From the April2010 edition of The Timesheet from The Billable Hour:
The NBKTL Story
Many inspiring, breakthrough ideas have exciting and illustrious beginnings. The apple falling on Newton’s head. Hewlett and Packard tinkering in the garage. Reese having his chocolate bar “mishap” with the peanut butter.
National Be Kind to Lawyers Day shares this great tradition. Steve Hughes, a mild-mannered non-lawyer from St. Louis had been working with attorneys for several years in the presentation skills arena. He liked his job and the clients who hired him.
However, whenever Steve mentioned to friends and neighbors that he worked with lawyers he was met with crinkled-up faces, snide remarks and sarcastic sighs. They would say things like, “Lawyers? I bet that’s a treat.” Or, “Lawyers? You poor thing.” (Can’t you just feel the animosity?) Suddenly he found himself playing defense counsel for an entire profession.
Then one day as Steve was putting away the decorations from National Bubble Wrap Day (late January) his thoughts drifted to National Ice Cream Day (late July) and then it struck him. Why not a special day for lawyers? Lawyers are just as good as bubble wrap and ice cream; in fact, they’re better. Thus, the idea for National Be Kind to Lawyers Day was hatched.
After extensive planning, detailed research and countless reviews by a team of legal experts, National Be Kind to Lawyers Day was established as an annual holiday celebrated on the second Tuesday in April. This date was chosen because it is strategically sandwiched between April Fool’s Day and Tax Day April 15th.
So now lawyers of every stripe can be honored and treated like regular people for at least one 24-hour period every April.
How to Participate
The best part of National Be Kind to Lawyers Day is that you’re the judge of exactly how much you participate. Here is a brief list of idea starters to get your legal kindness flowing.
- Take your favorite lawyer out to breakfast or lunch (make sure it’s not billable!)
- Send your lawyer a “just because” greeting card or a bouquet of flowers
- Switch your ring tone to the “dah-dah” sound from NBC’s “Law & Order”
- Abstain from telling lawyer jokes for 24 hours
- If you can’t abstain, tell your funniest lawyer joke but switch out the lawyer with your profession (we bet it’s still funny)
- If you accidentally say something wrong or inappropriate on this day, just follow it up with the words, “Strike that from the record.” Then continue talking as if nothing happened.
- Salute the flag as you walk or drive by your local courthouse
- Watch your favorite legal drama and pretend you’re the one delivering the powerful closing argument. Some suggested films: “The Verdict,” “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “A Few Good Men” and “And Justice For All”
- Do some simple repairs around the house with a gavel instead of your trusty hammer.
- Try to slip words like “I object!” or “You’re out of order!” into your everyday conversations
- Try to write up your own Articles of Organization for an LLC or draft your own will. See, it’s harder than it looks.
- Take notes at a meeting on a legal pad. Don’t you just feel smarter looking at the glorious yellow hue of that 8-1/2″ x 14″ pad?
Go ahead, be creative. What are some ways you can be kind to lawyers today? Be sure to let us know so that we can add your ideas to our list.