Volume 18, Number 6
September 2001


Steps to Action

Patrick G. Goetzinger

I was fortunate to attend the keynote address to the South Dakota Bar Association's Annual Meeting given by Elizabeth Bransdorfer of Grand Rapids, Michigan, incoming chair of the National Association of Women Lawyers. Her address, entitled "Steps to Action: The Importance of Bar Service to Attorneys and the Communities They Serve," was significant for two reasons.

First, it was received by members of a state bar organization that enjoys a better than 70 percent participation rate in its bar activities-a participation rate that is the envy of other state bar organizations. Second, the message that bar service is important for personal, professional, and public reasons was absolutely on target. Her comments summarized why our profession, and South Dakota lawyers in particular, become involved in service to the bar.

Elizabeth is from a South Dakota law family. Her parents, John and Mary Keller, are attorneys in Huron, South Dakota, and her brother Tom is a sole practitioner in Sioux Falls. All are active in bar activities. Long before Elizabeth returned to her home state, South Dakota lawyers were active participants in bar activities. Because she returned home, I suspect even more South Dakota attorneys will become involved, or evaluate how they can become more effective.

Matching her eloquence in explaining why counsel should become active in bar service, Olu Stevens of Louisville, Kentucky, winner of the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division's 2001 Bar Leader of the Year Award, provided the perfect compliment to Elizabeth's message. His message was that volunteerism provides a connection to the public. Bar service shapes the way the public view attorneys.

Both are very effective advocates for becoming involved in bar activities. If you are not yet involved in public service activities of the bar, you should be-now. If you already are involved, kick it up a notch!

Acting on the message delivered by Olu and Elizabeth are the attorneys giving service to the bar within the pages of this magazine. All authors in this magazine give something of value back to the profession. Authors appearing in ABA publications are among the scribes of our profession. They educate us, give us perspective, and expand our thinking.

Best of ABA Sections is pleased to regularly bring to you a substantial concentration of scribes in one magazine. The value to readers is incredible convenience and consistent high-quality articles. Where else can you find the variety of articles contained within these pages? The brevity of the articles and their variety combine to enhance the unique value of this publication.

As you flip from one article to the next in this issue, think of the value being delivered. Thank the authors for their service, and find the inspiration to drop a letter, send an e-mail, or give a call to your local or state bar, or to this Section to volunteer your services.

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