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International be kind to lawyers day – Tuesday, April 8, 2014

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No, I didn’t make that up.  It’s really a day, at least insofar as any “International…Day” is really a day.  This movement was started by Steve Hughes, a non-lawyer from St. Louis who works with lawyers in his presentation and rainmaking business and thought that, as a group, they weren’t so bad.  In fact, he knew many whom he quite liked.  So, when he continued to receive a negative reaction after telling people that he worked with lawyers for a living, he thought there was room in our society for some positive lawyer PR.

As Steve tells it on his website, he hatched the idea for National Be Kind to Lawyers Day when he was packing up his decorations for National Bubble Wrap Day (January) and starting to plan for National Ice Cream Day (July) and it occurred to him that there was room for a day honouring lawyers.  The chosen date of the second Tuesday in April falls strategically between April Fool’s Day and the U.S. Tax Day on April 15.  Since its inception, this annual holiday has gone global and is now known as International Be Kind to Lawyers Day, which means we Canadian lawyers can also feel the love.

So, I have to say that I had high hopes for IBKTL Day.  In my perfect world, this would be a statutory holiday (one with complicated rules about paying employees which would require the thoughtful advice of employment lawyers), there would be breakfast in bed (I mean, real breakfast, not my regular cereal poured in a bowl for me, kids!), a beautiful bouquet of flowers sent by one of my oldest and dearest clients, and all topped off with an e-mail from that company that fired one of my clients, reconsidering and deciding to give us every last thing we requested, just because I asked.

Yet it SO didn’t turn out that way.  First, no day off – our clients may be kind, but they still need things done.  Second, my streetcar was late (don’t they realize that I’m a lawyer and need to get to work on time?).  Third, no flowers, and finally, despite my brilliant legal arguments on behalf of my client, the company that fired her still said “no”.  Okay, we all knew they would, but it still hurts.  So, not my perfect day….

However, on reflection, it occurs to me that this may have been a day of kindness after all.  Here’s what did happen yesterday:

  • I had a lovely chat on the phone with a client with whom I hadn’t spoken in a while.  We got all caught up on kids and summer plans (and no, I didn’t bill her for this).
  • I was asked to participate in a wonderful charitable event because of my legal background.
  • I had a call with a lawyer who has kindly agreed to participate in some writing and speaking projects that I’m helping to coordinate.  She had some brilliant ideas and I was inspired.
  • I had a meeting with one of the lawyers here in my office to discuss their strategy on a file.  Very smart and practical – I was impressed.
  • No one told me a bad lawyer joke.

So, I’m going to count that as a day of blessings, and I am reminded how lucky am I that I get to do what I do for a living.  But I’m going to continue to hold out hope for IBKTL Day 2015.  That’s April 7, 2015 – mark your calendar now and plan to be kind to a lawyer, at least for one day next year!

Christine Thomlinson