General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division

The Chair's Corner/John W. Clark, Jr.

I begin this year with a sincere thank you to Allan Tanenbaum, Wes Hackett, and of all the officers who have preceded me in the General Practice Section for giving me the inspiration, support, and comfort necessary to make this journey as your chair.

When my term ends, I will report our progress and willingly hand the reins of leadership over to my good friend, Bob Wright.

Every bar leader enters office with a theme. This year, I'll be asking our Council and committee chairs to "think outside the box"...to look to new avenues, pierce through old barriers, discard old misperceptions, and reach out to new faces, ideas, and technologies.

The General Practice Section is made up of more than solo and small firm practitioners. Some of our most able leaders come from the military, large firms, and law schools. Some of us are narrow specialists in metropolitan areas, and some are old-fashioned county seat lawyers. Together, our many shapes and sizes reflect a global and general background.

I fear that the ABA's effort to be "all things to all lawyers" has caused it to lose touch with the common reality. Many of us sharpen our own pencils, make our own coffee, and write our own checks, letters, and briefs. Last week caught me fixing my own copier!

We can be doing more to reach out to women, minorities, and lawyers of all kinds who are struggling to provide for families in these difficult times, and to those who simply do not have the time or inclination to be active in the ABA. I pledge to do everything I can to bring new faces, ideas, and attitudes to our Section.

The Section's fall meeting in Sedona will be in progress about the time you receive this magazine. I have asked my able friend Jennifer Rose to lead us in a town hall-style conference that will give members a chance to talk openly about the Section and to tell us what programs and activities they would most like to see.

We will have a great time this year. I hope you will join me on our journey. We will find serenity as our profession races to the next century.

Pay your dues. Recruit more lawyers like you to join the Section, and come to our meetings. The lights will be on and we'll be waiting for you. This is John Clark saying, Welcome.

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