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Ralph Hardy, speaking about his initial meeting with Bruce Hafen

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JRCLS History Committee
Working to preserve more than 20 years of
Law Society history through the use of
written questionnaires and oral interviews.
Completed oral interviews
Ralph Hardy
Brent Belnap
Scott Cameron
Bruce Hafen
Reese Hansen
Joe Bentley
Here are just a few of the many nuggets
from those long-form conversations …
Ralph Hardy, speaking about his initial meeting
with Bruce Hafen which would eventually give
rise to the J. Reuben Clark Law Society
We sat and visited for a long time in my study. We got talking about
some of the things about the (BYU) Law School and the founding. I
told him about my experience of having gone to the dedication. And
we talked about all the Latter-day Saint lawyers. And as we talked
about it, the concept of a society, of a kind of an LDS bar
association, was discussed. We just talked about it as a concept.
The next thing I remember is that Bruce called me up a couple
weeks later and he said, "I'm really excited about this. Let's really
take this and run with it." So that started a series of meetings. And
then Bruce really had the bit in his teeth; he pulled together a group
of other people and called some meetings out here.
Joe Bentley, recalling the first event
of the JRCLS L.A. Chapter
1990 was our first event – that was in Los Angeles. Howard Hunter
came down with Bruce (Hafen) and now Reese Hansen. That same
year, Reese becomes the dean of the law school, 1990. This is a
big event; they invited us to come up from Orange County and bring
whoever we could, so we brought several carfuls. We had two or
three tables, maybe more. It was at the Hilton hotel. It was by no
means 300 like you had back in D.C., but it was a good sizable
gathering, maybe 200. John Welch presided and conducted that
Brent Belnap reveals why he
gravitated to the Law Society
A father of four and bishop, billing over 3,000 hours a year, and I
needed balance in my life. … Our third child turned one and my wife
pulled down the photo album from our bookshelf in our living room
as we were celebrating his birthday, and in the photo album of
course were all these pictures of these events in his life. I had no
recollection of anything, of any of those events. I had not been there.
I was doing deals in London and Jo-berg, South Africa, and flying all
over the place and making myself sick and billing tons of hours and
just doing what I was told to do as a lawyer and what I felt I needed
to do to succeed at my law firm. I ended up leaving, actually, and I
ended up coming to a crossroads where I decided it wasn't worth it.
But it was right at about that time that, yeah, I felt I needed balance.
Brent Belnap explains how his involvement
in the Law Society keeps him grounded
This has been so professionally and personally fulfilling and rewarding.
The Law Society fills a dimension — I would say in my personal life and
in my professional life — that is filled in no other way. This Law Society
allows one to integrate your professional life with your most inner-core
personal convictions and religious beliefs. You feel like you are part of
something much greater than yourself. For example, serving on the
Executive Committee we have weekly Board calls. Every one of those
calls begins and ends with a word of prayer.
To be in a place of work where you are integrating your religious life and
you are trying to do something for the greater good, and then 10
minutes before and 5 minutes after you're off that call you're back to
doing your same old bread and butter work, it's not only a great pause
in the day, it helps you keep a bigger vision and a bigger picture.
Neville Rochow explaining why he
started JRCLS chapters in Australia
You can go to church anywhere in the world and be taught the same things.
However, there is a bit of isolation as a lawyer in the Church because you
have a special set of problems in this profession. I remember attending a
panel organized by Brent Belnap — a “Dr. Phil session" for lawyers. An
attorney from Chicago; a former Supreme Court Chief Justice from Arizona,
Bud Jones; and Elder Nash sat on the panel. They spoke so frankly and
sincerely and with the Spirit. I had never felt the Spirit so strongly, and I
remember thinking, "This is the support you need."
One of the reasons I wanted to start JRCLS chapters in Australia was to
ensure that my children have the opportunity to feel that same support not
only as members of the Church, but as lawyers. I want succeeding
generations to feel that someone is watching out for them as they go
forward in the profession.
Keith Thompson, instrumental in founding JRCLS
chapters in Australia, Asia Pacific and Africa, fleshes out
some of the important roles the Law Society fills.
I see the Law Society in much the same way as the Brethren have
described priesthood quorums — and, for that matter, Relief
Societies. They are service units; they are fraternities and sororities
— places of deep personal friendships and understanding, places of
brotherhood and sisterhood; and they can be a place where we can
teach each other the laws of God and how they can beneficially
influence and improve the laws of man. … I believe the Society was
created by inspiration. It is an inspired and an inspiring organization.
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