I am reminded daily of the importance of positive role models in my life. Growing up, I was not an angel. I had a penchant for mischief, and enjoyed pushing buttons and boundaries. Fortunately, I had many positive role models that I respected, and did not want to disappoint. Whether consciously or unconsciously, I followed their example just enough to keep my juvenile self on the right path towards becoming a productive member of society.
Since beginning my career in law, I have continued to seek out positive role models within our profession. I aim to surround myself with attorneys that are respected personally and professionally with the hope their good example will be a guiding force in my life.
I would suggest that all new attorneys make it a goal to also surround themselves with positive attorney-role-models. The first few years of practice are formative years, and we need good role models to foster good habits for the years to come. If you find yourself lacking in positive role models, get involved with the Bar. There is no shortage of respectable attorneys within the MCB whom you should endeavor to emulate.
We typically do not think of our peers as role models. Generally, the term “role model” brings to mind someone who is relatively older or more experienced. While this can certainly be the case, it is also common to find good examples of behavior worth following in individuals of the same age or level of experience. This was certainly the case for me in high school. While I had little interest in anything other than having fun, I was surrounded by friends who were focused on their futures and academic success. Perhaps by default, I followed their good example just enough to keep me on the right path.
Throughout my involvement with the YLD I have encountered many peers whom I strive to emulate for their leadership, professionalism, and commitment to service. Like most positive role models, these individuals do not seek recognition; however, they do deserve it. Their recognition helps to expose them as positive role models for the rest of us to follow. Their stories help to remind us of what we should all strive for, and renew our focus to do so.
If you know a young/new attorney whom you consider to be a positive role model, please be sure to nominate him or her for the YLD “Young Lawyer of the Year” Award. You can submit your nominations via YLDAward@meckbar.org. Please take this opportunity to recognize your peers so that we may all be inspired their example.
*The original version of this article was published in the April 2017 Edition of the Mecklenburg County Bar Newsletter.
Jeremy Sugg is a uniquely talented lawyer dedicated to solving problems in the most efficient and comprehensive manner, whether at the deal table or in the courtroom, for clients ranging from individuals to national corporations.