Lawyers I Admire: Abraham Lincoln

Posted on December 7, 2012

I often get compliments on this portrait of Abraham Lincoln that hangs in my office. And considering that Lincoln is a hot topic right now with the recent release of the Lincoln movie, I thought it a good time to share some of my thoughts about Lincoln and this portrait in particular.

In fact, I might as well put in a plug for the movie. If you haven’t seen it, you should. The movie is very well done and Daniel Day-Lewis is fantastic in his portrayal Lincoln. The movie draws heavily from Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book of a few years ago, Team of Rivals. The movie deals with the passage of the 13th amendment and the political deals that were made to make the abolishment of slavery a constitutional amendment. Here’s the trailer to get you interested:

Back to the portrait . . . one of the other lawyers I admire is George B. Handy. George is my grandfather and practiced law in Ogden, Utah for about 60 years. He was an institution in the Ogden legal community. This portrat of Lincoln hung in his office for decades and when he retired a few years ago, he gave it to me to hang in my office.

Seeing this portrait of Lincoln reminds me of the high ethical standards to which we as lawyers must adhere. Lincoln was someone who had the courage to do what was right in the face of huge adversity, sacrifice, and unpopularity. Finally, Lincoln was one of a great debaters and speakers of his time. He was a masterful speachwriter (See Gettysburg Address) and knew how to effectively communicate with his audience in both subtle and forceful ways. Obviously it’s not a stretch to say Lincoln was one of our greatest presidents if not the greatest.