Speech outline on Professionalism given to the Booher American Inn of Court

  1. The difficult path to professionalism.
  2. A PROGRAM YEARS IN THE MAKING, WHY THE LACK OF CIVILITY & PRFESSIONALISM?       AND WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?     (WHAT ARE THE ROOT CAUSES)
  3. I THINK THE ROOT CAUSES ARE
  4. INTELLECTUAL COMPROMISE – INSTEAD OF ITELLECTUAL DISCOURSE, WE FIND EXCUSES AND DELAY.
  5. WE HAVE ABANDONED OUR PROFESSIONAL PRIDE- WE NO LONGER DEMAND OF OURSELVES AND OTHERS THE HIGHEST GOALS AND IDEALS.
  6. OUR OWN DAILY PERSONAL DISTRESS – WE ALLOW OUR SURROUNDINGS AND LIFE TO BECOME UNPLEASANT. UNHAPPY PEOPLE ARE STRESSED PEOPLE.
  1. FAMILIAR EXAMPLES OF INCIVILTY:
    1. INTERRUPTING CONVERSATION
    2. NOT RETURNING CALLS OR EMAILS
    3. TAKING CREDIT FOR OTHERS EFFORTS
    4. NOT SAYING PLEASE
    5. USING DEMEANING OR CONDESCENDING TONES

(EXAMPLES FROM AUDIENCE)

  1. WHAT ARE SOME CAUSES FOR INCIVILITY:  (PER A STUDY)

(ASK AUDIENCE)

  1. STRESS
  2. LACK OF SELF RESTRAINT
  3. OVERWHELMING DEMANDS, HECTIC LIFESTYLE

WE SEE INCIVILITY IN OUR PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL LIFE DAILY.  WHY?

MIROSLAV VOLF – A RECOGNIZED THEOLOGIAN AND PUBLIC INTELLECTUAL – WRITES “

FORGIVENESS FLOUNDERS BECAUSE I EXCLUDE  THE ENEMY FROM THE COMMUNITY OF HUMANS EVEN AS I EXCLUDE MYSELF FROM THE COMMUNITY OF SINNERS”

ESSENTIALLY VOLF IS SAYING WE ALL HAVE A TENDENCY TO CREATE A FALSE MORAL HIGH GROUND WHEN WE COME TO VIEW OURSELVES AS THE PRIVILEDGED RIGHTEOUS, WHICH HAS THE IMPLICIT AFFECT OF MARGINALIZING & VILLIFYING THE OTHER.

I’M GOOD YOU’RE BAD

WE HAVE WITNESSED THIS FIRST HAND IN OUR RECENT GUBNATORIAL CAMPAIGN HERE IN FLORIDA, OUT OF THE 100’S OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS SPENT ON ADS, HOW MANY FOCUSED ON REAL, SUBSTANTIALLY IDENTIFIED POLICY PROPOSALS?

WHAT IF THE CONVERSATION CENTERED ON TRUTH & IDEALS – WHERE DIFFERING SIDES SOUGHT THE FIELD OF COMMONALITY?

WE HAVE JOBS AND LIFES DEDICATED TO CONFLICT AND WINNING, WE EXPECT 100%

IN OUR EXAMS

IN COMPETITIONS

OUR GAMES

EVERY MOTION CALENDAR (ADMIT IT)

YET LIFE IS RARELY 100%.

IS ANY DAY 100% PERFECT

ARE YOUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS PERFECT

JOB?

AND WE TAKE IT QUITE PERSONAL – AS A JUDGE I TRY TO RULE BASED ON FACTS AND LAW, NOT WHO THE PARTIES ARE (THAT’S FOR HAPPY HOUR) YET HOW OFTEN DO I SEE SOMEONE SLAM A BOOK SHUT, STORM OUT THE ROOM OR GRUFF AT THE COURT REPORTER “ORDER THAT TRANSCRIPT”

WE ARE DOING GREAT IF THINGS GO 75% OUR WAY – WE NEED TO REALIZE (AND ACCEPT) THAT “STUFF HAPPENS”  PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY REQUIRES US TO ACCEPT THIS FACT.

