing to do?” And he makes sure his course remains straight by asking and answering that question again and again until the solution is clear.
It almost sounds too simple, but I can’t think of a better ethical and business compass as an attorney, a CEO, and a trusted advisor for our clients: What’s the right thing to do?
Joey Seeber is CEO of Level 2 Legal Solutions, a Texas-based leading provider of eDiscovery and legal solutions, specializing in managed review, outsourcing, and consulting for law firms and in-house counsel.