Chief Justice P. Harris Hines (left) and Justice Robert Benham of Supreme Court of Georgia in session at the University of Georgia School of Law Chief Justice P. Harris Hines (left) and Justice Robert Benham of the Supreme Court of Georgia in session at the University of Georgia School of Law. (Photo: John Disney/ALM)

Before oral arguments began for the special session at the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens Tuesday, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice P. Harris Hines offered new lawyers some advice.

After the group investiture, the chief started a history lesson that began with James Madison 230 years ago planning the Constitutional Convention. Hines said Madison in eight words persuaded George Washington, 43 and battle-weary, to attend: “General, you must. You are the indispensable man.”

Harris told the group, “As lawyers, you are the indispensable people.”

Then the chief revealed his feelings about a few other people by offering a patchwork quilt of quotations.

He started with his son, Hap Hines, kicker for the University of Georgia Bulldogs football team from 1996 to 1999. “You will experience a lot of excitement and moments of terror when your son is kicking in front of 100,000 people,” the elder Hines said. When asked by his father if he ever felt fear, the son said: “Dad, you just play through it.” Do that, the chief justice advised the new lawyers.

Hines suggested emulating Justice David Nahmias’ “pay it forward” policy.

He said the song Frank Sinatra made famous, “My Way” (lyrics: “I did it my way”), represents “truly a horrible philosophy.” The onlookers responded with a big laugh on this line.

No one can do it alone, Hines added.

He quoted Justice Harold Melton, advising, “Bloom where you are planted.”

And he quoted Robin Frazer Clark, former president of the State Bar of Georgia and the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, saying: “Look at everything through the eyes of kindness.” Be like her, Hines advised.

Then he sent the newbies off to pick up their “certificates suitable for framing” with this blessing: “I wish you health and happiness.”