Thanks to the support of Middle Georgia Justice and the mentorship of Bill and Brian Adams, my law firm is official. We are still ironing out a few details but I have a law firm. Middle Georgia Justice will be giving me a lot of help and guidance for the next 18 months. In exchange, I’m going to help them in their mission of “plugging the justice gap,” by doing pro bono and “low-bono” (discounted but not entirely free) work, and by developing a business model for my firm that helps make the justice system more accessible. Divis Law and Middle Georgia Justice are a great fit because, well, I believe in doing those things anyway. Thanks to all the people who worked hard and gave generously to make this program possible. Thanks also to Georgia Legal Services. I’m very, very excited to be working alongside y’all.
My favorite military commander told me, as he told all of his junior officers, that “If you walk by something that you believe isn’t right, and you don’t stop to fix it, you set a new, lower standard.” His words held true most of the time; but the problem was that sometimes, the wrong thing that you come upon is such a hot mess that you don’t know where to start. I learned that you pick something. You don’t get too wrapped up in the big picture if the big picture is a hot mess. You need to focus only 10% of your energy on that. You never want to totally lose sight of it; but the hot mess really demands that you pick something, and you fix it; and then you pick another thing; and then another thing. The mess is just too much to take as whole. And I noted, as a young lieutenant trying to fix the hot mess of a platoon that I inherited, that when I did that, I looked around and I wasn’t by myself – someone came along and picked a thing, and started helping to fix it. I didn’t have to ask. It was the only thing that brought people together and made for sustainable improvement: shared labor; shared sweat; sometimes, shared suffering. It turned out that the simple act of looking at the hot mess and being bold enough to roll up sleeves and get filthy working on it was sometimes what it took to embolden others, and to do that in a way that nothing else could.
I don’t know if I’d have really been able to tackle the project of setting up this firm by myself. I do think it would have been much easier to be disheartened along the way if I hadn’t seen the folks at Middle Georgia Justice working on the hot mess that is access to justice – moving gigantic copy machines in the Georgia summer; making phone calls; working to tackle one project, then another, then another. It’s not walking by the problem; it’s not setting a new, low standard. It’s doing what we can together to plug the justice gap. I’m proud to be a part of it and I’m glad I’m here.