General Practice, Solo & Small Firm DivisionMagazine

Section News

General Practice, Solo and Small Firm

New Name for Our Magazine

You’ll see some big changes when you receive the next issue of the Section’s magazine. We’re proud to bring you GPSolo, starting with the January/February 2000 issue. Featuring an eye-catching and readable new look, an information-rich contents page, and a shorter moniker, GPSolo will make you stop and take notice. We will continue to publish:

• Four issues each year presenting critical information about substantive legal topics and how to best manage your law practice.

• Two issues each year devoted to technology, designed expressly to address the needs of general, solo, and small firm practitioners.

• Two issues each year offering the best of the articles published by various other ABA entities.

Rapid Growth of New Minority Scholarship Fund

The new Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund, designed to provide financial assistance for racial and ethnic minority law students, has received more than $700,000 in contributions and pledges since its creation just two months ago.

The scholarship fund, which was announced by ABA President William G. Paul at the Association’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta in August, is well on its way toward the goal of $1 million by August 2000.

"We can best serve society if members of the legal profession come from all segments of the population, reflecting the diversity of the United States—and financial aid during law school must be a vital component of any effort to increase diversity in the profession," Paul said.

The scholarship fund is expected to award $5,000 of financial assistance annually to each scholarship recipient, beginning in the 2000-2001 academic year. An award made to a first-year law student may be renewable for each year, resulting in financial assistance totaling $15,000 during his or her three years of law school. Although the recipient will need to reapply for the scholarship in his or her second and third year, the expectation is that the scholarship will be renewed each year if satisfactory performance in law school has been achieved.

Students interested in the ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarships will submit an application providing information relating to their education, community service, and need for financial assistance. Before receiving scholarship funds, recipients will be required to demonstrate admission to an ABA-accredited law school.

The General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division was among the first sections to contribute to the fund, and individual members of the Council have contributed as well. Individual contributions may be made directly through the ABA Fund for Justice and Education, which encourages contributions through pledges payable up to five years.

Fall Meeting Highlights

More than simply a visit to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, the Section’s 1999 Fall Meeting in Cleveland afforded opportunities to work hard, network, and help others.

Las Vegas Night. Section members enjoyed fine cuisine and gambled the night away to raise money for Habitat for Humanity on October 8. The evening, sponsored by AXA Advisors and the Section, was a huge hit. This well-attended and successful charity event featured poker, blackjack, slot machines, and lots of laughter. It was held at Windows on the River, located in the heart of The Flats.

The Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity (GCHFH) is dedicated to the mission of making decent shelter a matter of conscience and eliminating substandard housing. Through volunteer labor and tax-deductible donations of money and materials, GCHFH constructs or rehabilitates homes in partnership with the families that will become homeowners.

GCHFH has developed more than 70 homes in six neighborhoods of the Greater Cleveland area. Each of these homeowners has been actively involved in the building of their own home, undergoes a rigorous application process, participates in workshops on homeownership, and invests 500 hours in Habitat projects. GCHFH firmly believes that ownership, from the planning process to the transfer of the deed, is the most important aspect of the program.

Multidisciplinary practice hearings. The ABA Commission on Multidisciplinary Practice is continuing to study the myriad facets of multidisciplinary practice. Are clients interested in receiving legal services from a multidisciplinary practice? Do lawyers want to provide legal services through multidisciplinary practices? What are the possible ramifications of multidisciplinary practice on the ethical duties of lawyers? An open hearing was held at the Fall Meeting. The testimony provided at the meeting will be posted on the Commission’s website at

What’s your perspective on this issue? We want to hear from you! Send us an e-mail at, write us at ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division, 750 N. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60611, or fax us at 312/988-5711.

Midyear Meeting

The Section’s 2000 Midyear Meeting in Dallas will feature a CLE program on technology, to be held on Friday, February 11. In addition, various Section committees will meet, including the Military Law Committee; the Publications Board; the GP Link Committee; the Marketing Board; and the GPSolo Editorial Board. For more information, contact the Section staff at 312/988-5648.

2000 Annual Meeting—New York/London

It’s not too early to start marking your calendars for specific Annual Meeting programs, meetings, and social events. For information on times and locations, please contact Section staff at 312/988-5648. New York events include:

Thursday, July 6, 2000

• Solo & Small Firm Day

Friday, July 7, 2000

• Annual Meeting of the Section Membership and Section Election

• CLE programs (info to come)

• Military Law Luncheon

• Welcome Reception

Saturday, July 8, 2000

• Young Lawyers Continental Breakfast

• CLE program (info to come)

London events include:

• Plenary Program: "David vs. Goliath: Solo and Small Firm Practitioners among Global Law Firms." Wednesday, July 19, 2:30-5:30 p.m., Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Fleming Room. If "bigger" and "global" seem to describe the new paradigm, how will solo and small firms compete in the coming era? On both sides of the Atlantic, lawyers, solicitors, and barristers have a compelling interest in the answers. This program will provide the tools for the next century that smaller firms and solos, both in cooperation and in competition with larger, global firms, will need to survive.

• Section Welcome Reception, Sunday, July 16, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Cabinet War Rooms. Take a private look at a very special place! What was once a secret known to few and open to fewer, is now open to all! Tour the room where Winston Churchill directed the war and see where he made so many momentous decisions during some of the bleakest days of the war.

The Roadmaps Series

If you’re interested in, or already involved in, projects and programs aimed at improving the justice system through section and division activities, pro bono efforts, or bar association committees, the Roadmaps series can help. It’s a series of plain-language "how-to" books that can help you work though these projects.

Each Roadmap addresses a different justice reform topic and is designed to help the community, the bench, and the bar work toward change in the justice system. Titles include:

• Judicial Selection

• Community Involvement

• Funding the Justice System

• Independence of the Judiciary

• The American Jury—Changes for the 21st Century

• Access to Justice—State Planning for Access to Civil Legal Services

The series was developed by the ABA Coalition for Justice and the Committee on State Justice Initiatives. Each Roadmap provides a complete discussion and explanation of the issues; how-to information; updated research findings; model activities at the state, local, and national level; ABA policy outlines; resources, including publications, audio and videotapes, speakers, and websites; survey information; informative charts and graphics; and discussion questions.

Roadmaps are available through the ABA Service Center at 800/285-2221. For more information, contact Mary Ann Peter, Assistant Director, Office of Justice Initiatives, at 312/988-6155. n

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