I was honored to be among the hundreds of people attending the Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Mayoral address. It’s not my usual venue. There were way more pure “business” types than lawyers, but there was a comforting presence of many Temple Law grads whose work makes this a worthwhile destination for them. David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation, stopped by our Temple table, where I was seated, to introduce us to Sharon Roy, a Temple freshman who was one of two Comcast Gus Amsterdam scholarship recipients. Ms. Roy, whose 19th birthday coincided with this luncheon, is a graduate of Girls’ High, and an aspiring physician’s assistant.
Mayor Michael Nutter, who reminded the audience that this is his final address to the Chamber, spoke of the accomplishments of his administration and the work left to do. Among the highlights are a decline in violent crimes, a record number of new business ventures and peace with the City’s labor unions. Left undone are school funding and breaking the cycle of violence among young men of color. The overall message was one of hope and optimism. Young people are moving into the city in record numbers. The New York Times has ranked Philadelphia as third among cities to visit globally – and first in the U.S. And the rating agencies give Philadelphia the best financial ratings in decades. All this is good for the City – and good for Temple. This is a vibrant, healthy city. Optimism abounds, and justifiably so.
“Every day cannot be momentous. But some days introduce people, or ideas, or concerns, that demand our attention. When that happens, stop long enough to contribute your thoughts – or better yet, yourself.”
Later on Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending the Hispanic Bar Association’s La Justicia Awards, hosted at the pinch-me awesome offices of our alumnus, Tom Duffy. May I just say the views from the 55th floor of One Liberty are phenomenal. The honoree was Mike Lee, who started a non-profit called Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity. The non-profit offers pro bono services to members of the community. But here’s the part of the evening that I will carry forward. Part of what Mike does is offer expungement assistance to people who made a mistake but for whom a criminal conviction is not emblematic of who they are. In the room was a fabulous young man named Marcus. Marcus was introduced by Philadelphia Managing Director Rich Negrin, a fantastic Philadelphian, who selflessly offers himself to others. Rich said that Marcus had once “made a mistake,” but thanks to Mike, Marcus’ conviction was expunged. Rich introduced Marcus as now a Deputy Managing Director for the City of Philadelphia. When the remarks were concluded, I made my way over to Marcus. OMG. What a fantastic young man – exactly the sort we want to save, not toss away. I told Marcus that I am busy, but when my life is less defined (when I am no longer Dean), his is the sort of cause to which I want to devote my efforts. He smiled, and said “I’m not going to wait ‘til then. I have a request right now. I counsel people who might want to go to law school. Do you think you could recommend a 1L who might come to speak about the decision to attend law school and how to prepare?” I said “Oh, yes,” and handed him a card.
Here’s my takeaway. Every day cannot be momentous. But some days introduce people, or ideas, or concerns, that demand our attention. When that happens, stop long enough to contribute your thoughts – or better yet, yourself.