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MCBA President’s Message: A Return to Leading From the Front

Langston McFadden - July 13, 2022

That is what my hope for this year will bring. When I accepted the incredible responsibility of becoming president of the Monroe County Bar Association, I did so with the knowledge and humility to know that I am truly not worthy. I am far less than perfect. I am flawed and I can be selfish and callous. But the one thing that made me ultimately agree to accept such an awesome responsibility was something that my grandmother once told me. “If you know you are flawed and less than perfect, you always have the ability to change what you are.”

I have not always embraced the mantle of being a leader. I have not always accepted the responsibility that comes from, and with, being a leader. It has been all too easy, at times, to say “let someone else figure it out.” “Let someone else deal with that problem.” Over time I have learned that the person in the best position to address my problems was me. And, at this moment in time, I see the best person to address the issues and problems facing society today — is us!

This country was founded, grown, and has thrived through the strength, vision, and efforts of leaders from all walks of life. Some highly educated. Some not so much. Some from the upper class and some from the lower. Some from the professional and political communities and some from the farming, blacksmithing and merchant communities. The one thing they all had in common was that they all embraced their role as leaders. Leaders of hope. Leaders of change. Leaders with the vision to continue to help this country take one stride at a time toward fulfilling its promise to become a more perfect union.

That, my friends, is what this year will be for the Monroe County Bar Association and its members. Every great document that forms the ideas, hopes and aspirations of this great nation of ours was, in some form or fashion, created by, improved upon, or made better by lawyers. From the inception of this country lawyers have been at the forefront of every major development, proclamation or historical ruling that has been the foundation of America. They were leaders. They were visionaries. They did it with pride and from the front of the line during the biggest fights that shaped this nation.

We now face tough times in our country. Differing points of views, beliefs and political allegiances have driven a wedge between neighbors. Between friends. Even between families. Extreme groups on both sides of the political aisle have made us believe that to disagree with another’s point of view, makes you evil or heartless or stupid. As a society we have allowed these groups to lead the discussion on the issues that are important to all of us. We have allowed these groups to decide not only the issues of the day but in what manner those issues will be discussed. We as lawyers have sat back silently while injustices have permeated our society. Socio-economic, educational, religious, and even racial injustices. Not all of us, but far too many of us have sat by quietly while witnessing society tear itself apart on key legal and social issues that affect each and every one of us, and each and every one of our friends and our families. I believe the time of sitting by quietly and failing to use our knowledge, our wisdom, and our voices as lawyers to help make society better needs to end.

This year let’s become leaders again. Let’s lead from the front of the line and not from the back. Let’s be so bold as to truly believe that collectively we can make a difference. Together we can make things better.

Langston McFadden is president of the Monroe County Bar Association and a member with the Law Offices of Pullano & Farrow. Read the original article on The Daily Record here.