May-June 2014

Welcome home: Bar headquarters move, renovate, refocus to meet member needs

Features

Welcome home: Bar headquarters move, renovate, refocus to meet member needs

Whether moving to a new place or improving their current home, many bar associations have recently taken another look at their headquarters and how well it serves members. Here’s the inside scoop on a few bars that have taken this on—including one that will receive an award from ASAE for the way it invited members to come see their new home.

Borrowing from the TED talk format, six speakers gave attendees at the 2014 ABA Bar Leadership Institute their vision of the future of the profession and of bar associations—all in an hour and 20 minutes. Key concepts: “rebranding” the practice of law, and a question about whether most people can afford a lawyer after all.

One speaker joked that the best title in association work is immediate past president. Another said the bar presidency is “the icing on the cupcake of your career.” Which is right? Both, said this panel of presidents, past presidents, and executive directors at BLI 2014. If you’re in line to be president, find out how to make the most of it—and why it matters whether you’re having fun.

Want to write a president’s page that makes people sit up and take notice? Give an interview that leads to an accurate story and a great relationship with the local media? A panel of expert bar communicators was on hand at BLI 2014 to offer tips on these communications skills and more.

BLI couldn’t be as compelling an event for incoming bar leaders without generous support. Here’s a thank-you from the ABA Division for Bar Services and ABA Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services to this year’s sponsors.

Unmet legal needs. Competition from outside providers. Unemployment and underemployment of lawyers. These are just a few of the many challenges facing the legal profession and the justice system today. A new ABA effort convenes bar leaders, the judiciary, local practitioners, and others to discuss ideas and innovative solutions. The first such meeting was in St. Louis on April 21—find out how you can host one in your area.

In January 2014, on orders from the state Supreme Court, the Nebraska State Bar Association became what may be the first-ever hybrid between a voluntary bar and a unified one. Meanwhile, a task force is due to report in June on whether the State Bar of Michigan should remain unified. What’s the latest on these developments—and should other unified bars be worried?

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