Jim Vickaryous

A word of encouragement can go a long way. Some years ago on a Friday afternoon, my paralegal handed me a very official and fancy envelope to me saying, “You’d better open this one yourself.” Embossed on the envelope was the raised seal of the Florida Supreme Court. I am not an appellate lawyer, and not one of the august attorneys that regularly practice before the Florida Supreme Court. I was somewhat worried as I opened the envelope. It was a one paragraph letter from then Justice R. Fred Lewis. He gave a compliment on a Florida Bar News picture of a group of lawyers with whom I had run a 5k charity. It ended with a heartfelt word of encouragement. It had been a rough week, and it was just what I needed. It meant a lot to me that day and still does. Getting “atta-boys” should not be a person’s life purpose. However, a word of encouragement is uplifting. It is always interesting to me how words of encouragement often come when you need them most.

Lawyers are leaders, even if we don’t often think of ourselves in that way. We are looked to by family, friends, clients, and the court system to be leaders. In the demanding and often challenging world of law, the role of a lawyer extends far beyond mere legal expertise. Beyond the courtroom battles and complex legal intricacies, lies a fundamental aspect that can profoundly impact professional relationships and the legal community as a whole: The power of encouragement. Just as we appreciate encouragement, as leaders we must recognize the power of encouraging others. There are so many we come across each and every day that need just a little encouragement.  It can make all the difference in the world to the person that you encourage.

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