A service of the ABA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division

General Practice, Solo & Small Firm DivisionThe Buzz







Have You Accessed the ABA Smart Soloing Center?

The American Bar Association has launched the Smart Soloing Center—an online resource that is the latest in the Association’s growing portfolio of products and services designed for sole practitioners. The center aggregates content from across the ABA’s website and a host of Internet sources. It includes:

• The Solo Blog Network, featuring posts from some of the most insightful lawyers who are writing about the joys and challenges of solo practice.
• Articles drawn from the ABA’s dozens of substantive law magazines.
• The most popular discussions from SoloSez, the ABA’s free email discussion list for solo practitioners.
• The latest news about solos and small firms from the daily feed of the ABA Journal.
• Links to a wide variety of websites for solos.

ABA GPSolo Law Student Division Liaison Wins Award

Congratulations to Justin Silverman, Suffolk University School of Law, for winning an Outstanding Law Student Division Liaison Award!

Justin Silverman, law student liaison to the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division, has distinguished himself this past year with his exemplary service on the ABA GPSolo Membership Board. Justin Silverman brought the law student perspective to Division leadership and attracted law student interest through social media. He set up and maintained cutting-edge social digital media platforms, enhanced law student outreach programs at law schools, and wrote articles with impact.

Division Officers

The Division held its Annual Meeting of the Division Membership at the 2010 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA. Congratulations to the GPSolo 2011 Officers! Joseph A. DeWoskin, Chair; Laura V. Farber, Chair-Elect; Benes Z. Aldana, Vice Chair; Jennifer A. Rymell, Secretary; James M. Durant III, Immediate Past Chair; H. Stanley Riffle, Budget Officer; and John P. Macy, Revenue Development Director.

House of Delegates Election

The 2010/2011 Division Council held an uncontested election of a new Division Delegate to the House of Delegates at the Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Dwight L. Smith was re-elected to serve as GPSolo’s third delegate along with Sharon C. Stevens and William T. Hogan, III.

Solo and Small Firm Lawyers Caucus Breakfast

Thanks to Jack Rives, ABA Executive Director and William Robinson, ABA President-Elect, for their contribution to the Solo and Small Firm Caucus at the 2010 Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

GPSolo Awards Program

The 2010 Solo and Small Firm Awards winners were honored at the 2010 Annual Meeting in San Francisco at the joint reception with the ABA Section of State and Local Government Law at the S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien on August 6, 2010. Congratulations award winners!

Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Jeanne T. Tate, Tampa, FL

Ms. Tate is currently the managing partner of the Law Office of Jeanne T. Tate, PA, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Florida College of Law where she teaches adoption law and procedure. Ms. Tate has an extensive and exclusive practice in the area of adoptions, and has participated in the placement of more than 1,500 children in loving homes. As a member of the prestigious American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and The Florida Adoption Council, Ms. Tate has been active in interstate compact adoptions and has a comprehensive knowledge of adoption law. She works closely with adoption agencies to provide a full range of services to birth parents and adoptive families, and owns her own agency, Heart of Adoptions, Inc.

Ms. Tate graduated with high honors in 1978 from the University of Florida with a B.S. degree in journalism. In 1981, she graduated with honors from the University of Florida College of Law.

For the past several years in a row, Ms. Tate has been named as one of The Best Lawyers in America, Florida’s Legal Elite, and Florida Super Lawyers and has been recognized by Congress as an Angel in Adoption. Ms. Tate is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell. Over the years, Ms. Tate has been the recipient of several prestigious honors and awards including U.S. News – Top Tier Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” (2010); Guardian Angel, Voices for Children (2009), Tampa Bay Business Journal Business Woman of the Year (2009); HAWL Achievement Award (2009), Small Business Leader of the Year by the Tampa Chamber of Commerce (2006), Hillsborough County’s Pro Bono Firm Award (2006), and the Florida Adoption Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2004).

Jeanne is active in many local civic, charitable, and social organizations. She donates a number of pro bono hours to several worthwhile projects, has written prolifically, has appeared on local and national television on the subject of adoption, and lobbies extensively in this area.