IF YOU THINK THIS IS NOT YOU, ASK YOURSELF, EVER YELL AT A HAMMER AFTER HITTING YOU THUMB??

I AM SUGGESTING A NEW WAY TO PRACTICE LAW, WHICH IS THE WAY IT WAS MEANT TO BE.

OUR PROFESSION IS A NOBLE ONE.

BECAUSE THE PROFESSION’S OVERRIDING GOAL IS TO MAKE THE PROMISE OF JUSTICE A REALITY.

IF LAWYERS ARE TRULY GUARDIANS OF THE LAW, THEN THEY MORE THAN OTHERS NEED TO EMBODY IN THEIR PRATICES AND LIVES, RESPECT FOR THE DIGNITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL.

LAWYERS NEED TO TREAT ONE ANOTHER WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT BECAUSE THE VERY PURPOSE OF LAW, AND THUS THE VERY REASON FOR THE LEGAL PROFESSIONS EXISTENCE, IS TO ATTAIN RESPECT AND PROTECTION FOR THE DIGNITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL.

ZEALOUS ADVOCAY IS SUPPOSED TO BE AN INTELLECTUAL PURSUIT, NOT A GAME.

SHOULD THE RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE BE RENAMED THE RULES OF DELAY AND NON-COMMUNICATION.

GEORGE WASHINGTON HAD A SET OF RULES OF CIVILITY & DECENT BEHAVIOR, HIS FINAL AND 110TH RULE SAID IT NICELY,

“LABOUR TO KEEP ALIVE IN YOUR BREAST THAT LITTLE SPARK OF CELESTIAL FIRE CALLED CONSCIENCE”

  1. SOLUTIONS FOR THE CLIENT –

MY CLIENTS WANTED A SOLUTION TO THEIR PROBLEM, BE IT BUSINESS OR PERSONAL.  THEY TRULY HAD NO INTEREST IN HOW WELL I FILED A MOTION OR MY SKILLS AT LEGAL TRICKS.  FINDING A SOLUTION MEANT ENGAGING THE OTHERSIDE, LISTENING TO THEIR POSTIONS AND FINDING COMMON GROUND.  COURT WAS FOR THE VAST GULF OF DISPUTES, AND IT WAS SELDOM PROFITABLE.

  1. IF STRESS AND ADVERSITY (WHICH TEND TO FEED OFF ONE ANOTHER)  ARE  PART OF THE CAUSES OF INCIVILITY, ARE THERE SOLUTIONS?
  2. HOW ABOUT DRUGS AND ALCOHOL?

WE KNOW THAT BOOZE HAS AN EFFECT, IT CAN ALTER YOUR MOOD.  MEDICAL SCIENCE NOW RECOGNIZES SOME BENEFITS OF DRINKING, SAY WINE.  HOWEVER, IN AMOUNTS FAR LOWER THAN EXPECTED. HARD LIQUIOR, LIKE SCOTCH – ONE TIME A WEEK.  WINE TWO TIMES.  SEEMS PRETTY LIMITED, SO IT’S NOT THE ANSWER.

HOW ABOUT ANTI-ANIXETY MEDICATIONS?

RECENT STUDY SHOWED THAT CERTAIN MEDICATIONS, SUCH AS VALIUM, TAKEN FOR 90 DAYS INCREASED RISK OF ALZHEIMERS BY 32%

MORE THAN 180 DAYS, EVEN SPREAD OUT OVER 5 YEARS, INCREASED THE RISK BY 84%.

I AM GOING TO GO OUT ON A LIMB AND SAY THESE ARE NOT THE SOLUTIONS.

THERE ARE SOME PROVEN METHODS TO REDUCE ANIEXITY:

WALKING 30 MINUTES 5 TIMES A WEEK REDUCES STRESS, WALK IN A GROUP, EVEN MORE.

MEDITATION AND DEEP BREATHING HAVE IMMEDIATE EFFECTS ON ANIEXITY LEVELS.

