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Legally Speaking


Issue: February, 2007
Author: Joseph B. Bluemel

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From the President . . .

It seems that as a profession we lawyers take things seriously -- sometimes way too seriously. There is no doubt that we lawyers know our legal performance will be seen and evaluated by our clients, the judges before whom we practice, our communities and our colleagues. I can still see the plaque on the wall in the chambers of the first Circuit Court judge I practiced before with Lady Justice emblazoned thereon with the saying “Justice sharpens her sword on the hide of lawyers.” With symbols like this seared into our brains setting the standard by which we live our lives, how can we attorneys not take things seriously? More importantly, when we ponder the fact that, depending on our practice, our clients come to us only when they have a problem that is so great they cannot solve it themselves or the issue they face has such significant consequences they need the assistance of a professional, it requires us to be serious.

How serious we lawyers are does not seem to be something we simply stumble upon and consciously decide to finely tune as our practice develops. It is probably part of our personalities. If this seriousness is not deep in our genes, we certainly had every opportunity and sometimes pressure to learn through our education and training to function in our lives with an appropriate dose of gravity. I recall many of my days in law school when life was not as serious as it is now. There was the golf course that was set up in the library, my fellow students who decided their artistic talents with a copy machine would enhance the art exhibited throughout the law school and library, and the first vestiges of advertising when the formation of the firm Dewey, Chetam and Howe (all law students at the time) was posted in the locker area. Ah, those were times to smile and laugh. It is the hope and intent of the editorial committee of the Wyoming Lawyer that the articles in this issue will assist you in becoming less serious by recalling those days of levity when you were happily creative and challenging to the often staid aspects of the law.

When Sharon Wilkinson, the Editor of the Wyoming Lawyer and Director of Communications for the Bar told me what the theme for this issue was, she paused and then hesitatingly (but with a truly helpful and caring tone to her voice) added that maybe I should consider having someone ghost write this column for me. I understand that I am a bit serious...okay quite a bit serious. My limitations don’t stop there. Even though I love a good joke, I’m one of those people who seems unable to make up a joke, and when someone tells me a good joke, I don’t seem to remember it to retell. I guess that part of my brain didn’t develop well. In an effort to exercise and further develop that part of all our brains so we can smile more than we already do, so we can be even more creative within the confines of the law than we already are, please lean back in your chair and relax, erase those worries from your mind, plant a smile on your face and be prepared to be entertained by the law and read on.

In closing and on a serious note, I wish my friend and colleague, Jeff Schalow the best of success in his new adventures. Jeff has resigned from his position as Executive Director of the Wyoming State Bar to pursue other opportunities. On behalf of the Officers and Commissioners of the Wyoming State Bar, I express our thanks for your service and wish you good luck and good fortune.

Copyright © 2007 – Wyoming State Bar