A few weeks ago I learned that one of Virginia’s most distinguished personal-injury trial lawyers had suffered a bitter defeat. We need folks to continue to make the good fight, and I wanted to let him know of my respect for his courage in fighting the good fight against the odds.

I did not have far to look for my inspiration. I looked to my office wall and saw the fighting words of the indomitable Teddy Roosevelt that have sustained me as I approached a battle or reeled from a stinging defeat:

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

There are those in our profession who never really enter the arena, or who enter the arena only when victory is assured. We need not be among these “cold and timid souls.” Engage the battle. You may lose the battle. But keep fighting the good fight — you will win the war.

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