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When I arrived in Chicago from Albany, New York, to become Director of the ABA LPM Section this spring, it was a bit of a culture shock, with both Chicago and the ABA being so big and having so much going on, too. Having worked as Director of Law Practice Management for the New York State Bar Association, though, I quickly came to feel right at home in the LPM Section.
There are, of course, multiple challenges and opportunities to address, since the ABA is in a time of unprecedented change. Among other issues, the ABA, like many membership organizations, is facing financial challenges and a decrease in membership. This means that ABA leaders, staff and volunteers are being asked to take a hard look at the association’s strengths and weaknesses to determine the best solutions. To name just a few of the changes that have occurred since I arrived, the ABA announced a new dues structure that lowers the cost of membership for solo practitioners to encourage them to join. And as of May 1, the ABA has a new Executive Director, Jack Rives, who has already begun addressing the challenges the ABA is facing, including possible ways to revamp the association.
The good news for us is that the karma is right for the LPM Section to meet its mission of providing practice management resources and support to legal professionals, regardless of practice area, size or setting. Our Section does not need to have a conversation about how it becomes relevant to lawyers–it always has been relevant and necessary. All lawyers want resources to help them practice law more effectively, and all practitioners need the information we provide. The LPM Section truly is a goldmine of people and resources, and this is a time for our Section to step up and be noticed—to work with other groups within the ABA and take advantage of the opportunities in front of us.
Section happenings. I’m extremely lucky to be surrounded by a talented, dedicated staff, whom I was first able to watch in action at ABA TECHSHOW® in March, during my first week in Chicago. The conference exceeded all expectations, from programming quality to attendance numbers. Since then, we have also had a very successful Spring Meeting in Las Vegas. Now we are hard at work preparing for the Annual Meeting in San Francisco, which will include a number of CLE programs and events, as well as planning for the LPM Fall Meeting in Washington, D.C. The Fall Meeting promises to be a spectacular event. We will conduct programs in conjunction with the College of Law Practice Management, and the ABA Women Rainmakers Mid-Career Workshop will immediately follow our meeting.
Keep in touch. I am excited to be part of all of this, and welcome your input. Please contact me if you have ideas or if you want to help with any of the Section’s activities or projects.
Pam McDevitt is Director of the ABA Law Practice Management Section in Chicago.
Samuel S. Smith Award At the LPM Spring Council Meeting it was announced that the late Edward J. Flitton will be the 2010 recipient of the LPM Section’s Samuel S. Smith Award. The Sam Smith Award was established in 1999 on the occasion of the Section’s 25th anniversary. It is the highest honor bestowed by the Section, recognizing an individual who has demonstrated outstanding lifetime achievement in the field of law practice management. The Award will be presented at the ABA and LPM Annual Meeting in August. Past recipients include Roberta Cooper Ramo, Jay Foonberg, Robert P. Wilkins, Fran Musselman, Jimmy Brill, Dick Reed, Warren Tomlinson and J. Harris Morgan.