July 02, 2018

Views from the Chair

John Milner

Echoing my first Views from the Chair column from last September, I would like to express again, in this last column of mine, my gratitude for the opportunity to serve as your Section chair for 2017–2018.

A key aspect of each Section chair’s year is the support that he or she receives from the other Section leaders. That support moves forward our Section’s committees, publications, programs, and website. I have greatly enjoyed working with this year’s leaders. Each has done an outstanding job for our members, and I give my thanks to them all!

I announced four themes for this Section year in my first column that I believe have all been addressed by our leadership this year: (1) elevating content development and delivery for Section members, (2) ensuring diversity of perspectives in Section programming and publications, (3) expanding collaboration within the Section and beyond, and (4) enjoying Section membership.

Reflecting on the above themes, I would like to recognize contributions by some of our Section leaders who this year have diligently and effectively advanced these themes through cutting-edge initiatives.

Implementing the Section’s Facilitating Committee Action and content convergence initiatives

Content development and delivery continues to be an important focus for our substantive committees, as well as content collaboration among the committees. The “Facilitating Committee Action” (FAC) initiative was implemented this Section year by expanding the roles of our Section Council liaisons to the committees and by the creation of a new committee liaisons coordinator position. These committee liaisons—Peter Gioello and Pam Elkow for Committee Group A, Lauran Sturm and Rich Ericsson for Committee Group B, and Maggie Peloso and Angela Morrison for Committee Group C—have worked diligently with the committee chairs to encourage and assist them with content development. Linda Tsang has done an outstanding job as the first coordinator tasked to facilitate the liaisons’ work with the committee chairs. Linda’s insightful guidance for implementing the FAC process and her ability to address liaison and committee chair issues, as well as her weekly “Liaison Lookout” tracking reports, have provided a model for the new coordinator role.

Meshing well with this FAC implementation, the Content Convergence Committee initiative has been advancing collaboration among the committees in a more expansive way by grouping together committee efforts on related topics for greater effectiveness and efficiency. This year, the topic of cooperative federalism has been the focus a Section-wide coordination effort. For the last two years, Channing Martin has creatively spearheaded the development of our Section’s content convergence processes and led their implementation. Channing’s work has built a strong foundation for using content convergence as an integral tool for the Section to produce more and even better content going forward.

Chair’s Awards for Outstanding Contribution to the Section

For their tremendous contributions (many “behind the scenes”) throughout the year as committee liaisons, committee liaison coordinator, and Content Convergence Committee chair, I am pleased and honored to award, at the Section’s annual business meeting on August 5, the 2017–2018, Chair’s Awards for Outstanding Contribution to the Section to these deserving leaders (in alphabetical order): Pam Elkow, Rich Ericsson, Peter Gioello, Channing Martin, Angela Morrison, Maggie Peloso, Lauran Sturm, and Linda Tsang.

Thanks to each of them for their outstanding service to the Section on a continuous basis from June of last year to the current day. They “hit the ground running” to shape these new initiatives and never let up! Congratulations!

Coordination with ABA Sections, Divisions, and Forums concerning the New Membership Model

Beyond our internal initiatives, the Section’s leaders have joined with representatives of other ABA Sections, Divisions, and Forums (SDFs) through the Section Officers Conference (SOC) to jointly consider the ABA’s proposed New Membership Model that would offer enhanced benefits to legal professionals. Our Section’s immediate past chair, Seth Davis, has gained for the Section an elevated profile within SOC and ABA leadership regarding the relationship of the proposed New Membership Model to the SDFs. Thank you, Seth, for your outstanding participation in the process!

Enjoy the Section’s camaraderie

In closing, I hope that all of you, as Section members, participated in the fulfillment of the fourth of this year’s themes—enjoyment of Section benefits and relationships. As Section members, we are all part of the “premier forum” for environment, energy, and resources law practice. The best reward that the Section provides is the enjoyment of the camaraderie we share as friends and colleagues. Thanks to all of you for this year. Admittedly, serving as your chair was a lot of work … but it was also a lot of fun!

John Milner

John Milner is the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources’ 91st chair. A long-time Section member, Milner has previously served as publications officer, Council member, chair of the Special Committee on Section, Division and Forum Coordination, and chair of the Water Quality and Wetlands Committee. He is a partner in Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes PLLC in Jackson, Mississippi.