GPSolo Magazine - March 2005

The Chair’s Corner

The Year Ahead

There is no dispute that the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section is enjoying a period of unprecedented prosperity and success. We now boast a membership exceeding 30,000 and are the fastest growing and the fourth largest Section of the ABA. I firmly believe that the best is yet to come.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter (Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, former editor of the Harvard Business Review, consultant to major corporations around the world, and author of 13 books) once said that “to stay ahead, always have your next idea waiting in the wings.”

As I complete my preparations to become Chair, I am pleased to report to you that the GP|Solo Section is firmly committed to this principle. The Section has historically enjoyed outstanding leadership, most recently thriving under Chairs Lee S. Kolczun, William T. Hogan III, and Karen J. Mathis. Each was firmly committed to the principle that continued growth and success depend on consistent planning, self-examination, and creating an environment that embraces the cultivation of that next great idea.

Just this past November, a group of the Section’s most talented members and contributors gathered in Chicago for an intensive planning session to expand, refine, and project forward the Section’s Product Plan, first implemented in November 2002. The original Product Plan spawned many of the Section’s present outstanding member benefits and products, and I believe our members will benefit greatly from the new benefits and products the Section will be bringing you during the next few months and years as a result of this most recent collaborative session.

It takes the efforts of many people to produce our Section’s numerous member benefits and products. I invite you to become more involved in our Section. If you would like to be appointed to one of the Section’s many Committees or to a leadership position, I invite you to submit an application for appointment online. You may do so by simply visiting the Section’s homepage (, reviewing the appointments information you’ll find there, and submitting your application online.

Our theme for the next bar year will be GP|Solo—Celebrating America’s Main Street Lawyer. The fact is that most private practitioners are solo and small firm lawyers. The latest surveys reflect that fully one-half of all private practitioners are solos. You know from your own experiences that throughout this country, it is the lawyers in our communities who make things happen—they volunteer countless hours to the leadership of their communities, schools, charitable organizations, the arts, and youth. During this coming bar year we will be celebrating some of the invaluable contributions of these Main Street Lawyers.

We will also continue our tradition of hosting excellent meetings throughout these United States. Our Fall Meeting will be in historic Boston, September 29 to October 2, 2005. We will be meeting jointly with the New England Bar, and, for the first time ever, many law students from the region will participate in our meeting. We’ll then travel to the always-entertaining city of New Orleans with the entire ABA for the Association’s Midyear Meeting, February 2 to 5, 2006. In the spring of 2006, our journey will take us to the heartland—Kansas City, Missouri—and we’ll conclude the year in sunny Honolulu, August 3 to 6, 2006 (start now saving your miles and making plans for this “do not miss” trip). These will all be great meetings that will continue our long tradition of providing outstanding opportunities for people to learn, become involved, network, and have fun.

I’m a solo practitioner in Tulsa, Oklahoma (well-known to most as the cultural center of the universe). If we’ve never met, I hope that will change sometime soon. I welcome your comments and ideas. Call me anytime at 918/585-1446 or send me an e-mail at I welcome your ideas. No doubt, somewhere out there someone is at this very moment thinking of that next great idea that will significantly improve our profession, our Section, and those we serve. I hope you’ll share it with us this year as we Celebrate America’s Main Street Lawyer.

Dwight L. Smith, the guest author of this issue’s column, is Chair-Elect of the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division. He can be reached at 918/585-1446 or


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