American Bar Association
Forum on Communications Law
FROM THE CHAIR
It hardly seems possible that two years have passed since I took the helm from Barbara Wall as chair of the Forum on Communi-cations Law. It is an almost unpardonable cliché to mention how "time flies when you're having fun" (although not quite as unforgivable as the endless puns that were derived from the phrase "superinformation highway"). But the truth is that what seemed in 1998 as a remarkably long period of time-two years-seems to have passed by in a nanosecond. And, truth be told, it has been a lot of fun.
This, too, probably is an unforgivable admission. Working on an ABA committee is supposed to be portrayed as hard work, drudgery, aggravation, something that is reluctantly undertaken for purely altruistic purposes by self-sacrificing do-gooders. With the work portrayed in that light, the theory goes, law firm managers and corporate CFOs will not look askance at a committee member flying off to yet another conference in Boca Raton or cast a suspicious eye on an itinerary for a trip to New York. But at the risk of being drummed out of the secret society or being stripped of my decoder ring, I have to confess that the last two years have been, well, fun .
Of course, there is hard work involved, and budget reports and ABA policies and directives are drudgery, and I must admit to some aggravation from time to time (particularly in dealing with budget reports and ABA policies and directives). But if I had to make the decision today to commit myself to a two-year stint as chair of this group, there would not be the slightest hesitation in my acceptance.
As I had anticipated two years ago, the opportunity to work with the talented and personable group of lawyers who participate in the Forum has been a remarkable experience. I owe many thanks to the Forum chairs who preceded me, not only to Barbara Wall, whose size five feet nonetheless left me with very large shoes to fill, but also to Lee Levine, Dan Waggoner, and other former chairs who always were willing to share with me the benefit of their wisdom and experience. There are too many former and current members of the Governing Board and Division chairs for me to thank each one individually for his or her contributions, but special thanks go to Jim Borelli, who took on the unenviable job of budget officer with great aplomb; Jerry Birenz, who has worked hard to turn our vision of a Forum Web site into a reality; and Tom Kelley, who has endured the slings and arrows of being the Forum's membership chair.
I also have been fortunate during my term to work with terrific editors for Communications Lawyer-past editors Andrea Hartman, Betsy Koch, and Mark Trinchero, and current editor Laura Stapleton. As my term winds down, Laura Stapleton will be joined by two new coeditors, starting with this issue: Deanne Maynard of Jenner & Block's Washington, D.C., office and Kurt Wimmer of Covington & Burling. This talented and creative trio, aided by ABA Managing Editor Wendy Smith, undoubtedly will raise the quality of our quarterly publication to even greater heights.
And Chair-Elect George Freeman not only has made the last year of my term a breeze, but he also enables me to leave the helm with confidence that the Forum is in good hands.
The opportunity to meet and interact with so many of the Forum's members over the last two years also has been a rewarding and invaluable experience. I am sure that every ABA section and forum is convinced that their membership is special, but in my heart I am certain that there could not be a more interesting, talented, creative, and personable group of lawyers than the ones who make up the Forum on Communications Law. It resonates throughout the programs that the Forum sponsors each year, including the Annual Meeting in February, the April broadcasting law program in Las Vegas, and the special programs sponsored during the summer and fall. This is a group of lawyers who learn from each other, and who enjoy each other's company, and it has been my pleasure to represent them as chair.