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General Practice, Solo & Small Firm DivisionThe Buzz







Different Lawyers Have Different Needs, Says ABA; Retools Dues Structure As First Step to Meet Them

The American Bar Association is addressing its value and relevance to each member and now is retooling its dues structure as a big step in rethinking how it serves the lawyers of America.
The ABA House of Delegates approved a new dues structure that will reduce costs by up to 50 percent for solo practitioners and by 25 percent for those who already receive a discount: government lawyers, lawyers employed by nonprofit legal services programs, and judges.
At the same time, the association is making it easier to join by creating flexible payment options, such as installment billing and auto renewals, and developing new tools and resources to benefit lawyers in their day-to-day law practices.
“We understand that practicing law is changing in myriad ways, and we are poised to help lawyers in diverse practice settings jump ahead of the challenges, no matter what their practice is,” said Carolyn B. Lamm, Association President.
“It is important for the ABA, as the voice of the profession, to broaden our participation among all lawyers, to make sure they are a part of our organization. We understand the challenges they face, and we know what they want are tools and services to help them meet those challenges every day, to help them provide the best possible service to their clients,” she said.
 “The ABA has always understood that there is no one-size-fits-all in the practice of law,” Lamm said. “The impact of the economic climate on legal professionals has underscored that truth.”
The new dues will take effect with a billing cycle that starts in May. Other dues initiatives and additional tools and services will be rolled out at the ABA Annual Meeting in August.
Sharon C. Stevens, solo practitioner from Keizer, Oregon, and ABA GPSolo Division Delegate to the House of Delegates, said, “The message to solo practitioners all over the country is that the ABA wants you. They are a vital part of this profession, and we want to do everything that we can to help them practice more efficiently, more effectively, and be part of the voice of the national association of attorneys.” Stevens was also featured in a video explaining the importance of this measure: www.abanow.org/2010/02/new-dues-rates-aimed-at-attracting-solo-practioners/.
The new structure for the identified lawyers was approved during the ABA Midyear Meeting in Orlando. The retooled rates were the result of a comprehensive dues pricing study, which included input from more than 9,000 lawyers.

Roundtable Discussion Examines Diversity in the Military

Representatives from several military Judge Advocate General’s Corps gathered Friday, February 5, at the ABA Midyear Meeting to talk about diversity within their ranks.

The U.S. Army JAG Corps has come a long way since 1971, when women made up only 0.5 percent and minorities 1 percent of the corps. In 2009, women represented 25 percent of the corps and minorities, 16.7 percent, Lt. Col. Paulette V. Burton explained. His speech kicked off the roundtable discussion titled “Diversity in the Military JAG Corps.”

The Army’s efforts to increase diversity include attending national minority bar meetings and regional minority job fairs, hiring summer interns, and offering a strong incentive plan for those who stay for the long term. Retention is a challenge. Read more at www.abanow.org/2010/02/roundtable-discussion-examines-diversity-in-the-military/.

Midyear Meeting: Recap

If you missed the CLE Program Smart Soloing: Effective Strategies for Diverse Lawyers, you can purchase the video at the following links. The program was very well attended in person and through the online audience, so you won’t wan to miss this opportunity.


Windows Media

Awards Program

Call for Nominations: 2010 Solo and Small Firm Awards Program

The ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division is pleased to announce a call for nominations for its annual 2010 Solo and Small Firm Awards. The annual awards program recognizes dedication to the practice of law as general practitioners or solo or small firm lawyers. Each year the Division honors outstanding solo and small firm practitioners, as well as bar leaders and bar associations at the Division’s Awards Ceremony held at the Spring Meeting. Recognition is given for Solo and Small Firm Lifetime Achievement Award, Solo and Small Firm Project Award, and Solo and Small Firm Trainer Award.

Winners will be honored at the Division’s 2010 Spring Meeting Breakfast at the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, on May 15, 2010. For a list of past winners, please visit our website at www.abanet.org/genpractice.

  • Applications must be submitted by email, fax or postmarked by February 26, 2010.
  • Please read the Awards Summary and Application Instructions before completing this form. To apply for a solo and small firm award complete the attached application and send to genpractice@abanet.org ; fax (312) 988-5711 or visit our website at https://www.abanet.org/genpractice/ .
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Solo and Small Firm Lifetime Achievement Award
Recognizes attorneys who have wide acceptance as having significant lifetime distinction as solo or small firm practitioners. It recognizes exceptional achievement by solo and small firm practitioners who are widely accepted by their peers as having consistently achieved distinction in an exemplary way. The winners will be viewed by other solo and small firm practitioners as epitomizing the ideals of the legal profession and of solo and small firm practitioners.

