May-June 2015

Unaccompanied but not unrepresented: Bar associations, lawyers assist immigrant children

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Unaccompanied but not unrepresented: Bar associations, lawyers assist immigrant children

A child sits alone in a courtroom, listening to a plaintiff’s attorney and judge who speak a language that he or she doesn’t understand—and they’re talking about whether the child should remain in the United States or be deported. If that sounds wrong to you, you’re not alone: A growing number of bar associations and lawyers are coming together to ensure that every unaccompanied immigrant child has legal representation in court cases concerning them.

What would happen if your entire board went on a cruise? Would life at your bar association go on as usual? Would some members actually be glad they were gone? That was just one of the thought-provoking lines of questioning raised by governance expert Vicki Clark of Building the Capacity of Organizations. Clark offered practical tips to ensure that your board is moving the mission forward and creating a “culture of inquiry” and learning.

Want to be a great bar president and build an effective relationship with your executive director? The first step is to show up—that is, to be an active, engaged leader and a visible “face” for your bar association. Also, think in terms of themes or focuses rather than initiatives. Here, executive directors and past presidents offer advice for those about to take the helm.

See BLI through the eyes of an incoming leader who attended. Giselle Carson, president-elect of the Jacksonville Bar Association, shares some of her top takeaways and how she might apply them during her term.

The ABA Division for Bar Services and Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services extend their thanks to all the generous sponsors who helped make the 2015 ABA Bar Leadership Institute such an outstanding event.

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