A STUDY BY RESEARCHERS AT CHIBA UNIVERSITY IN JAPAN FOUND THAT MEN WHO TOUCH PLANTS FOR TWO MINUTES FELT CALMER AND HAD REDUCED BLOOD FLOWS TO THE AREAS OF THE BRAIN THAT PRODUCE STRESS.

  1. WE KNOW THAT HAPPY PEOPLE TEND TO BE LESS STRESSED PEOPLE.  SO WHAT MAKES LAWYERS HAPPY?

(AUDIENCE)

PROF. LARRY KRIEGER OF FSU CONDUCTED A STUDY OF 6,200 DIVERSE LAWYERS IN 4 STATES:  RESULTS?  WAS IT PRESTIGE, MONEY, BIG HOUSE, HONORS, GRADES?

OVERWHELMIMGLY,   HAPPINESS AS A LAWYER IS MUCH LESS ABOUT GRADES, AFFLUENCE, AND PRESTIGE THAN ABOUT FINDING WORK THAT IS INTERESTING, ENGAGING, PERSONALLY MEANINGFUL AND IS FOCUSED ON PROVIDING NEEDED HELP TO OTHERS.

I KNOW SOME OF OUR STUDENTS AND YOUNGER LAWYERS OUT THERE ARE SAYING:  WE’VE ALL HEARD MONEY CAN’T BUY YOU HAPPINESS, BUT POVERTY ISN’T ALL THAT ITS CRAKED UP TO BE EITHER. TRUE ENOUGH, BUT THAT IS NOT THE POINT.

WE ALL HAVE TO MAKE A LIVING, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

HAPPINESS IS A CONSCIOUS EFFORT TO HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT, START EACH DAY IN THE RIGHT FRAME OF MIND.  HAPPINESS TAKES WORK. TRY AS YOU MIGHT, IT CONSISTENTLY FAILES TO APPEAR ON THE SELVES AT MACY’S.

GERARD VAN WARMERDAM SUGGESTS THAT THERE BASICALLY TWO WAYS TO APPROACH BEING HAPPY IN LIFE,  FIRST WAY TO BE HAPPY IS TO PRACTICE DOING ALL THINGS THAT BRING YOU HAPPINESS.  THE SECOND APPROACH IS TO FOCUS YOUR ATTENTION ON ELIMINATING THE ROOT CAUSE OF YOU UNHAPPINESS.

IN THE FIRST PATH, IF YOU HAVE THE ZEN LIKE CAPACITY TO COMPLETELY FOCUS YOUR ATTENTION ON ACTIONS AND THOUGHT THAT FILL YOU WITH LOVE, HAPPINESS AND FUN, BY ALL MEANS DO SO.

IF YOU’RE LIKE ME AND MOST OF US, WE HAVE TO DIRECTLY CHALLENGE THE CAUSES OF UNHAPPINESS. YOU MUST MAKE A CONCERTED EFFORT TO PURSUE WHAT YOU ENJOY SO THAT YOU CAN FACILITATE YOUR HAPPINESS. AT THE SAME TIME TAKE NOTICE OF WHEN YOU HAVE EMOTIONAL REACTIONS THAT TAKE AWAY FROM BEING HAPPY. USE THOSE OPPOURTUNITIES TO DIG INTO THE ROOT CAUSES OF THOSE EMOTIONS.

AUTHOR DAVID POLLAY IN HIS BOOK 3 PROMISES, OFFERS 65 STRATEGIES TO FIND CONTENTMENT DAILY, SUCH AS:

DAILY DECISIONS TO LEARN

HAVE NEW EXPERIENCES

PAY ATTENTION TO SOMEONE ELSE.

