What is Nobility?

It all started the day I was having lunch with several people during a weekend training. Everybody was a professional of some sort, I was the only one with a law degree and as I ate (or tried to) they were arguing about what their legal /professional duty was in a particular situation. Each person championed their particular law or rule and each person was more right than anybody else. Finally, I blurted out, “if you just introduce nobility into your practice you won’t be bumping into the rules all the time. Just act nobly.”

I thought in my particular genius I had ended the conversation so that I could eat in peace. I thought. Two seconds later, someone asked, “whose nobility?” I had just completed more than a year studying my former law partner’s less than noble life that had landed him in the federal penitentiary and hurt countless of innocent victims. Even with that to contrast, the harder I tried to explain it, the less I explained it. I knew that I did not mean some lady or lord from a royal lineage somewhere.

What I did mean was everything else that defines nobility:

no·ble 1a: possessing outstanding qualities … 3a: possessing very high or excellent qualities or properties … b: very good or excellent 4: grand or impressive … 5: possessing, characterized by, or arising from superiority of mind or character or of ideals or morals : LOFTY …1

Everybody at the table had a different way of seeing virtue and goodness and honor and decency and integrity and, try my best, I couldn’t explain it “but I know it when I see it.”2

Ultimately, the only way that I express what nobility meant to me was through story and – although it hadn’t taken shape yet – it was the start of this nobility project.

If you have a nobility story that you are willing to share, please go the home page and follow the directions on how to share it, and thank you.3


  1. “noble” Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merriam, 1973. Print.
  2.  The phrase was most notably used in 1964 by United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart to describe his threshold test for obscenity in Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184 (1964).
  3. Brandon L. Blankenship ©2015 All rights reserved. Image credit CC Jen Bowman Birthday Dinner by Joaquin Uy via flicker 2009
About The Author

Brandon Blankenship

Brandon L. Blankenship is a continuing legal education presenter and business educator. He is the author of Unmasking Hour. He writes weekly posts on the legal industry and is a contributor to the Nobility Academy. He and his wife Donnalee live on their hobby farm south of Birmingham, Alabama.