Hosted by the ABA’s Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services and the Division for Bar Services, the 36th annual conference—typically known as BLI—prepares new bar leaders and their staffs to lead their associations in service to members, the legal profession and the public.
“We have one focus and goal: preparing you for one of the most important assignments you have—doing your best for your bar,” said Bill Bay, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services, in a message to conference attendees.
Bay, who previously served as a bar leader in St. Louis, noted the conference focuses on teaching about inspirational leadership, good governance and effective communication.
The conference kicked off with a welcome from ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III, who spoke from experience as past president of the Kentucky Bar Association, Kentucky Bar Foundation and National Caucus of State Bar Associations.
Robinson spoke of the primary advocacy issue of his term—the crisis of state court underfunding—and urged bar leaders to join efforts in their states to maintain adequate funding for the third branch of government.
Conference participants also heard a keynote on “Total Leadership” by Dr. Stewart Friedman of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
Workshop sessions covered topics such as financial planning, meeting management, volunteer motivation and presidential communications.
Also addressing the group were ABA President-elect Laurel Bellows, who outlined goals for her upcoming term; House of Delegates Chair Linda Klein, who described the ABA’s policymaking process; and Section Officers Conference Chair Ginger Busby, who encouraged bar leaders to use the resources of ABA sections and other practice-specific groups.