DR DAN BAKER, FORMER PROF. AT UNIVERISTY OF NEBRASKA COLLEGE OF MEDICINE & FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF LIFE ENRICHMENT AT THE WORLD RENOUN CANYON RANCH WRITES IN HIS BOOK ABOUT 9 THINGS HAPPY PEOPLE DON’T DO:

  1. HAPPY PEOPLE DON’T BLAME OTHER PEOPLE FOR THEIR PROBLEMS. THEY TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILTY WHEN THINGS GO WRONG – EVEN WHEN THOSE PROBLEMS TRULY ARE LARGELY SOMEONE ELSES RESPONSIBILTY.     IF WE TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR PROBLEMS, THEN WE TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR SOLVING THOSE PROBLEMS. WE ARE MORE LIKELY TO EFFECTIVELY MANAGE OUR LIVES AND HAPPINESS – AND SEE THAT WE HAVE THE POWER TO SET THINGS RIGHT.
  2. HAPPY  PEOPLE DON’T OVERREACT TO THE PRESENT MOMENT.  MANY UNHAPPY PEOPLE ARE PRONE TO THINKING, THIS IS HORRIBLE, OR MY LIFE IS RUINED, WHEN SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS TO THEM – EVEN IF IT’S REALLY JUST A RUN-OF-THE-MILL UNPLEASANT EVENT THAT MOSTLY WIL HAVE FADDED FROM THEIR CONSCIOUNESS IN A FEW MONTHS.   IF YOU CATCH YOURSELF FEARING THAT A RECENT NEGATIVE EVENT IS DEVASTATING OR PERMANENT, ASK YOURSELF, WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM THIS, AND HOW CAN I BECOME WISER AND/OR STRONGER FROM THIS.  THESE QUESTIONS ENCOURAGE THE MIND TO CONSIDER A TIME WHEN WE WILL HAVE MOVED PAST THE PROBLEM.
  3. HAPPY PEOPLE DON’T USE NEGATIVE LANGUAGE. THEY RARELY CHASTISE THEMSELVES OR INSULT OTHER PEOPLE, EITHER OUT LOUD OR IN THEIR INTERNAL SELF-TALK. WHEN YOU CATCH YOURSELF USING NEGATIVE LANGUAGE TOWARD YOURSELF OR OTHERS, MENTALLY REWRITE THE STORY YOU’RE TELLING. MAKE IT ABOUT HOW YOU HAVE EVOLVED PAST THIS PROBLEM OR CHALLENGE, LEARNED A VALUABLE LESSON OR OTHERWISE IMPROVED.
  4. HAPPY PEOPLE DON’T FEEL TRAPPED.   THEY FOCUS ON THE OPTIONS THAT REMAIN, EVEN WHEN OUTSIDE FORCES GREATLY RESTRICT THE PATHS OPEN TO THEM.  THAT KEEPS THEM FROM FEELING LIKE HELPLESS VICTIMS, A COMMON SOURCE OF UNHAPPINESS.  WHEN YOU FEEL TRAPPED BY CIRCUMSTANCES, ASK YOURSELF, HOW CAN I MANAGE MYSELF BETTER.
  5. HAPPY PEOPLE DON’T FOCUS ON A SINGLE PASSION OR RELATIONSHIP.  THEY USUALLY HAVE MULTIPLE HOBBIES, BELONG TO MULTIPLE CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS AND SOCIALIZE WITH A BROAD RANGE OF DIFFERENT FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES.  THIS DIVERSIFICATION OF INTERESTS REDUVES THE RISK THAT THEIR HAPPINESS WILL SUFFER A CATASTROPHIC LOSS, MUCH LIKE DIVERSIFYING AN INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO REDUCES THE RISK OF CATASTROPHIC FINANCIAL LOSSES. SHOULD SOMETHING GO WRONG WITH ONE OF THEIR INTEREST OR RELATIONSHIPS, THEY STILL HAVE PLEANTY OF SOURCES OF HAPPINESS TO FALL BACK ON.
  6. HAPPY PEOPLE DON’T DWELL ON PAST FAILURES.    UNHAPPY PEOPLE TEND TO BE VERY FAILURE CONSCIOUS – THEY KICK THEMSELVES ENDLESSLY FOR OLD MISTAKES.  HAPPY PEOPLE TEND NOT TO DO THIS.  THEY TOO, REMEMBER THEIR MISSTEPS- THEY JUST TEND TO REMEMBER THEM AS TIMES WHEN THEY LEARNED IMPORTANT LESSONS OR AS SMALL STEPS ON THE LARGER JOURNET OF LIFE, NOT AS DISASTERS TO LAMENT.    WHEN AN OLD FAILURE COMES TO MIND, THINK ABOUT HOW YOU REBOUNDED FROM IT, WHAT YOU LEARNED FROM IT OR WHAT YOU COULD LEARN FROM IT.
  7. Happy people don’t spend more time THAN NECESSARY around UNHAPPY PEOPLE.  NAYSAYERS, CAN’T DO TYPES PEOPLE CAN MAKE THE PEOPLE ARROUND THEM LESS HAPPY, TOO.  AVOID UNHAPPY PEOPLE. WHEN YOU MUST SPEND TIME AMONG THEM, TREAT IT AS A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY. TRY TO DISCOVER WHAT MAKES THEM UNHAPPY, SEE IF YOU CAN IDENTIFY ANY SIMILAR TENDENCIES IN YOURSELF.
  1. HAPPY PEOPLE DON’T GOSSIP.  IF THEY ARE TOLD SOMETHING IN CONFIDENCE, THEY KEEP IT SECRET. IF YOU ARE GOSSIPING ABOUT SOMEONE BECAUSE YOU ARE UPSET WITH THAT PERSON, CONSIDER WHETHER DISCUSSING THE UNDERLYING ISSUES DIRECTLY WITH THIS INDIVIDUAL WOULD LEAD TO A MORE CONSTRUCTIVE RESULT.
  1. HAPPY PEOPLE DON’T PROCRASTINATE.  THEY USUALLY GET UNPLEASANT TASKS OVER WITH SO THAT THEY CAN MOVE ON TO HAPPIER THINGS. THEY UNDERSTAND THAT PUTTING OFF AN UNPLEASANT TASK DOSEN’T MAKE IT GO AWAY, IT JUST LEAVES IT HANGING OVER THEIR HEADS LONGER THAN NECESSARY.   TO SPUR THE PROCESS, SET YOUR OWN DEADLINES WELL IN ADVANCE OF AN UNPLEASANT TASKS ACTUAL DEADLINE. BREAK BIG TASKS DOWN INTO MORE MANAGEABLE SEGMENTS.

