Milestones

Vol. 9, No. 1

Bro chairs the Section’s Membership and Diversity Committee and was the 2008–2009 Section Chair. She can be reached at ruth.bro@comcast.net.

Milestones. We all have them. Some are planned—like birthdays and anniversaries. Others come along when we don’t expect them. But inevitably, such milestones involve celebrations of, and with, people who matter.

SciTech has reached one of those milestones: a farewell to a remarkable colleague and an opportunity to reflect on what makes the Section so special.

For more than a decade now, Shawn Taylor Kaminski has served as the director of the Section of Science & Technology Law. Shawn came to SciTech on April 16, 2001, with more than 12 years of experience at the ABA in various staff positions, including as acting director for two other ABA Sections. She liked SciTech so much that she remained with the Section for nearly half of her ABA career. It was only the extraordinary opportunity to serve as the director of the ABA’s Commission on Women (whose mission is to secure the full and equal participation of women in the ABA, the legal profession, and the justice system) that compelled Shawn to leave on April 17, 2012—almost 11 years to the day after she first came into our lives.

Although we’re losing Shawn’s daily influence on all things SciTech, it seems more fitting to focus on what the Section has gained over the many years in which she has been working behind the scenes on behalf of all SciTech members. During this time, SciTech has grown from approximately 7,400 members to more than 10,000 strong. Likewise, the number of benefits offered by SciTech to its members since 2001 has grown exponentially:

  • Programs: SciTech has gone from 6–8 programs (at the ABA Annual Meeting) to more than 30 programs annually that go well beyond the Annual Meeting, including webinars/teleconferences and in-person programs (e.g., our new Think Outside the Box Lunch local events), coming with or without CLE credit, and provided at a substantial member discount or for free (e.g., two free-to-members webinars/teleconferences annually), plus 10 cosponsored programs. Members also now have access to a podcast archive with more than 20 programs across six topic areas.
  • Publications: As before, SciTech provides all members with Jurimetrics, the Section’s quarterly law review, but now it is searchable in its new e-format. Where members once received a 12–16 page quarterly newsletter called BLAST(Bulletin of Law/Science & Technology), they now receive a 28–36 page glossy quarterly magazine called The SciTech Lawyer with more in-depth and comprehensive coverage of substantive topics. Members now also receive a third quarterly electronic publication, SciTech e-Merging News (with timely practice perspectives and Section activities/opportunities), as well as free access to dozens of SciTech articles in the ABA Web Store.
  • Books: The Section now publishes an average of three to six books per year under the oversight of SciTech’s Book Publishing Board instead of publishing books on an ad hoc basis. Members get these books at significant discounts and also now receive a free SciTech book chapter each quarter.
  • Professional development resources: Members now have access to a variety of free publications and teleconferences focused on professional development.
  • Committees/listserves: Then and now, members receive unlimited access to deep-dive, hot-topic committees and listserves, which change as new issues emerge.

What a difference a decade makes. Year after year, our wonderful Section Director has deftly helped SciTech to stretch and grow in ways that have served our members well.

When I asked Shawn what it was that kept her at SciTech for so long, her answer was simple: the people. It’s an answer I’ve heard time and time again from members who get involved in the Section. SciTech is collaborative, intellectually curious, wonderfully diverse, collegial, and inclusive. The more active you become in SciTech, the more apparent those qualities become. One of Shawn’s most important jobs, and greatest achievements, has been to make sure the Section stays that way.

The news of Shawn’s well-deserved promotion prompted a flurry of email among SciTech leaders who were thrilled for our friend and colleague, but sad at losing such a talented and respected Section representative. Perhaps Raymond L. Ocampo Jr., SciTech’s 2001–2002 Section Chair and past member of the Commission on Women, said it best: “It’s clear from both the tone and the substance of the outpouring of support for Shawn that she’s special. We love her dearly for her genuineness and effectiveness and for everything she’s done for us individually and collectively. We could not have asked for a better director.” He addressed his next comments directly to Shawn: “Thank you for all your contributions and for the way you have touched our lives. You’ve made each of us feel a part of the SciTech family, and you will always be a part of us, no matter where you may be in the ABA.”

Shawn Taylor Kaminski’s familiar STK initials are gone from our letterhead, but I like to think that the ST in her name stands for SciTech and that she’ll carry us with her wherever she goes . . . and be there in spirit as SciTech celebrates future milestones.

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