Hon. Robert J. Jonker, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, was the keynote speaker during WMU-Cooley Law School’s Professionalism in Action program. The program, which is offered in conjunction with the State Bar of Michigan (SBM, informs new law students about the importance of professionalism in the legal profession.
Attorney Scott Brinkmeyer, former president of the State Bar of Michigan, also spoke to students about the importance of properly servicing clients.
Jonker urged the new law students to be introspective, to always check their ego at the door and follow the path that holds true in their heart. He said there is as much nobility and success in going home and serving neighbors from a Main Street practice as there is in being in “Big Law” with all of its accoutrements.
“The core of what it means to be a lawyer is bringing people in conflict to common ground,” said Jonker. “Clients are poorly served when attorneys treat each other uncivilly, as doing so alienates the one person who can help you reach resolution for your client – your opposing counsel. Law succeeds only by having positive working relationships with all involved – opposing counsel, judges, clients and third parties.”
Brinkmeyer, who spoke to the students as a representative of the SBM, reminded students that law is a service profession. “You hear so many attorneys saying this is ‘my’ case – WRONG! It is your client’s case,” said Brinkmeyer.