Don’t forget that practicing law is a people business

We are fortunate to have a tightknit legal community in Jacksonville.

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  • | 5:00 a.m. October 1, 2020
  • Law
  • The Bar Bulletin
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By Tim Miller, Young Lawyers Section board of governors 

Tim Miller
Tim Miller

Although it may seem like ages, it was not long ago that fall meant the long, hot summer days would be winding down and opening your front door meant starting your day with crisp, cool autumn air.

Children were ready to begin their new adventure in a new classroom and off in the distance, the sound of a marching band meant that high school football was just around the corner.

To say the least, 2020 has been a surprise.

Looking back from New Year’s Eve when the ball dropped in Times Square to where we are now, one would not have imagined what we as a community have endured, from a worldwide pandemic that has affected the way we live our lives to issues that continue to plague this nation, such as social injustice and police reform.

This year has made it nearly impossible to focus on anything but the negative aspects of 2020. Mental health issues across the country have skyrocketed and as I write this article, there frankly does not seem to be an end in sight to what ails us as a nation.

The novelty of working from home has worn off and happy hour via Zoom does not feel the same as catching up with those you care about at your favorite establishment.

The negativity surrounding the year really makes me think about what I miss most about years past. I found that it’s the simple pleasures.

Like running into an old friend in the halls of the courthouse (if anyone can remember those days) or getting ready the morning before a trial and making sure all my ducks were in a row or participating in the events that we are lucky to have provided by our Jacksonville Bar Association.

As I further thought about what I miss most, I realized that the common denominator in all of this was people. Despite the modern age we live in and technology we never imagined would be possible, as attorneys, we still are in a people business.

Our ability to reach common ground, pull in the same direction and compromise with other people is what makes us better at our jobs and effective advocates.

To go from constant interaction with people on a daily basis to having to call ahead to see if a restaurant is open for lunch during the middle of the week was quite the change for everyone and I have seen it take its toll.

While the JBA has done an outstanding job of maintaining its programing and our law offices have attempted to maintain life as close to normal as possible, there sometimes seems to be a bit missing. 

Calling an old friend that you haven’t spoken to in quite a while or checking on a family member that you don’t get to speak to as often as you’d like could be ways to help fill the void.

We are fortunate to have a tightknit legal community in Jacksonville. We should not take for granted that because of that, we can be friends with folks we have not practiced with or are even in the same field.

This is because our legal community knows it’s all about people. The numbers you can dial on your cellphone mean far more than the GPA recorded on your transcript.

Kindness, friendship and compassion are what make this legal community truly special. My hope is that our secret gets out as I feel it would make the nation a better place.

Tim Miller is a litigation attorney at Harris Guidi Rosner specializing in criminal defense, family law and civil matters.