January-February 2014

Affordable Care Act prescription for bar associations and members: Take in information daily, update frequently


Affordable Care Act prescription for bar associations and members: Take in information daily, update frequently

At many bar associations, solo and small-firm practitioners make up more than half of the membership—and those are precisely the members who most need information about the Affordable Care Act. Are you prepared to fill them in on how it will affect them as individuals and as small businesses? And what about the bar association itself?

For many incoming bar presidents, the year or two leading up to the presidency is a time of preparation, anticipation—and anxiety. Bar Leader will soon begin following along with a few leaders who are on that journey. We’ll find out what they’re learning (including at the 2014 ABA Bar Leadership Institute), what they’re thinking about—and what keeps them up at night. Find out more about this exciting new project.

As the lawyer population ages—and does not necessarily retire—sometimes, cognitive impairment causes a stellar career to end in discipline and disgrace. And it’s not just an issue for senior lawyers: Some conditions can have an early onset. If you know a lawyer who is beginning to make mistakes, how do you have a difficult, but necessary conversation? Here’s how one bar association is engaging both its members and behavioral health experts to help protect the public—and preserve dignity.

Remember when the law was a noble profession, bound by certain courtesies and expectations of behavior? It still is—but it needs support from bar leaders and members to help keep it that way. Joseph Paul Justice Burke III, executive director of the Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) Law & Library Association, reports on a major project organized by the Palm Beach County (Fla.) Bar Association, and a simple, but effective step taken by his own bar.

Among the organizations across the country that recently received grants to conduct public programs on civility, in partnership with the ABA Division for Public Education, were three state bar associations: Vermont, Missouri, and Tennessee. Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) bar executive Joseph Paul Justice Burke III looks at those bars' outstanding programs as part of this nationwide “dialogue” on civility—and why the conversation is far from over.

It’s hard to believe, but Facebook turns 10 years old in February 2014! Many bar associations are now on social media, including the big three—Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—and often other platforms, too. But what about bar foundations? Here, experts Keith Kamisugi and Bilen Mesfin Packwood explain why even a short-staffed bar foundation should consider going where their potential donors and supporters are.


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