Defense Counsel Journal

Editor's Page - Volume 85, Number 1

Volume 85, No. 1

February 07, 2020

Smith_Michael_F_2016_sized Michael Franklin Smith

Michael Franklin Smith

Michael Franklin Smith is the current Editor and Chair of the Board of Editors for the Defense Counsel Journal. He is a shareholder at McAfee & Taft and a member of the IADC.

It’s a new year. And with every new year comes the promise of a new beginning. They tell us to forget the failures of yesterday and focus on the fresh opportunities that the new beginning provides. That’s a little too Pollyanna for my taste. I prefer to do a little honest soul searching.

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?

I did. As I closed out 2017 and celebrated the arrival of 2018, I reflected, like I always do, on the good and bad of the recent past. I pondered the state of the world we live in today. While there is a lot of good in this world, I still see too much divisiveness, discrimination, fighting, suffering, disparity, and sorrow for my taste. After reflection, I resolved to ask myself each morning what I can do today to make the world a better place for someone else.

Two days ago I anonymously paid for a stranger’s breakfast at my local coffee shop I frequent on my way to the office. It was a little thing that didn’t cost me much money. However, I think that small gesture made the world a better place in a small way for at least one person in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Yesterday, I funded a microloan to help a single mother of two in Bomet, Kenya purchase cereals to sell in the local market. It was more than a breakfast but it was still a small gesture in the grand scheme of things. Yet, I know that that action made the world a better place for at least three people in Bomet, Kenya.

Today, I made a modest donation to an organization that helps fund and promote minority candidates running for a variety of political offices in all types of elections across the United States. I believe that diversity in leadership provides new voices with unique perspectives that help create an affirming environment for all kinds of minorities. Today, I feel that I made the world a better place for some unknowable amount of people in the United States.

These may appear to be selfless acts, but they are done for selfish reasons. Do good; feel good. Sure, there’s that. But there’s more to it than just that for me. I embrace the selfishness of my apparently selfless actions as I firmly believe that making the world a better place for someone else, makes the world a better place for me, for all the people I love, and for future generations that I may never know. My selfish motivation does not mitigate the positive impact these actions have on the world around me.

What little thing will I do tomorrow to make the world a better place for someone else? I don’t know yet. However, let me ask you the real question. What will you do today to make the world a better place for someone else? Just remember that whatever you do today to improve your world improves my world too and I thank you.

While you ponder my question, please take a moment and enjoy our offerings in this issue of the Defense Counsel Journal. We have a little something for everyone. In no particular order, Jeffrey Pade and Thomas Counts analyze trade secrets litigation concerning foreign acts. Timothy Stalker and David Rosenberg update their analysis of insurance coverage issues with concurrent causation, originally written in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Mark Fucile examines some of the ethical considerations that arise when client uses lawyers for a Ponzi scheme. George Talarico considers whether newly discovered sources of diacetyl, cigarettes, and coffee spells the end of popcorn lung litigation or the beginning of a new phase. Finally, Steven Roeder looks at the split among the circuit courts on the question of whether the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act preempts state law class actions. Like I said, we have something for everyone here.

Happy new year to you and yours from all of us here at the Defense Counsel Journal. May all your tomorrows be better than all your yesterdays.

Michael Franklin Smith
Editor and Chair of the Board of Editors, Defense Counsel Journal
Shareholder, McAfee & Taft, A Professional Corporation