GPSolo Magazine - December 2004

The Chair's Corner
Working Together, Without Boundaries

Collaboration is the buzzword of the moment. Collaborative law, collaborative lawyering, a New Age peace-making version of just getting along together, resolving differences amicably, working out win-win solutions instead of waging all-out war—that’s what everyone’s talking about. In fact, collaboration’s the theme of this very issue. Even the legal technologists have gotten into the act.

It’s enough to make you want to join hands and sing “Kumbaya.”

Lawyers may be learning the lessons of collaboration and evangelizing the importance of working together, even if our politicians aren’t. By the time this issue is in your hands, the results of this year’s highly contested presidential election should be history. Some of it has been entertaining, some of it frankly cruel and frustrating, and some of it tension-filled. I couldn’t turn on CNN without wondering whether I’d tuned into a marathon of campaign-talk. Fortunately, the ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division has snared my time and interest, tearing me away from worries about who will occupy the White House come January.

What the Section—and the ABA—offers that just isn’t found in too many places these days is a sanctuary of professional activity without regard to the political banner individual members are bearing. I’ve worked with many Section members for years without the first clue whether they were Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, or even members of the Natural Law Party. It just didn’t matter. Our focus on common goals of the legal profession transcended political boundaries, making for a refreshing, invigorating, and productive environment.

The Section’s commitment to diversity has brought in record numbers of lawyers of color, disability, ethnicity, social background—even styles of dress. This isn’t the typical ABA Section you might’ve seen a generation ago.

Where else but at a meeting of the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section would you find a dance floor shared by a blind lawyer dancing in triumph with a white cane, a pregnant judge, and a patent lawyer (as happened at our recent Fall Meeting in Beverly Hills)? Or a lawyer belonging to the NAACP sharing common ground with a lawyer from the NRA? Or lawyers wearing Hermes ties and lawyers sporting tattoos working together on shared concerns and common projects? How has that come to be, you may ask. Because the GP|Solo Section is all about collaborating, setting aside differences, and working together.

So, what’s my point? We are Team GP|Solo: Together Everyone Accomplishes More.



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