What goes around comes around

21 Nov

I just came from my current boss’s office, where I spied on her desk an updated version of a book that I’d given to my former boss w-a-y back in 2006. In fact, he and I used that book to write an acceptance speech for an award that we (my prior law firm) received from my current employer in early 2009. Holy cow. Talk about your worlds colliding! After I returned my eyeballs to their sockets, stopped my head from spinning, and collected my thoughts, I tapped the book and said:

Um. You know this is the book that inspired Q’s speech, right?

And she said: Yup. After all these years, you know I’ve never forgotten his words. They were so “right on” and inspirational. So when I saw this updated version of the book I just knew that I had to have it to see where it might lead me.

This stopped me in my tracks. Who remembers an award acceptance speech from a 1,800-person totally chaotic, loud, over-long dinner that took place nearly 5 years ago? I wrote the damn speech and I don’t remember it for goodness sakes! I rushed back to my office to dig into my email archives to see if I could find it. Yay for having a history of being a compulsive pack rat and hoarder of email! It took less than 40 seconds to find the draft and once I read it, I knew I had to share it with you all (easiest time-crunched blog writing trick ever — just re-purpose something!).

Here it is:

I’m honored to accept this award, which represents the heart and soul of Manatt.

Several years ago, I was tag-teamed by our Firm’s indomitable Executive Director, Edith Gould, and our indefatigable Pro Bono Director, Cristin Zeisler. These two very different people had independently become impassioned about a leadership and management book, and they insisted that I read it.

The author’s central premise was that effective leaders are those who can mobilize others to take a “Radical Leap (L.E.A.P.)” by:

• cultivating Love

• generating Energy

• inspiring Audacity and

• providing Proof

At the time, I thought this was more than a little “over the top” in terms of law firm management theories. But as I stand here tonight, reflecting on the truly radical leap we took with Bet Tzedek in launching and supporting the Holocaust Survivors Justice Network, which has now enabled 5,000 survivors in 23 states and Canada to apply for long-overdue reparations from Germany, I get it.

Being involved with the Justice Network is, foremost, an act of LOVE.

Meeting with survivors to create bullet point summaries of the unfathomable sufferings they endured is intensely personal –and, like love– requires trust and commitment.

One-by-one, as we connect with this last generation of survivors and allow them to tell their stories, we plant seeds of hope, and we grow a profound network that is generating ENERGY all across America.

Having recently visited our NY office, I can report that I witnessed tremendous energy flowing from our attorneys and professionals whenever they talked about their involvement with the Justice Network. The same is true in all our offices. And I’ve seen this passion and energy replicated at other law firms as well. We recently hosted events here in Los Angeles and in NY to thank some of the attorneys who have joined the Justice Network. We had theaters filled with literally hundreds of people from law firms and corporations such as: Latham, O’Melveny, Gibson, Bank of America, Goodwin Proctor and so many, many more.

All across the country, the experience of touching living history through our encounters with survivors has motivated attorneys to seek out new opportunities to deliver justice to those in need.

The Holocaust Survivors Justice Network represents more than a way to deliver justice to survivors. In fact, the network we created to serve survivors has awakened a greater desire to deliver justice to a much wider range of society.

Indeed, I would say that the Justice Network has inspired some outright AUDACITY among our attorneys. Attorneys are not only asking how they can get involved with our pro bono programs. Increasingly, attorneys are actually asking, “How are we going to change the world?

This is an audacious question for a lawyer to ask!

But, when I look at the “Radical Leap” theory (cultivate Love; generate Energy; inspire Audacity; and provide Proof) and compare it to what we’ve accomplished with the Justice Network over the past year, I know exactly how to answer the audacious question, “How do we change the world”, and I know how to provide the measure of our success, or PROOF.

We change the world when we align our words and our actions

When we stand up for what is right

When we advocate for integrity

When we show signs of progress and we keep moving that progress forward

We take a radical leap when we do what we love in the service of people who love what we do.

It has been a joy and an honor to take a giant radical leap with Bet Tzedek this year.

It has been our pleasure to help attorneys everywhere to cultivate love, generate energy, inspire audacity and deliver irrefutable proof that together we can change the world.

To be honored for taking this leap with you is really more than we could ever ask for and we thank you for allowing us this privilege.

* * *

Shoot-howdy. That’s some good stuff, right there! I really used to know how to write! And we made one helluva difference with that amazing “little” pro bono partnership project of ours. Being reminded about both of these things (the power of the written word and the ability to transform lives through focused service and attention) inspired the heck out of me to kick things up a notch over here.

My Lunch Break is over. It’s time to change the world.

4 Responses to “What goes around comes around”

  1. Anonymous November 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    I knew exactly which speech you were referring to. I love that speech. Best wishes, G

    • justadventures November 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

      How CRAZY is it that E remembered it (and bought the friggin’ book!) though, right? And: I wish I still had the animation I developed to synch along with that speech. Alas…

  2. centerforprobono November 22, 2013 at 7:08 am #

    Reblogged this on ABA Center for Pro Bono Exchange and commented:
    Check out this blog post and go into your weekend with inspiration for the work that you, and we do:

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