BY ENGAGING IN INTELLECTUAL DISCOURSE, BY SEEKING SOLUTIONS TO MUTUAL PROBLEMS.

BY DEMANDING THE HIGHEST PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT IN ALL ASPECTS OF OUR LIVES FROM OURSELVES AND OTHERS,

BY REDUCING OUR OWN PERSONAL STRESSORS, AND REMEMBERING THAT LIFE SHOULD BE HAPPY,

WE CAN DO OUR PART TO MAKING THE WORLD A MORE CIVIL PLACE.

Moot Court Helps Students Develop Advocacy Skills

Since his election in 2002, Judge John Bowman has adjudicated in the Juvenile Dependency Division of Broward County and helped secure permanent homes for hundreds of children. Judge John Bowman prepared for his career by earning a JD from the St. Thomas University School of Law, where he earned a position on the Moot Court Team.

An important program in many law schools, moot court is a simulated court experience that allows law students to engage in oral arguments before a panel of judges in an appellate court setting. Moot court give students an opportunity to practice and develop written and oral advocacy skills, while also networking with local legal professionals. Many moot court programs involve national and international competitions, travel, and prizes.

In contrast to mock trial programs, moot court does not involve simulated witnesses, evidence exhibits, or a citizen jury. The oral arguments presented to judges in moot court are part of an appeal of a case that has already been decided by a district court. In moot court, students present legal arguments that support or refute the district court’s decision.

The American Inns of Court Promotes Good Practice

Judge John Bowman was elected to the Florida Circuit Court in 2002. Beyond the courtroom, Judge John Bowman is the president for 2014-2015 for the Stephen R. Booher chapter of the American Inns of Court (AIC).

AIC was established in 1980; the organization has since grown to nearly 400 chapters throughout the United States. Currently, the AIC has some 30,000 active members, consisting of judges, lawyers, teachers, and students, and about 100,000 alumni members. The AIC’s mission is to foster adherence to high standards of ethics, professionalism, and civility.

