As I write this editor’s note, it is mid-December. This is the time that I usually start thinking about what my New Year’s resolution might be. Big winners in the past have been the usuals: exercise more and lose weight, eat healthier, get more organized, and minimize my use of profanity. Sometimes I’ve failed and sometimes I’ve succeeded, and that tends to be standard New Year’s resolution protocol for most of us.
But this year, a different resolution naturally rose to the surface. An idea that is so painfully simple yet so profound in its impact, it could change the world—or at least my world and the world of those close to me.
First, some background. Every morning, I come into the office and I delegate daily news stories for my staff and me to write. Some stories are standard legal news fare (patent suits, legal jobs reports, career moves, etc.). But some make you stop and think … and maybe even look at the world differently: a company embroiled in a gender discrimination suit, Big Tobacco disclosing its decades of deception about the dangers of cigarettes, a neighborhood watch volunteer killing a teenager walking in his neighborhood and a crazed gunman murdering a dozen people and injuring many more in a packed movie theater.
Right now, as I write this, another devastating story is unfolding—one that will likely end in numerous lawsuits that InsideCounsel will eventually cover. You know it: A prank phone call to a London hospital by two Australian DJs trying to get information about the Duchess of Cambridge resulted in the suicide of a nurse involved. “What were they thinking?” some ask of the DJs who seemed to have such disregard not only for the Duchess’s privacy, but also for the hospital and its staff’s reputation. And “What was she thinking?” some ask of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who took her own life over something we all may consider minor. We will never have the answers.
Every one of these situations that I’ve laid out could have been avoided if the party or parties responsible had just first said to themselves: Do what’s right. Respect others. Be kind. Although it seems so simple, we often fail miserably—all of us.
So in 2013 and all the years I have after, my pledge is to follow that rule. Whether it’s as simple as holding the elevator door for someone even when I’m running late or something more impactful such as assisting someone in danger, from now on I will do what’s right, respect others and be kind. Please join me.