4               ATTORNEY GENERAL JANET RENO

         5     The Bar Association of The District of Columbia

         6                    125th Anniversary






        12              Held at The Grand Hyatt Hotel

        13                Eighth & H Streets, N.W.

        14                 Washington, D.C.  20001




        18               Saturday, December 7, 1996






         1                  P R O C E E D I N G S

         2               ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO:  Thank you,

         3     Dwight.

         4               I can't tell you what an honor it is

         5     to be here with people like Judge Hamilton and

         6     John Pickering and Judge Harris, and so many

         7     others who I heard of long before I came to

         8     Washington, and who have made me feel so

         9     welcomed in this great city.

        10               I appreciate more than I can tell you

        11     the honor that you have done me tonight.  But I

        12     accept that honor on behalf of the men and

        13     women of the Department of Justice.  There's

        14     some 107,000 of them.  And they do

        15     extraordinary work for the people of the United

        16     States all across the country.

        17               Prison guards in very difficult

        18     circumstances, agents around the world who are

        19     on the southwest boarder, immigration

        20     inspectors, lawyers, secretaries and support

        21     staff who I've gotten to know here in the

        22     District of Columbia.


         1               Year in and year out, without much

         2     consideration for dollars, they do

         3     extraordinary work for the people of the United

         4     States.

         5               And too often, they don't get too

         6     much credit.

         7               But I can tell you from my three and

         8     a half years of experience, they're always

         9     almost all of them trying to do the right thing

        10     trying to serve the people.  And they do one

        11     heck of a job.

        12               Some are career, some are

        13     appointments of this Administration.  I see two

        14     here tonight, three, four, five, I can't name

        15     them all.  But a special, real special

        16     acknowledgement to my Deputy.  I couldn't do it

        17     without her.  Thank you, Jane.

        18                    (Applause)

        19               Public service is a wonderful

        20     calling.  I will admit that you get cussed at,

        21     fussed at and blasted in the newspapers.

        22     People spend a lot of time speculating on


         1     whether you have a fashion style, or you don't

         2     have any fashion style.

         3               They spend endless hours speculating

         4     on what you will do when you grow up.  There

         5     are some very bitter disappointments.  There

         6     are some losses.  There are some tragedies.

         7               But I can think of no calling that is

         8     more rewarding than trying to help the people

         9     you serve solve their problems, trying to

        10     uphold the rule of law, protecting the

        11     innocent, indicting the guilty, but doing so

        12     according to the principles of due process and

        13     fair play, the role of defending this nation

        14     and bringing peace to this world.

        15               But it is not just those who work for

        16     Government.  It is all of us who can perform

        17     public service.  It's something that everyone

        18     can do, and everyone can make a difference

        19     doing it.

        20               And this great Bar Association, over

        21     125 years, has shown that each lawyer can make

        22     a difference.  Not just in billable hours, not


         1     just in the money they make, not just in the

         2     firm they belong to, but in how they touch a

         3     community, how they touch a nation, how they

         4     protect an environment, how they make a

         5     difference.

         6               Jake, I want to be very brief in my

         7     challenges tonight.

         8               I challenge us all tonight to renew

         9     the efforts that have been evidenced in this

        10     room and in this community for so long, to make

        11     sure that we make the law real for all

        12     Americans.

        13               When the American Bar Association

        14     evidences that 60 to 70 percent of the poor and

        15     the working poor in this nation do not have

        16     access to the courts and to our justice system,

        17     and to lawyers, we have got to change that.

        18               How do we do that?

        19               We organize ourselves so we take the

        20     tremendous talent that is in this room, the

        21     tremendous giving talent in the law firms

        22     represented in this room, and the offices, and


         1     the departments, and the Department of Justice,

         2     and make sure that we organize ourselves so

         3     that pro bono legal services are delivered in

         4     this city, and in this nation in a

         5     comprehensive way that leaves nobody out.

         6                    (Applause)

         7               The second challenge is that we work

         8     together in a comprehensive way.

