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Simply doing better

Father son holding handsI am a believer of New Year’s resolutions. I use them to outline my plans for the new year and determine what I want to accomplish. My list of resolutions are not some haphazard ideas scrawled on a piece of paper that will be forgotten by the time Punxsutawney Phil determines if we are going to have an additional six weeks of winter, but a comprehensive list of goals for the year. They range from personal (better oral hygiene) to professional (client development and marketing ideas) to a little crazy (run 850 miles in 2013).

The unifying theme for my resolutions for 2013 center on simply doing better. I want to be a better person, father, attorney, spouse, etc.

My last post was due two weeks ago but I missed my deadline. After the tragedy in Newtown, I couldn’t figure out what to say or what was appropriate. I could only think of how on most days, I drop my oldest son off at school. He started kindergarten this year and loves his school. We have a normal routine when I drop him off. After a hug and a kiss, he stands at the door of the cafeteria and waves to me. I walk backwards and wave back until I get to the doors to exit. And then he’s off in a flash to play with friends.

So when I sat down to think about my resolutions and goals for 2013, I thought about Newtown, my family, and my profession. How can I do better?

As an attorney, the answer was simple — pro bono.  Only attorneys can perform pro bono work (a simple observation, but one that needs to be emphasized). We are asked to do 50 hours a year (or one hour a week during the year with a two-week vacation). Whether you are helping to form a 501(c)(3), saving a homeowner from foreclosure or assisting a person with a criminal expungement so he can qualify for rental housing, the work is rewarding and available. I normally set my goal for pro bono at 50 hours for the year, but will strive to do more.

As member of the community, how can I do better? Public service, whether its volunteering a soup kitchen or building a house for Habitat for Humanity. The MSBA organizes monthly events, so you don’t even have to look far for the opportunities. And as a parent, it’s not simply to spend more time with my kids. It teaching my children about respect, ethics and morals. It’s about building character.

Some of  you may think resolutions are useless or unnecessary. For those of you that don’t, let me know what you have in store for 2013.