Solo and Small Firm Project Award
Designed to reward bar leaders and associations for their successful implementation of a project or program specifically targeted to solo and small firm lawyers.

Solo and Small Firm Trainer Award
Recognize attorneys who have made significant contributions to educating lawyers or law students regarding the opportunities and challenges of a solo and small firm practice.

The ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division’s awards program is underwritten by the generous support of West, a Thomson Reuters business.

Diversity and Young Lawyers Fellowships

Call for Diversity Fellowship Nominations
The American Bar Association General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division is pleased to announce the sponsorship of four Diversity fellowships in the Division during the 2010–2011 bar year. The nomination application deadline is March 31, 2010. Visit our website at www.abanet.org/genpractice.

Call for Young Lawyers Fellowship Nominations
The American Bar Association General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division is pleased to announce the sponsorship of two Young Lawyer fellowships in the Division during the 2010–2011 bar year. The nomination application deadline is March 31, 2010. Visit our website at www.abanet.org/genpractice.

Stars of the Quarter

GPSolo Division Group Directors publicly acknowledged the following leadership members as Stars of the Quarter for their latest committee or project achievement and contribution to the work of the Division at the 2009 Fall Meeting.

Division 1: Administration ( Jeffrey L. Solomon, Director)

  • Herman “Sparky” Gierke (Orlando, FL) Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee Co-chair

Division 2: Member Benefits ( Jennifer A. Rymell, Director)

  • David H. Lefton (Cincinnati, OH) Programs Board Chair

Division 3: Practice Specialty ( Elio F. Martinez, Jr., Director)

  • Kenneth A. Vercammen (Edison, NJ) Elder Law Committee Chair

Division 4: Practice Setting ( Marilyn J. Harbur, Director)

  • Ryan J. Albrecht (San Antonio, TX) Administrative and Government Law Committee Chair
  • Yvette Lloyd (Placentia, CA) Legal Educators Committee Chair

ABA Presidential Appointments

It is that time of year when we are provided the opportunity to gain influence over how the ABA treats our constituents; yes, that is right, it is Presidential Appointments Season. We are again making a concerted effort to obtain more representation for GPSolo in the ABA by applying for presidential appointments through President-Elect Steve Zack’s appointments committee. Accordingly, Keith McLennan has gone through the Red Book and identified the following openings on the various committees that provide for a presidential appointment. Please review this list and identify which committees you prefer. If you have already sent your nomination to staff, you do not need to send it again. Once you have done so, please log onto the appointments website at www.abanet.org/appointments no later than MARCH 1 , 2010, and follow the instructions to complete the self nomination form. Please copy Dee Lee at the Division Office at genpractice@abanet.org and Keith kmclennan@millerturetsky.com with your nomination. For any further information contact Dee at 312-988-5648 or Keith at 610-489-3300. More information on the appointment process is posted on the Division’s website at www.abanet.org/genpractice.

Committee Leadership Appointments – 10/11

Each year the Division’s Chair-Elect appoints more than 250 members to leadership positions within the Division. This year Joseph DeWoskin will appoint members to serve in various leadership capacities from active committee and board chairs to member of substantive and administrative committees. If you are interested in getting involved in 2010–2011, please visit the Division’s website at www.abanet.org/genpractice and complete the online application.

The deadline to apply is March 15, 2010. For any additional information, please contact the Division Office at 312-988-5648 or genpractice@abanet.org.

Please Donate to the Haiti Earthquake Relief Effort

The international rescue and relief effort in Haiti from the earthquake that dramatically affected the lives of millions of Haitians continues restlessly. This effort relies on the generosity of the public worldwide. I invite you to donate to this cause by finding a reputable organization—local, national or international—accepting monetary contributions. The following four entities are among the leaders of the effort:

The American Red Cross

Clinton Bush Haiti Fund

Doctors Without Borders


Choose among those organizations, or reach out to your local nonprofits, donate, and move others to do the same. Small and large donations will continue to make a difference in Haiti.

Our help is needed now, and will be needed for the nearby future; the recovery of Haiti will happen over time.



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