Legal professionals can have many titles – barristers, barristers, solicitors, and in some parts of the world barristers or barristers.
“What distinguishes you among your professional colleagues is that you are first, before any designation related to your legal training, children of the covenant and disciples of Jesus Christ”, declared the general president of Relief Society, Camille N. Johnson, to J members of Brigham Young University. Bar Reuben Clark.
Addressing members of the bar and their spouses and friends gathered in the Relief Society building in Temple Square on Tuesday, October 18, President Johnson said, “The way we do our work must be different from the world at because of who we are. are and who we have covenanted to be.
Prior to serving as Primary general president and now Relief Society general president, President Johnson was president of the law firm Snow Christensen & Martineau in Salt Lake City. She practiced law for nearly 30 years, primarily as a litigator.
Perhaps one of the most enjoyable titles legal professionals can have is that of lawyer, President Johnson said. “We are defenders. … We have the opportunity to advocate for truth and justice.
Defender is a name given to the Savior and the responsibility of it. The Savior said, “Lift up your hearts and rejoice, for I am in your midst and am your advocate with the Father” (Doctrine and Covenants 29:5).
How do legal professionals discharge their responsibilities as lawyers? “As in all things, we try to be like Jesus,” President Johnson said. This is a truth taught to Primary children through song.”I try to be like Jesus.”
President Johnson highlighted two refrains from this Primary song that can help legal professionals be better lawyers.
“Love one another as Jesus loves you”
Jesus loves each individual as a child of God. Primary children also sing this truth by singing: “I am a child of God.”
President Johnson quoted President Russell M. Nelson words to young adults earlier this year: “I fear you have heard this truth so often that it sounds more like a slogan than divine truth. And yet, how you think about who you really are affects nearly every decision you make.”
President Johnson asked, “Do you remember who you are? Is it imprinted in your heart?
She said those who truly believe they are children of God are better able to resist temptation, have a better ability to overcome challenges, are invested in a relationship with the Savior, and set eternal priorities.
“It’s important to note that for your work as advocates, we treat others differently when we recognize who we are and who they are,” she said.
President Johnson explained that as a litigator, she tries to find something in common with opposing attorneys, even disagreeable ones. “In my heart, I knew we were all children of a loving Heavenly Father, and I knew their clients were too.
She said this perspective helped her overcome the natural challenges of practicing law, where conflict or the potential for conflict was the reason for her work.
“As defenders of Christ, we love each other as Jesus loves us. We love one another and treat them as children of God, fellow travelers on the journey back to our Heavenly Father.
“Be gentle and loving in action and thought”
One attribute of Jesus Christ that all should seek to emulate in their advocacy is meekness, President Johnson said.
The Savior, a perfect example of meekness, said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles defined sweetness as “strong, not weak; active, not passive; brave, not shy; sober, not excessive; modest, not self-aggrandizing; and graceful, not impetuous. A gentle person is not easily provoked, pretentious, or bossy and easily recognizes the accomplishments of others.
Elder Bednar also taught, “Meekness is what we become as Master’s disciples and not just something we do.
As covenant children, disciples of Jesus Christ, and advocates for Him, “we seek to become like Him,” President Johnson said. “We came back to where we started: ‘I’m trying to be like Jesus. I am his ways.’
“It is my prayer for all of us that as we work, serve, and plead, we will do so with the influence of the Spirit and in the way our Savior would have us do: ‘Strong, not weak; active, not passive; brave, not shy; sober, not excessive; modest, not self-aggrandizing; and graceful, not impetuous.
At the end of her address, President Johnson answered a question about finding work/life balance. During her working life, she and her husband, Douglas R. Johnson, had three sons.
“I don’t think I did it perfectly,” she said, but “I think work-life balance was best achieved for me by always making sure my priorities were in order.” My priorities were my family first – my love for my Heavenly Father, my love for my family.
Megan White, a member of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society who works at the Kunzler Bean & Adamson law firm in Salt Lake City, said she was grateful for the opportunity to take an hour out of her work day. to feel the Spirit with friends and colleagues.
“It was a great perspective to encourage us to think of everyone we interact with, even opposing attorneys, as children of God,” she said. White said she also appreciated President Johnson’s comments on work/life balance and prioritizing family.