‘United we stand’: Lawyers urged to foster national unity

July 8, 2024 Robert Abruzzese, Courthouse Editor
Nicholas Allard, former dean of Brooklyn Law School, wrote an article for the Fourth of July in which he explained the critical role of lawyers in sustaining democracy and fostering national unity. Eagle photo by Andy Katz
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In a Fourth of July reflection published in the ABA Journal, Nicholas Allard, former dean of Brooklyn Law School, called upon the legal profession to play a pivotal role in uniting the nation. Drawing on historical examples and timeless wisdom, Allard emphasized the enduring importance of unity in sustaining democracy.

“Unity is strength,” Allard wrote, referencing ancient Greek fables and Chinese stories that echo this truth. He highlighted the Biblical warning: “If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand,” emphasizing its relevance in today’s fractured society.

Allard lamented that Americans are currently “observing in the breach” the unity aphorism cherished by revolutionary patriots and memorably invoked leaders like Abraham Lincoln and George W. Bush. He noted the challenge of bridging divisions, particularly in times of relentless bad news and societal strife.

“Convincing our divided peoples to come together and work for the common good has always been very hard and, at present, is painfully difficult if not seemingly impossible,” Allard explained.

He urged facing troubles head-on with long-term goals in mind, drawing parallels to Lincoln’s leadership during the Civil War. Allard called for reflection on Lincoln’s speeches, which offer lessons in civic duty and purposeful advocacy.

Allard praised a letter by deans of over 100 American law schools, affirming the critical role of lawyers in sustaining democracy. The letter outlines commitments to uphold professionalism, engage with the rule of law, teach respectful disagreement, and support constitutional democracy through clinical work and public education.

“We call upon all members of the legal profession to join us in the vital work ahead,” the letter states.

Allard concluded with a reminder of Winston Churchill’s words during a dark period of global conflict: “United we stand, divided we fall.” He emphasized the need for lawyers to lead public conversations with courtesy, civility, and cooperation.

“Fortunately, America’s law schools have recommitted themselves to send reinforcements to defend and strengthen democracy,” Allard wrote, expressing optimism for the future.

Allard currently serves as the founding dean of the Jacksonville University College of Law in Florida and has held various leadership roles within the American Bar Association.

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