A vital part of the AIC is its mentoring program. Longtime members guide and support newer members; the process not only enables the acquisition of important professional skills but also builds a framework for collegial relationships.

To aid these efforts, the AIC uses a model mentoring program developed by the University of South Carolina School of Law. The model emphasizes setting up a simply administered structure that enables chapters to implement efficient methods of communication and scheduling.

Services for Members of the American Inns of Court

A circuit judge in the State of Florida, Judge John Bowman serves on a number of community partnerships, advisory boards, and professional associations. In 2013, Judge John Bowman earned distinction as president-elect of the American Inns of Court for the 2013-2014 program year.

Dedicated to professional development and the advancement of standards in the legal profession, the American Inns of Court provides a variety of services to its members. Local programs are among the group’s flagship offerings. Each program invites members to come together and share their professional expertise, and the Inns publish submitted program reports as part of the Program Library.

The Inns of Court also sponsor scholarships to help members further their experience and skills. One such scholarship, the Temple Bar Program, allows an American attorney to experience the British Inns of Court and trial proceedings in the United Kingdom. Pegasus Trust Scholarships offer a similar experience in that they facilitate British-American exchange programs for lawyers who have practiced for five years or fewer. The American Inns have also established a visitation program with the London Inns of Court, so that more members can enjoy an introduction to the British legal system.

13 Years of National Adoption Day

Judge John Bowman, a lifelong resident of Florida, led the initiative to resolve juvenile lockout situations that forced children guilty of misdemeanor offenses to be held in custody for more than 21 days. As part of additional efforts to help the state’s youth, Judge John Bowman is involved with National Adoption Day.

In the United States, National Adoption Day is held on the Saturday preceding Thanksgiving every November. The purpose of the event, comprised of various activities throughout the year, is to raise awareness for the more than 100,000 children in foster care who need and deserve a family and home. National Adoption Day 2012 marked the event’s thirteenth anniversary and saw more than 4,500 children moved into permanents homes in 400 cities. To date, National Adoption Day has assisted nearly 44,500 children find homes. Throughout the year, the National Adoption Day organization continues to celebrate adoptions and adoptive families while enhancing communications between adoption agencies all over America.

National Adoption Day Helps Thousands of Children Each Year

Judge John Bowman is a civil court trial judge based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who has made lasting impacts in his jurisdiction. Since he was elected to the bench in 2002, Judge John Bowman has improved the efficiency of the judicial process and drastically increased the adoption rate in his district through vigorous oversight and participation in large-scale public programs, such as National Adoption Day.

Founded in 2000, National Adoption Day is an annual campaign that seeks to raise the public’s awareness of the tens of thousands of children awaiting adoption in the United States. Initially, National Adoption Day began as a coalition between law firms, foster care agencies, child advocates, and courts in nine jurisdictions nationwide. It has grown significantly each year to include events in all 50 states as well as Puerto Rico and Guam.

Taking place every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the annual event helps place thousands of children in permanent homes each year. In 2012, more than 4,500 children found homes on National Adoption Day, adding to the nearly 45,000 who have been adopted with the help program since it was founded 13 years ago. This year, another 4,500 children are expected to be placed with permanent families during the event, which is planned for November 23, 2013.

National Adoption Day

A circuit court judge with the State of Florida, Judge John Bowman presides over the civil trial court system of Fort Lauderdale. Active in efforts to improve the lives of children, Judge John Bowman supports National Adoption Day.

For nearly 15 years, National Adoption Day has assisted children who are in foster care throughout America. A one-day event, it raises awareness for the more than 100,000 youths looking for permanent homes with the assistance of lawmakers, policymakers, and other entities. Since its creation, the event has found forever families for over 44,000 children.

Taking place the Saturday before Thanksgiving, National Adoption Day started in 2000 when the National Adoption Day Coalition partnered with groups such as law firms, foster care agencies, and courts to finalize adoption paperwork in nine districts across America. In just over a decade, all 50 states – plus three U.S. territories – were holding National Adoption Day programs. Its 2013 installment will take place on November 23. For more information, visit www.nationaladoptionday.org.