GPSolo Magazine - March 2006

Chairs' Corner

My Turn to Do Something

 

Following in the footsteps of the likes of Dwight Smith, Lee Kolczun, Bill Hogan, Karen Mathis, and the rest of our prior Chairs is a daunting task. Each has managed to accomplish so much in the little time given to them. I constantly ask myself how I possibly could hope to be as successful as they. Who am I trying to kid? An overweight, balding, middle-aged small firm lawyer who has never lived outside of Waukesha County, Wisconsin, elected to be next year’s Chair of the fastest-growing entity in the ABA. Boy, do I need help!

So I turn to you—the greatest group in the ABA, the members of the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division—and ask that next year you each do something special for yourself, the profession, or your community, for that is the theme I have chosen for our 2006-2007 Bar Year. I have selected this theme so that we, individually, and in turn as a group, will be able to accomplish something remarkable.

All of you are already doing so much, and we seldom take the time out of our busy schedules to reflect upon these efforts and relate our achievements to other Division members. Our paths cross only a handful of times each year, and we have little time to get to know what each of us does outside the ABA. I believe each of you does a great deal for yourself, your profession, and your community. We should tell people what we do—not to be boastful, but rather so that “the rest of the story” can be told. We need to quit telling lawyer jokes and start telling these stories instead.

As I like to say, if they kill all the lawyers, who will coach soccer, serve on historical society boards, and give free legal advice at cocktail parties? Sure, many folks from other professions also serve in these capacities (even the giving of free legal advice at cocktail parties, I am afraid), but lawyers in general are very caring, giving, generous people, and if we do not begin to sing our praises, we will continue to be the butt of someone else’s joke.

So I say we need to Do Something special next year and talk about it.

The July/August 2006 edition of GPSolo magazine will be entitled “Do Something.” It will highlight the theme of the 2006-2007 Bar Year and will stress the importance for Division members to do something either for the profession, for the community, or for themselves, or better yet, perform all three over the next 12 months. Our friends at the Law Practice Management Section have some suggestions in their article entitled “What Gives: 21 Ways Lawyers Can Give Back—Every Day” (see page 20) to get your juices flowing as you prepare to Do Something.

October 18 to 22 we travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the Fall Meeting. This will be a joint meeting with the Midwest Regional Success Conference, building on the success of Bill Hogan’s Fall Meeting. After the Council Meeting on Saturday, Sandi and I will be hosting a picnic at Waldheim Park at my new home on Oconomowoc Lake. Please make your travel plans accordingly. We hope to see you there.

The October/November 2006 edition of GPSolo will be “Bumps in the Road 3,” continuing our much-acclaimed series on the mental health, substance abuse, and quality-of-life challenges confronted all too frequently by lawyers and their clients.

The January/February 2007 edition of GPSolo will highlight the best of solo and small firm conferences across the country. The editor is already compiling a master list of all solo and small firm conferences, and a page on our website is being constructed to feature this assemblage. The issue and the web page will promote Solo Days across the country, as well as the participating speakers. We not only hope to give notice of past conferences and presentations, but also to give notice of conferences to be held in the coming months. Once the work is done, we plan to keep this information current on our website as a service to our members.

We will then travel back to Miami for the ABA Midyear Meeting, February 7-13, 2007. I am sure many of you will welcome the heat of Miami in the dead of winter.

The April/May 2007 edition of GPSolo will spotlight the Coalition of Bar Associations of Color and its constituent groups: the Hispanic Bar Association, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the Native American Bar Association, and the National Bar Association. The issue will focus on what these organizations are doing, who are their leaders, what these organizations have to offer our members, and what we may have to offer to them.

This edition will be followed by the Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C., a joint meeting planned in conjunction with the meeting of the Coalition of Bar Associations of Color, to begin May 9, 2007. This will be a wonderful opportunity for our two organizations to get to know each other. I am very much looking forward to this exciting meeting, in one of the most exciting (and one of my personal favorite) cities in America.

We will conclude the year in San Francisco, California, at the Annual Meeting, August 9-12, 2007. San Francisco is one of the most popular ABA Annual Meeting sites. We anticipate a large turnout with lots to do—a time to celebrate having done something.

As by now you know, ABA President Michael S. Greco has established a Commission on the Renaissance of Idealism in the Legal Profession to rejuvenate the commitment to the legal profession in a number of areas, including performing public service that enhances the common good. Please visit www.abanet.org/renaissance to review the online Pro Bono and Public Practice Best Practices Resource Guide. As President Greco has stated, “Working together we can achieve a Renaissance of Idealism—making a difference for the legal profession and for the communities in which we practice and live.”

Once again, I ask that you help me do something next year by doing something for yourself, the profession, or your community, and by sharing that something with all of us.

John P. Macy, the guest author of this issue’s column, is Chair-Elect of the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division. He can be reached at jmacy@ammr.net.

 

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