It’s time. There’s a finality and relief in those two words. After 23 years as Bar Services director and most of my adult life being tied to a fiscal year schedule defined by regional conferences, budget planning, midyear/BLI/annual meeting, I’m opting for no schedule … at least till the novelty wears off.
Of course, I also have to clean house—really. So I’ve been clearing out all the paper I’ve accumulated over the years. This has been a liberating exercise, knowing that most of what I’ve collected was “just in case.” While there is no longer a need for fingertip access (you know I have been unable to cross over to a paper-free mindset), I still can’t resist looking at the articles and notes I have saved. I have created three folders, two that will likely follow me home: one for all the professional development articles I saved that may still come in handy (or that I will share with my children), and one for those personal letters that recall a special memory, an event, a friend. The third folder will supplement the Bar Services archive that is part of our history.
Whether hard-copy or digital, that history is valuable: It reminds us how and why we came to be and how those beginnings continue to define and direct the work of the ABA Division for Bar Services. In retrospect, the task force reports of the 1973 and 1976 Caravans, led by ABA presidents, presidents-elect and the executive director, and state and local bar leaders who were active ABA members, were disruptive in that they set a new direction and tone that would define the ABA going forward.
These were not reports that sat on a shelf; these reports set in motion a series of developments that resulted in creation of a standing committee to serve as “the eyes and ears of the ABA,” creation of a magazine devoted to reporting news and developments in the bar world, a leadership training program for incoming leaders of bar associations, and a professional staff that would provide a clearinghouse of information and create and support a partnership between the ABA and bar associations nationwide through outreach efforts.
I am glad to have been a part of this, and to have had the opportunity to meet and work with so many professionals of exceptional character. My “wall of fame” with the names of bar leaders I’ve known and loved could paper my house. And in the summer weeks that remain, in addition to preparing for the Annual Meeting, finishing my parts of the Division’s procedures manual (finally, staff will know what I did), and packing for yet another move (one floor up), I will continue to enjoy looking at old hard-copy issues of Bar Leader and programs from NABE/NCBP/NCBF midyear and annual meetings.
While I won’t be taking any of these items with me, I will pack my National Geographic map of the United States and hang it in my home office. A visual reminder of where my travels on behalf of the ABA have taken me through the years, it will keep you and the work of your bar associations in my memory. This has been quite a journey. Thank you for your trust, your inspiration, and for all you do on behalf of the public and the legal profession.