Denver Bar Association
September 2002
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President Revisits Sept 11.

by Liz Starrs

We must stay committed to our legal system


It has been one year since September 11, 2001. All of our lives were changed that day and many of us made resolutions, like we do at the beginning of every calendar year, when we take stock and plan new courses of action in order to better our lives. Now, a year later, and the beginning of the association’s "New Year," it is time to remember those resolutions and what we learned.

After the tragedy of September 11, we wanted to reaffirm what is important to us; many of us resolved to stop taking for granted our lives, our country, and our freedom. We also vowed to make time for the people and issues that are important to us. According to those who study this sort of thing (making New Year’s resolutions), even though most are not kept, making resolutions implies that we are in control of our lives and not victims of fate. Yet on September 11, most of us felt we were no longer in control of our own lives and were, in fact, victims of fate.

As lawyers—and as citizens of the United States— we believed in the power and security of the Rule of Law. But September 11 made us realize that this basic value is not universally shared, making us both angry and fearful. However, never has it been more important to acknowledge that law plays a crucial role in making our society strong.

Shortly after the World Trade Center tragedies, Robert Hirshon, then President of the American Bar Association, said that "lawyers of America know that, despite our vulnerability to terrorism, the rule of law is our strongest weapon in the battle against anarchy and human destruction." I agree.

But what does this have to do with us in Denver, far removed from the East Coast and now a year since the attacks? How important are our individual law practices in the face of terrorism and other de-stabilizing events? Can we have an impact?

Yes, what we do every day, in the microcosm of our own lives does, indeed, matter. Not only do we need to rekindle our immediate post-September 11 focus on our families, friends and our community, we must look ahead to make sure we don’t get lulled back into our pre-September 11 complacence.

Our society and justice system, while both in need of repair, are the best in the world and we must stay committed to them, not abandon them. We know that conflict (whether in personal lives or in business) is inevitable, and our courts provide a civilized form of conflict resolution. As lawyers, we are an integral part of making this work.

The DBA supports us in these efforts. We not only have committees devoted to our professional development, we also have programs to coordinate and facilitate our ability to give back to the community in meaningful ways—for example, delivering legal services to lower income people, educating the public about the law and the legal profession and helping disadvantaged youths. Make getting involved one of YOUR New Year’s resolutions!

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