Volume 20, Number 4
June 2003


What's Next?

By William T. Hogan III

I have had a great year serving as the Chair-Elect of our Section. Most of my time this past year has been spent planning the next bar year as your Chair. After visiting with many members about the future of our Section, I am proud to report the energy of our members and the level of their enthusiasm for our Section are unparalleled in the ABA. I am very excited about next year and pleased to have this opportunity to present an overview of the next bar year to you. Now you know who I am and what I've been doing, but who are we?

In the past year our Chair, Karen J. Mathis, has led the Section membership through a renaissance. The programs and initiatives offered by Chair Mathis gave members the opportunity to rethink, renew, and retool. Next bar year, following Chair Mathis's lead, the theme for the Section will be "Who Are We." I must admit that my mother, and many others, have been wondering this about me for years!

Over the last couple of years our Section's leadership has engaged in a very comprehensive set of planning meetings. These meetings culminated with a five-year plan for the Section. The meetings were facilitated by Sarina Butler, Associate Executive Director of the ABA. Our Section owes her a substantial debt of gratitude for all of her work. Throughout the course of these meetings Sarina proved through her leadership and direction that she clearly is one of the best and brightest members of the ABA staff.

One of Sarina's suggestions was to use themes as an effective way to communicate our message to membership. When I informed Sarina my theme was "Who Are We," I could see her cringe. However, I recalled her advice that a theme should never question your identity. To cut her cringe short, I quickly added that my theme did not pose a question. Instead, it made a statement.

Our Section has just been through a renaissance, and it is now time for the members of our Section to revel in the understanding of who we are. We are many different people, but we are all lawyers. Ours is a proud profession. Think about our professional heritage. At the birth of our country, our friends in medicine were using leeches while lawyers were crafting the organic documents that have sustained this nation for more than 200 years. My objective this next bar year is to bring you programs, projects, and plans acknowledging and celebrating all that we are as lawyers.

Let me briefly describe for you what we, as lawyers, will be engaged in during the next bar year. We will begin the year in August at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco. I have appointed a Steering Committee that is charged with the responsibility of reviewing the five-year plan. The Steering Committee will discuss the components of the plan with Section members and provide the leadership with action steps and a timeline for implementation of the plan. Although this is a large undertaking, it will help members of the Section and leadership to maintain continuity and direction.

Our Fall Meeting will be October 16 to 19, 2003, at the Minneapolis Hilton in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We will begin Thursday with an opening session and reception followed by a full day of CLE and committee meetings on Friday. The Section Council will meet on Saturday. The host committee has planned several outstanding social events. Our meeting will be held in conjunction with the Midwestern Regional Solo and Small Firm Conference. I am also pleased to announce the ABA Standing Committee on Solo and Small Firm Practitioners will join our meeting. The participation of these two significant groups will produce a great mix of ABA and non-ABA members in attendance.

The ABA Midyear Meeting will be held February 5 to 8, 2004, and our Section will be staying at the Marriott Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas. We will be sharing the hotel with our good friends from the Young Lawyers Division. The Midyear Meeting is a great opportunity to measure our progress and to work on the various issues affecting Section membership pending in the House of Delegates.

The Section's Spring Meeting will be held April 22 to 25, 2004, in Phoenix, Arizona. I am currently looking at two resorts that will allow our members a relaxing-and thrifty-weekend. The meeting will focus on lawyers who have made a difference in our profession. The bar year will end in August at the ABA Annual Meeting in Atlanta.
With the help of Section members, we have planned many exciting events for the coming bar year. There are numerous opportunities for people to become involved, network, socialize, and learn. We come from a variety of backgrounds; we have different personalities, experiences, and practice settings, but we all know who we are. We are lawyers, and I invite you to join us as we celebrate who we are.

William T. Hogan III, the guest author of this issue's column, is Chair-Elect of the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division.

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