Full Time Practice

Monday, April 8, 2013

Should You Be a "Contender" or Not

(Written by Nan Barker, WIL Committee chair.)

Why wouldn't you want to be a contender?

Definitions of a contender include: a rival, the contestant you hope to defeat, a competitor for a championship or high honor.

Being a contender is usually viewed as a good thing.  It means you have excelled in your field, whatever that field is.  So, why is this article entitled "Should You Be a Contender or Not"?

In the most recent General Conference of the LDS Church (www.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2013), one of the last Sunday speakers was Elder Enrique R. Falabella, from Guatemala.  As the basis for his talk he used six of his wife's mottos. One of them was:

In order to contend you need two people, and I will never be one of them.

A contender contends, which is defined as: to strive in opposition, to struggle, to debate, to dispute, to compete, to vie, etc.

Elder Falabella explained that the Lord has described attributes to guide people in dealing with others, including "persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness and love unfeigned" (Doctrine & Covenants 121:41).

The lists are pretty different, aren't they?  As attorneys, which list should we follow? Should there be one list for the office and one for the home? My initial response is no.  We should be consistent.  We should take the long-suffering approach.

But then again, aren't we as attorneys being paid to debate and to dispute?  Can we be effective attorneys if we follow Doctrine & Covenants 121:41?

Let me know what you think.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think attorneys are paid to debate and dispute for the sake of debating and disputing. We are paid to be advocates for our clients, and if justice is to be served then each party deserves an advocate. Some attorneys just like the fight. But we have the opportunity to be better than that. We can be more effective attorneys if we advocate for the best solutions for our clients and that does not need to be a zero sum game or antagonistic approach.