         9               I have watched lawyers at Raymond

        10     Elementary on a ladder with a paint bucket

        11     painting the ceilings, and sanding the

        12     ceilings.  I've watched lawyers from the

        13     Department of Justice at a habitat for humanity

        14     project bringing a house into being.

        15               I have watched lawyers in a community

        16     center resolving disputes.  I have watched

        17     lawyers reaching out to make a difference.  But

        18     let us harness all that energy in a

        19     comprehensive effort so that pieces are not

        20     fragmented.

        21               So that we work together with social

        22     workers, and teachers, and community police


         1     officers to rebuild a community, and to reweave

         2     the fabric of community around the children and

         3     the families at risk in this city that I have

         4     grown to love.  Let us make sure that we do it

         5     in a comprehensive way.

         6                    (Applause)

         7               Third, let us remember that the great

         8     advocates of the world, the great trial lawyers

         9     of the world are clearly those that protect and

        10     defend us every step of the way.  But let's not

        11     wait to resolve all our problems in the courts.

        12               Let us develop community efforts that

        13     help that lady get the landlord to fix the

        14     toilet before she had to take him to court.

        15     Let us work together to figure out how to keep

        16     that young man out of trouble at eleven before

        17     he gets into trouble, and we have to be his

        18     guardian ad litem at 12.  Let us work together

        19     to solve problems, not just to win law suits.

        20                    (Applause)

        21               Lawyers are known as the great

        22     litigators, the great battlers.  When I went to


         1     Harvard Law School, Roger Fisher taught me

         2     civil procedure.  I never heard of Roger Fisher

         3     in negotiation or getting the yes for a long

         4     time after that.

         5               But now I see lawyers across this

         6     country doing wonderful things, in terms of

         7     resolving disputes without conflicts, and even

         8     before they get to court.  Let us take that

         9     talent to communities, to schools, to

        10     elementary schools in this district, to middle

        11     schools, the high schools.

        12               There are wonderful young students

        13     out there teaching their peers how to resolve

        14     conflicts without knives, and guns, and fists,

        15     teaching their peers how to resolve problems,

        16     teaching their peers how to have self-respect,

        17     teaching their peers how to honor each other

        18     regardless of diversity, and their ethnic and

        19     racial background.

        20               Let us go out and enforce those

        21     skills by learning to listen to young people.

        22     I go to public schools on the average of once a


         1     week now.  These young people have tremendous

         2     ideas.  I was telling Judge Hamilton of one who

         3     said, "What can I do to make a difference?"

         4     "What can you do to make a difference?"

         5               Learn how to listen to us.

         6               Learn how to understand how difficult

         7     it is to grow up, and how much we want to

         8     contribute.  Let us go out and use our

         9     problem-solving skills, our mediation skills,

        10     our negotiation skills to teach our young

        11     people how to resolve conflicts without knives,

        12     and guns, and fists.

        13               And fifth, let us never cease, ever,

        14     in all our efforts as lawyers to protect

        15     against injustice, to protect the innocent.

        16               For as long as I live, no matter what

        17     I do, I will always remember the case of James

        18     Joseph Richardson, a man who had been

        19     prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced to death

        20     for the poisoning death of his seven children

        21     21 years before.

        22               The Governor appointed me to go


         1     reinvestigate the case in another part of the

         2     state.  I stood in a courtroom in Arcadia,

         3     Florida, and told the court that the evidence

         4     was insufficient, and that he probably did not

         5     commit the crime, and that he should go free.

         6               And as I turned, and left that

         7     courtroom, and watched that man walk out of the

         8     courtroom for the first time in 21 years, I was

         9     reminded that all of us as lawyers have a

        10     sacred obligation to uphold the rule of law, to

        11     protect the innocent, the speak out against

        12     hatred, to speak out against bias, to speak out

        13     against those who discriminate, and to lead

        14     this world into a time of peace and

        15     understanding.

        16               Some people say it's too big a job.

        17     But I watch the people in this room.  I watch

        18     what so many of you have done.  I watch what is

        19     happening around this country.  And never have

        20     I believed so devoutly in this nation and it's

        21     capacity to solve its problem and make all

        22     people free.


         1               Thank you so much.

         2                    (Applause)

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