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The Florida Bar Journal
January, 2017 Volume 91, No. 1
Challenges and Opportunities

by William J. Schifino, Jr.

Page 4

Over the years, I have had the privilege of serving on the board of directors of various for-profit corporations. Some small, some large. Regardless of size, what each had in common, no matter how successful, was that they were always in perpetual motion to do, whatever it is they did, better. Looking for new ways to deliver whatever it was they delivered, whether it be health care-related, physical fitness, or electronic.

One such board was for a company that owned 60-plus health club facilities around the country. They were some of the brightest men and women I have ever had the occasion to work with. Despite how successful they were, this was always a constant discussion: How can we do it better? How best to utilize current technology to better deliver our services? How to be more efficient? In the end, how best to serve our clients?

This mentality and approach should apply to our profession. This is not to suggest that how we have done things in the past has been wrong. It is simply the acknowledgment that, as with every profession or business, evolution is at work. Adaptation is critical.

Over the past few years, it has been clear to see that no matter your perspective, we all recognize that our profession certainly faces many challenges. So does all of society. But we should not run from these challenges; we cannot. We must instead meet them head-on.

The reality is that this continues to be an exciting time to be a lawyer. We have the opportunity to shape the future of the profession. It is a responsibility we must embrace. We all recognize that it is a privilege to practice law. With that privilege comes responsibility. I believe that one of our responsibilities is to always challenge ourselves to improve the way we deliver legal services to the citizens of our state. The fact that we, as a profession, face challenges should be of no surprise. We always have, and we always likely will.

As I travel this state, I see opportunities. I see lawyers and members of our bench who are passionate about our profession. I see those who are willing to lead and embrace change. I see an opportunity for all of us to continue to work together, utilizing all of our available resources and our skills to collaborate to find innovative solutions.

As we travel this road together, we should never fear new ideas. We should never fear healthy, robust debate and dialogue. Instead, we should navigate, engage, adapt, and lead those ideas, those challenges, and those opportunities. For they are our challenges. Our opportunities.

As the great Winston Churchill said, “There is nothing wrong with change if it is in the right direction. To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often.”

While we shouldn’t expect perfection as we navigate through these challenging times, with change all around us, we will navigate together “in the right direction.”

Never sacrificing on our commitment to professionalism.

Never wavering on our commitment to serve the citizens of our state.

Never lowering the standards of what it takes to become a Florida lawyer.

Never compromising the ethical standards established for the privilege of practicing law in this state. One question we must ask as we navigate through these challenging times is how we can embrace technology and utilize it as a tool to assist us in our practice and to help us find new and improved ways to serve our clients, the citizens of our state.

We lawyers have the responsibility to lead the noblest of professions. For we are the guardians of justice and the rule of law.

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[Revised: 06-26-2017]