Solo and Small Firm Project Award Winners: State Bar of Wisconsin and Milwaukee Bar Association (Joint Project) Solo and Small Firm Conference

The Project Award was accepted by Nerino Petro (State Bar of Wisconsin) and Britt Wegner (Milwaukee Bar Association)

The 2009 Wisconsin Solo and Small Firm Conference (WSSFC) arose from a partnership between the State Bar of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Bar Association. The Conference had several goals: delivering top quality educational information at an affordable cost, providing hands-on resources and materials, and doing so in a relaxed resort setting that maximized the opportunity to benefit from 32 program sessions spread over 2½ days (October 20–22, 2009)! The programs tracked each day in four areas: substantive law, practice management, technology, and ethics.

At all times throughout the planning process, the coordinators recognized the effect the struggling national and state economy was having on the target audience: solo and small firm practitioners. The coordinators successfully juggled seemingly conflicting principles: quality at a low cost. Financial aid was offered with graduated rates, subsidies, and sponsorship contribution. More than 98 percent of attendees want to return in 2010 and/or would recommend the conference to colleagues. What better measure of success in delivery?

Service to Others Recognition

At the GPSolo Council meeting in San Francisco on August 7, outgoing Division Chair James Durant presented Service to Others recognition certificates to:

Jeffrey Allen of Oakland, CA
Marvin Dang of Honolulu, HI
David Lefton of Cincinnati, OH
David Levesque of Damariscotta, ME
James Schwartz of Chicago, IL
Bryan Spencer of Austin, TX
SoloSez, the Internet discussion forum for solos and small firm lawyers

Call for 2010 Difference Makers Awards Nominations

The ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division is pleased to announce a call for nominations for its annual Difference Makers Awards Program to recognize extraordinary lawyers who “make a difference” by breaking down barriers for women, people of color, people with disabilities and regardless of sexual orientation.

These awards have been expanded to honor local attorneys whose dedication has made a difference to the profession or the community where the Division’s fall conference is held. However, the winners are not limited to only those in the local community. Rather than only recognizing solo/small firm lawyers or those working in the solo/small firm sections of local and state bars, these awards are intended for any size firm lawyers, educators, judges, and so forth who fulfill one of the award categories. Recognition is given in the areas of Breaking Barriers, Community Service, Service to the Profession, and Pro Bono Service.

Winners will be honored at the Division’s 2010 Fall Meeting and National Solo & Small Firm Conference Awards Ceremony in Austin, TX, on Friday, October 22, 2010.

Applications must be submitted by email to genpractice@abanet.org, faxed to (312) 988-5711 or postmarked no later than August 31, 2010 .


Please visit the website for more information at www.abanet.org/genpractice.


2010 Small Firm Awards

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

Call for Nomination for Officers and Council Member-at-Large—2011/2012

Joseph A. DeWoskin has appointed N. Kay Bridger-Riley to serve as chair of the Division’s Nominating Committee for the 2010–2011 bar year. The committee members are Chauntis Jenkins, Stephen Rosales,Patricia Sexton,and Alan Olson.

The Nominating Committee will meet during the 2010 Fall Meeting in Austin, TX, October
21–23, at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol to nominate members for the positions of Division Vice Chair, Secretary, and Members-At-Large of the Council. In accordance with § 4.4 of the bylaws, the Committee will nominate five Council Members-At-Large to serve four-year terms. Minority applicants are encouraged. The duties, terms of office, and eligibility requirements for each of the positions to be filled are outlined in the Division bylaws.

Please return your completed questionnaire to the Division Office via email at genpractice@abanet.org or via fax at (312) 988-5711 or mail directly to ABA, General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division, 321 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654 postmarked by Friday, October 8, 2010. Click here to download a copy of the nominating application or visit the website at www.abanet.org/genpractice.

During the Fall Meeting, each interested individual will have an opportunity to appear in person before the Nominating Committee to discuss his or her qualifications and aspirations. Please note that a personal appearance is not necessary for an individual to be considered by the Committee. Further, an appearance before the Committee will not entitle one to reimbursement for attendance at the meeting.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact N. Kay Bridger-Riley at (918) 933-9047 or by email at Kay@bridger-riley.com

Fellowship Programs

The ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division is pleased to announce the 2010/2011 Diversity Fellows: Ernest Morris, Jr., Matthew Pineda, Lara Trujillo Webb, and Arnettia Wright.

The ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division is pleased to announce the 2010/2011 Young Lawyer Fellows: Joel Carney and Kara Nyquist.


The Buzz is distributed automatically to members of the ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division.

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