Reflections on the State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyer’s Division

As we conclude the bar year and near the end of our YLD journey, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the commitment made by my former law firm to supporting young lawyers, the life-long values fostered through the YLD and other members of the profession, and the importance of having a caring and supportive family:

I am forever grateful to Goodman, McGuffey, Lindsey & Johnson, LLP, for not only hiring me as a young associate many years ago, but also encouraging me to become actively involved in the YLD. During one of my first mid-year reviews, I was deeply touched when a senior partner asked me, “Kevin, what can we do to support you?” The firm truly recognized that the practice of law goes well beyond billable hours, and they invested in the future of our profession. Civic and professional development for young associates is paramount to a rewarding and fulfilling legal career. They were and still are my role models. Years from now, I certainly hope to extend the same encouragement and support to a younger lawyer embarking on a legal career.

Like the firm, the YLD teaches young lawyers the “right” way to practice law. The judiciary, senior members of the bar, and leadership of the YLD all took the time to serve as mentors for us. For example, I still remember Chief Justice Hugh P. Thompson speaking to the Litigation Committee. His humorous, but sage advice to “stop digging if you find yourself in a ditch” carries with all of us. During my first out-of-state YLD meeting to Washington, D.C., I recall former presidents of the State Bar, like Ken Shigley, sitting with us at dinner. The simple act of breaking-bread with us made us feel welcomed and appreciated as young lawyers. Along with the judiciary and members of the bar, former leaders of the YLD, like Sharri Edenfield, still remain actively engaged in YLD events, such as the Signature Fundraiser and Leadership Academy.

Most importantly, I am thankful for my parents, Charles and Denise Patrick, encouraging me to enter into the practice of law. I remember them sitting in the courtroom watching me participate as a junior and senior at The Walker School in the high school mock trial program. At the University of Georgia, my mother recalled the words of John Milton and encouraged me to study the Classics, especially the legal system during the Roman republic. And finally, Mom and Dad were ever so supportive during the first year of law school and were there along with my relatives to celebrate my graduation from Mercer University. My parents made countless sacrifices, believed in me, and ultimately recognized law was one of the noblest professions. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!