The Noblest Profession

July 28, 2014 § 7 Comments

It’s easy for lawyers to become jaded and cynical. We often experience people at their worst, and, like workers in a hot dog plant, our access to the inner workings of justice can dull our appetite for the legal system.

So the good we do is often obscured by the muck and grime of everyday practice.

With those thoughts in mind, check out these observations I ran across …

The butt of many jokes, but to me the noblest profession to be entered.

We are the conduit between the lowest, smallest citizen and the bar of justice.

We help people in their time of deepest need.

We are their strength to lean on and their voice for defense, complaint, protection, and freedom against those who might abuse or take advantage of for money or power.

We have a great deal of responsibility.

We are the reason our cars are safe, our medical care is excellent, our consumable products are of proper quality, our right to speak is available, and our freedom is foremost.

The Law here makes this all available and lawyers are the conduit.

Obvious, however, is the fact that lawyers are mere men and women and their ability to accomplish these noble tasks are limited by their intellect, work ethic, and moral compass.

I take comfort however in remembering that when the clergy backed the inquisition and witch hunts, and teachers taught a flat world and that the world was the center of the universe, and physicians bled George Washington with leaches and conducted surgery with unwashed hands, killing more patients than their disease did, Lawyers were drafting documents such as the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States and its Bill of Rights.

Our profession in the right hands is the noblest to be entered.

Those thoughts are from attorney Henry Palmer, of Meridian, who died week before last at age 65 after collapsing in federal court in Jackson. Henry kept a journal where he recorded random thoughts on various subjects. They were not intended for publication, I am sure, but his son, Hap, shared them at the funeral and allowed me to post them here.

Henry loved the law and the legal profession. He was a former DA and Circuit Judge, and in private practice was an accomplished advocate. He enjoyed discussing legal points and was a master at being able to view cases from different perspectives and in persuading judges to see what he saw. He was wise and down-to-earth, intelligent and humble, courtly and witty, and it was always a pleasure to be in his company.

It’s fitting that this old warrior fell in the arena he enjoyed most, arguing a motion to dismiss. And he was true to his client to the end. When he came to, before he could be rushed to a hospital, the judge asked whether there was anything she could do, and Henry responded, “You could grant my motion, Judge.”

Henry’s motion to declare the legal profession to be the noblest is well taken and should be granted. He was one of the noblest.

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§ 7 Responses to The Noblest Profession

  • Stewart Parrish says:

    Amen! We lost not only a friend, but a great man. Early in my career I played “hardball” with Judge Palmer. Ho told me, “You are making this harder than it has to be.” And after he soundly spanked me in court, he forgave and never mentioned it again. Our last conversation was on the day of his demise, and he was reffering me a case. Quite a role model.

  • H. W. Sonny Jones says:

    Henry and I went way back. I got the design for a tree stand for deer hunting from Henry so long ago I can’t be sure of the date, but he carried it strapped to his back to take hunting. Henry had one of the traits that I consider most important in a person. He was always Henry, and you never had to guess what he was really thinking. He was solid!!

  • Ken says:

    I became friends with Henry after his confinement to the wheelchair. We worked closely on a special project for a common friend. We seemed to hit it off and enjoyed each others company. I would take him Ducks to use for his Gumbo and he would share it with me. Great guy, awesome cook and one heck of a lawyer.

  • Bob Wolford says:

    I take advantage of any opportunity I have to learn from this generation of the legal profession. So much knowledge that is simply not attainable anywhere else.

  • hale1090 says:

    Thanks. It reminds me how my Father felt about the legal profession.

    To be remembered for serving others is a life well lived for Henry Palmer.

    • Larry says:

      In the past 12 months I have been to two funerals for lawyers who died in their 80’s. At each the widow told me how much their husbands loved the law and the legal profession, and how proud they were of their careers in the law.

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