At a morning tea at Dekalb Tech Friday, Georgia Supreme Court Justice Hugh Thompson told students of the school's paralegal program not to become discouraged if they don't receive as much glory or praise as lawyers or judges.
"What you do is very important," Thompson said. "Your function is a part of a bigger thing and that is to ensure that all of us continue to enjoy the rights that come to us as citizens of this great country of ours."
Thompson advised the gathered crowd of students to above all else, always be reliable.
"Always be dependable because society is depending on all of us," Thompson said. "Go at life with a lot of gusto. Realize that even on your worst day, you're going to be helping somebody with something."
Commenting on Thompson's remarks, Dekalb Tech Paralegal Studies Instructor Virgil Costley said that they were heartening.
"We get a little jaded sometimes about what we do," said Costley, adding that Thompson's remarks reminded him of the "majesty of the law."
Yolanda Johnson, a second year paralegal studies student at Dekalb Tech, said that Thompson's speech gave her hope that she could make a difference in the legal world.
"I make my judge look good," said Johnson, who currently works for Rockdale County's Juvenile Court.
A native of nearby Milledgeville, Thompson spent some of his formative years as a young boy living in Newton County. He was appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court by Gov. Zell Miller in 1994.
Prior to that from 1979 to 1994 he served as a superior court justice on the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit.
One of seven justices on the Georgia Supreme Court, Thompson has made a name for himself as a social conservative.
Held at Dekalb Tech's Newton Center, Friday's event was sponsored by The Paralegal Alliance and The Newton County Bar Association. Also in attendance at the event were several Newton County judges and elected officials including Superior Court Judges Samuel Ozburn and Eugene Benton, Juvenile Court Judge Billy Waters and Covington Mayor Sam Ramsey. Rep. Robert Mumford (R-Conyers) who is an attorney also attended.