Humility serves us well in life

Published 5:51 pm Monday, March 25, 2019

1981-Peoples Republic of China – Hunan Province In a small city in the southern part of China, Liuyang, a baby girl was born in August 12. Her father, a pediatrician, and her mother, a schoolteacher, raised Bingzi Hu with love, a sense of self-respect, and humility. Now, humility is often confused with weakness, humiliation and/or being subservient. 

Bingzi’s journey explains why humility, or being humble, is one of the greatest attributes a person can have.

As she grew into an adult, Bingzi was already on her way to greatness. But, she would never admit that. She went to college when she was 16, graduated and began her master’s in Chinese Law when she was 20. At the end of law school, she found herself seeking new horizons. I learned during our conversation that the Chinese legal system goes back thousands of years. The modern system began in 1949 and had a major revision in 1997. 

She was born with the desire to practice criminal law in the most sophisticated, historically rich, and best legal system on Earth. She set her eyes on America. 

While English is taught in Chinese schools, conversational English is not acquired. Bingzi Hu, who spoke very little English, applied to a number of U.S. law schools. She was accepted to almost all of them. She eventually chose Georgia State. (She just smiled when I asked why she did not go to my beloved Mercer ….)

While at Georgia State, she excelled at everything except verbal communication. Imagine being in a foreign country attending a difficult school where people use terms like “aforesaid”, “hereto”, and others that no one else in society uses in conversation.

However, she would end up at Mercer after receiving her law degree. She was accepted to Mercer’s prestigious LLM program in Federal Criminal Practice and Procedure.

But, she still somewhat struggled with English. She could have quit and gone home to her parents. But, one of her old irritable professors picked up on her naturally high level of legal talent and humble nature. He is a no-nonsense lawyer who oftentimes lacks patience, interrupts and has corrected me more times than anyone I know. He is also my mentor and friend.

David Wolfe took her under his wing. 

At the end of her second year at Georgia State, she began to intern for him and upon passing the bar in 2014, she became his associate attorney.

David had a creative way of speeding up her proficiency in English. While interning for David, she would answer the phone at his firm before the secretary got into the office. Bingzi not complain or believe that this task was “beneath her.” Instead, she took advantage of the opportunity. This, along with conducting legal research, reviewing evidence and writing legal memorandums impressed clients, prosecutors and other lawyers.   

Today, Bingzi is an indispensable part of his firm. She has refined her talent, become exceptionally fluent in English, and has become one of the best white-collar crime and appellate lawyers in the state. Although she will not tell you that, many others will. 

I am grateful that she is teaching me new effective legal strategies.

But, the most important lesson Bingzi taught me is the value of humility.

Humility is not taught in law school or in the trenches of the courtroom. But, whenever I see myself ignoring humility, I think back to a legal legend who defines humility; Jimmy Berry. 

Like Jimmy, when Bingzi enters a room, she quietly speaks to every person with a smile. She acknowledges that others helped her along the way. She has a low-key confidence that cannot be shaken by the words of the arrogant.

I am blessed when God puts someone in my life to teach me a lesson, not with words, but by example. He did this again when David introduced me to her.

I look forward to working with Bingzi in the future and watching her star become brighter each day. Humility does serve us well.