Public Law

Public Law Journal: SUMMER 2023, VOLUME 45, NUMBER 4


Written by Carmen L. Gibbs Co-Chair

Turning to the second half of my year as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Public Law Section (PLS), I am reminded of a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. that has deep significance to me personally and embodies the call of lawyers practicing in the public law sector: "The measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy." This quote encapsulates the type of excellence that the PLS strives to foster in its attorneys.

As I made my way toward the goal of becoming an attorney over a decade ago, it seemed as though the comfortable moments were fleeting and the challenging times were constant, whether it be studying for finals, the bar exam, or trying to navigate employment during the Great Recession. I even remember becoming physically ill and debilitated during my second year of law school for 10 days. It was then that I had a realization that I could not wait for the surrounding circumstances to define my success or failure. It was going to be based upon my character and ability to be a balanced, wholesome person. I found that I needed to be as upstanding in my challenges as I was in my successes.

Lawyers who practice in public law settings have the same call to action. While they often do not choose the types of challenges encountered, they choose how to handle them. And very often in this profession, public law attorneys who are trained to handle multiple circumstances are exceptional at handling controversial situations calmly and with a great deal of intelligence.

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