The Atlanta Lawyer May 2017 - Page 7

The other problem was Lane 6, the outside lane. This lane was exposed to the winds and had rough water for most of the course. The Americans were stuck there even though they had the fastest qualifying time. The Germans–somehow–were Lane 1 where there was no wind and smooth water, and the Italians were in Lane 2. At the start, the Americans fell immediately behind. At the half way 1000-meter mark, they were in last place. Don Hume’s eyes were closed, mouth hanging open; he could not lead the boat. The coxswain–Bobby Mock, who would later graduate from Harvard Law School and one day argue before the U.S. Supreme Court–was pan- icked. With 800 meters to go, he was about to do something dras- tic–turn the stroke duties over to the 7-seat oarsman. He called the stroke rate up again and somehow Don Hume came to–he opened his eyes and locked in. And the boat started to fly. With 300 meters to go, they were in third place behind the Ger- mans and the Italians. There were 75,000 fans in the grandstands, shouting “Deutsch-land” over and over. Adolf Hitler, Herman Goering, Joseph Goebbels, and other top Nazi leaders were there. With 100 meters to go, they took the stroke rate over 40, possibly even hitting 45. At the finish, the Americans won gold by .6 sec- onds. Odd as it may seem, this story helps shape my view about those who are members of the Atlanta Bar Asso- ciation. It does not matter whether you are a prosecu- tor or a criminal defense attorney, a Supreme Court justice or a trial court judge, whether you work for a law firm, a non-profit, a corporation in-house, or for the government. My view is we are all in the same boat. Our boat is the legal profession. These days it is easy to take your eyes off this–easy to forget the profession part. There are forces working against us and what it means to be part of a profession like ours and to take care of it. The Atlanta Bar Association has many concerns, many different forms of outreach–to its members and to those beyond our membership who need assistance. One of the Atlanta Bar’s core concerns, we can all agree, is the well-being of the profession. Another core concern is the rule of law. There is a strong cor- relation between the two. Attorneys committed to the profession are attorneys better equipped to stand up for the rule of law, which is our country’s greatest and most important asset. No question, we are a group with diverse viewpoints; and it is true, our membership is not easily categorized. Neverthe- less, we ALL value associating with each other, knowing each other, respecting each other, listening to each other. That is a real part of the Atlanta Bar. These qualities are in short supply in lots of other places. But not here; not among the members of the Atlanta Bar Association. That is what I have learned. I am thankful for our associa- tion–for what it does and what it stands for. Serving this past year as your president has been a high-water mark in my professional career. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity. It is something I will always remember. Thank you so much. James D. Blitch IV President, Atlanta Bar Association 2016-2017 The Official News Publication of the Atlanta Bar Association THE ATLANTA LAWYER 7