By: Kevin Bernstein
As attorneys, we are zealous advocates for our clients and are tasked with ensuring that they are provided the absolute best advocacy we can provide. Attorneys are often referred to as advocates with a meaning that is relatively simplistic and straight-forward, but “advocacy” can come in many forms.
It can come in the form of representing your child at his or her school, coach youth sports. It can be in the form of representing your clients in business or in dealing with medical care for a parent. In my own office, we have attorneys who have committed time to Youth Leadership of Memphis, an organization whose mission is to redirect the lives of at-risk young men by instilling values and fostering responsibility through positive male role models. One of our attorneys directs an annual golf tournament following the passing of his father called the SOS Mike Myatt Memorial Golf Tournament” benefitting Service Over Self In Memphis. This fall will be the 16th annual tournament, giving an idea of the “advocacy” commitment of this attorney.
An organization called Professional Network on Aging In Memphis (PNA) dedicated to the care and treatment of the elderly. Their members incorporate lawyers, social workers, medical providers, home health care and myriad other specialties all dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly and their families. It is comprised of 200 separate groups and over 400 individuals located in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
PNA has honored those members with its Senior Advocacy Award “to recognize individuals whose life and work demonstrate a passion for service to seniors and whose actions are a strong advocacy for the senior population.”
Bob Bernstein, my father, passed away on February 16, 2017, and had been recognized with that award. This past Tuesday, PNA renamed the award the “Bob Bernstein Senior Advocacy Award” in his honor. The presentation of the award this year was moving as both the person introducing this year’s recipient and the recipient herself spoke emotionally about my father’s activities within this organization and in the community.
The one thought that would not leave me was that “advocacy” in and of itself is a calling. Advocacy entails taking a passion and individualizing it as a personal mission to improve the life of other often unknown persons. For those of us who represent clients in litigation and in business transactions we strive to ensure good results within ethical and legal parameters tailored to the needs of that particular matter. In addition to this “classic” legal advocacy, lawyers, through pro bono efforts, can seek to serve the disadvantaged and to promote the public interest in ways that no other profession can. Advocates like my father work in the world of medical care, government benefits and family dynamics. Both there and in the legal field, advocacy requires compassion, empathy and understanding the various dynamics and competing interests.
Advocacy can come in many forms with the question only becoming what or for whom will you advocate?
Kevin Bernstein focuses on Liability (Automobile, Premises and Products), Litigation (Business and Commercial, Real Estate, Construction, Insurance Defense, Property and Casualty, and Trucking/Transportation) and Workers’ Compensation law in the Memphis office.
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