As the saying goes, “Membership Has Its Privileges.” Our featured member for January 2012 learned about the privileges of Division membership as a law student. This month we are shining the spotlight on Alan Fowler. He is a JAG Officer in the United States Navy. He serves as the Staff Judge Advocate to Naval Air Station Key West, which is akin to being the in-house counsel to a municipality. Alan was born in Guam and grew up in Florida. He attended the University of Central Florida, Mercer University School of Law, and is licensed in Florida. He attended Officer Indoctrination School and Naval Justice School in Newport, RI, and served his first duty station in Everett, WA. Although Alan has traveled and lived across the globe, his favorite city is Boston. He’s always been captivated by the history and culture of Boston because it is one of our oldest cities, and it was a featured community in the development of our country. When Alan has free time, you will find him reading, writing, and exercising. He is also an avid fan of fine dining, craft beer, wine, and the culture that surrounds it all.
Alan has always had a need to serve. His service stems back to holding a regional leadership role as a youth member of the Boy Scouts of America. He enjoyed serving on a national platform, and he wanted to continue to develop as a leader. However, his law school didn’t offer those sorts of opportunities. Through the ABA, he was able to continue serving. GPSolo allowed him additional experience in serving the profession and enhanced his development as a leader. Alan feels joining and becoming active in GPSolo was the best decision he made as a law student (except, of course, asking his wife to marry him).
The benefits of membership in GPSolo are endless. When Alan was asked how the membership has been of value to him, he responded,
The greatest value of membership in GPSolo has been as simple, and as profound, as belonging to a nationwide community of practitioners with shared interests and goals. Depending on the nature of one’s practice, I think most attorneys, particularly solo or small firm attorneys, tend to equate their legal world with their city or county, or perhaps their state. Likewise, law students don’t feel like they belong to the legal profession until they’ve graduated, or perhaps sworn into the bar (or maybe not even until they’ve started their first job). As a military attorney, it’s easy to equate the bounds of the legal profession with your service. Membership and service in GPSolo, however, expands these boundaries. You appreciate that the profession is larger than your local community or state. You realize that our profession is, at minimum, national, and is, in many respects, global. I believe this appreciation contributes to a happier, healthier, more productive life, as your network of colleagues, referral sources, and friends expand significantly.
Alan recognized the value of being a member at his first meeting. For him, it had the makings for an intimidating experience. He didn’t know anyone at the conference after all; he was “only a law student.” He can remember attending the opening event, a Chair’s Reception, hosted by then-outgoing GPSolo Chair Bill Hogan. As he walked down the hotel hallway toward the reception room, he could hear the attendees’ voices getting louder and louder, and he felt and heard his heartbeat getting louder and heavier. Nervous as he was, he had a feeling that, if he would merely enter the room and be himself, good things would happen, and he was right. He quickly learned that GPSolo’s leadership and its active members are very thoughtful, hospitable people. In their eyes, he wasn’t “only a law student,” but, rather, he was “the law student.” Throughout his first meeting and his two years as their Liaison, they sought to help him acclimate to the ABA and GPSolo and succeed as a contributor. Several of the people he met that first night in Atlanta continue to be his mentors and some of his closest friends in and out of the practice of law.
Currently, Alan is a Co-Chair of the Communications Committee. He is very passionate about all sorts of communication including speaking, writing, social media, and so forth. He has enjoyed creating and executing communications plans for the Division’s members and prospective members to learn about GPSolo and its offerings. He is particularly thrilled to be working on an updated vision for GPSolo and other long-term communications plans and strategies.