Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

President's Page: A Welcome Note to New Lawyers

October 2022 Bar Bulletin

As school starts up again, I approach the fall season with gratitude. Gratitude that my children’s schools have started in-person classes again, returning normalcy to our lives. I was driving behind a school bus the other day, on a long and winding road. The bus stopped several times with about half a dozen cars behind it. I remember a time when I would have been annoyed by this. But in this post-pandemic era, I was filled with gratitude to see not only buses on the roads again, but that there were drivers to operate those buses, and smiling children and parents kissing and hugging goodbye. I guess it is true that until you lose something, you can’t really learn to appreciate it.

I also feel grateful that we finally held an in-person event where I could meet many of the past KCBA presidents. After two years of remote gatherings, we were finally able to meet face to face again. A huge thanks to past President Scott Smith for hosting us and to the KCBA team for organizing a beautiful event.

I love historic knowledge. What I came to recognize during that meeting is how deeply our past presidents care about the well-being of this organization. They shared many ideas about and insight into our roles as lawyers in our community. I hope I can take some of these nuggets of wisdom to our new membership and pro bono committee. So, stay tuned for more on this soon. I take this moment to say thank you to every one of our past presidents for their leadership and love of KCBA.

Fall also brings another joyous occasion. After two years of remote swearing-in ceremonies, the King County Courthouse will welcome over fifty new lawyers to be sworn into the bar on October 4. I am sure it will be an occasion filled with energy and warmth. I look forward to it!

I take this moment to extend my hearty congratulations to all those who will be admitted to the bar on that day. Congratulations also to their families and support networks. It takes a village to reach this milestone, and I hope everyone involved in the process will have an opportunity to celebrate.

It does remind me of my early days as a young lawyer. I was so desperate to have it all — and have it all now. But the practice of law is a journey that we all must go through. There’s no magic wand. This is an exciting time and so ensure that journey is fulfilling.

For our future lawyers, welcome. If I may provide some tips based on what I learned from my own journey, they would be:

1. Do your very best with every case as if it were your final examination and leave no stone unturned in your effort to do the best job for your client.

2. Empathy will go a long way in helping your client.

3. Regardless of the kind of law you practice, or where you practice, find time for pro bono work. Pro bono experiences are rewarding, and the skills you learn will be invaluable and transferable. In the process, you will meet mentors and colleagues who will become lifelong friends. KCBA has many interesting and impactful programs. I hope you will check them out.

4. Stress is part and parcel of this job. Find your stress-management tools now, don’t wait until you’re burnt out.

5. Do the work with love in your heart — love for the law and love for your client.

6. Join KCBA. The organization strives to enhance lawyers’ skills by creating opportunities for CLEs, pro bono and policy work, and collaborating with colleagues for inspiration, mentorship, and friendship. KCBA is not just a bar association; it is a lifelong community of people who care about justice, being better professionals, and serving the community. I had to seek out each of these individually in my early days, but King County lawyers are lucky to have a one-stop shop in KCBA.

7. And finally, a bonus item to share — since I can on this page — read my book, Legal Heroes.1 You will find endless inspiration from lawyers from different practice areas and backgrounds — BigLaw, small law, solo, retired, non-profit, non-practicing, and more. You will have insights from different perspectives about why lawyers are important during pivotal moments in society. And please do let me know what you think if you do read it!

I end with a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II who passed away as I was writing this piece. As a British-Bengali-American, I grew up with the Queen being a constant in this world and our lives. Her death brought back memories of my meeting her during law school in London. It was such an honor. I hope to write about it another time. Her example of grace, service, and leadership will forever be an inspiration to me and many others. May she rest in peace. 


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