November 09, 2018

Views from the Chair

Amy L. Edwards

When you read this column, we will have concluded our successful 26th Section Fall Conference in San Diego. We hope that you were able to hear the remarks of our keynote speakers Jeff Wood, Jonathan Brightbill, and Matt Leopold; to learn from our many timely and instructive panels; and to reflect on the accomplishments of our Section awardees. We also hope that you participated in our networking events and Leadership Day. Many thanks to Juge Gregg and his planning committee for a great conference! (Remember to mark your calendars now for the 37th Water Law Conference to be held March 26–27, 2019, in Denver, and the 48th Spring Conference to be held March 27–29, 2019, in Denver.)

The theme of the next few months will be that “the times, they are a-changing.” You may have noticed that the ABA website at www.americanbar.org now offers a new look and features. The new site should provide members with easier access to information, better search functionality, and a more mobile-friendly format.

You will also be hearing about the ABA’s New Membership Model (NMM). We want to be sure that you understand what this is and what it means for you. The ABA NMM is a new dues structure that was approved by the ABA House of Delegates (HOD) on August 6, 2018, in Resolution 177. There will be five dues categories:

  • $75 for new bar admittees, paralegals, and lawyers in their first 4 years of practice;
  • $150 for solo practitioners, retirees, government attorneys, non-profit attorneys, small firm lawyers, judges, lawyers in practice 5–9 years, international lawyers, and affiliated professionals;
  • $250 for lawyers who have been practicing 10–14 years;
  • $350 for lawyers who have been practicing 15–19 years; and
  • $450 for lawyers who have been practicing at least 20 years.

These new dues will go into effect in the 2019–2020 ABA bar year.

The ABA is currently offering a significant new member discount to qualifying non-member judges, lawyers, and associates. This offer is for 50 percent off full membership dues and one free Section membership for the membership year ending August 31, 2019. This offer is not valid if you were a member during the 2017–2018 membership year. Contact our membership officer, Jeff Dennis, at jdennis@aee.net, if you know anyone who would be eligible and interested. Alternatively, encourage anyone who might be eligible to visit ambar.org/discount19 and apply the discount code DISCOUNTABA19 at checkout or call the ABA Member Service Center at 800-285-2221 and mention the discount code. This is a great opportunity!

In addition, the ABA will be increasing member benefits by offering more free CLE webinars and other e-content that are curated to meet the interests of ABA members. Think Amazon and how it directs you to related products once you have bought one type of offering.

E-content includes articles, journals, newsletters, scholarly papers, reports, case summaries, outlines/checklists, podcasts/blogs, short videos, breaking legal news, and updates on legal and policy issues. The Section’s leadership has been thinking about its e-content creatively.

You are probably already familiar with some of our e-content available at www.americanbar.org/environ/: issues of Natural Resources & Environment and Trends, committee newsletters, and annual editions of The Year in Review. But do you know that we have curated webpages on topics including Waters of the United States and Toxic Substances Control Act reform, podcasts, short videos, and conferences papers? And this year, Section committees will begin publishing individual “newsletter-type” articles on a rolling basis to bring information to you more quickly than they had done in the past with traditional newsletters. We encourage every Section member to contribute e-content to the Section on a regular basis. Please consider posting on SEER Connect, our Section’s new interactive online web platform, your case summaries, short articles, checklists, and white papers and send us (via your committee(s) or the Section’s content convergence coordinators, Rich Ericsson and Stephen Smithson) suggestions for topics for CLE webinars, podcasts, and the like. Let’s “strut our stuff” and show other ABA members (and non-members) why we are the premier forum on environmental, energy, and resource law!

If you are interested in developing or providing content for the Section, a great place to start is with the Section’s substantive committees. Please contact the chair or appropriate vice chair of the relevant committee with your article, case summary, proposal, or offer to help. You can also watch the monthly “Section Source” email for calls for article proposals for Natural Resources & Environment or propose an article to the editor-in-chief of Trends. And, as always, please let me know if I can help you become involved in Section activities!

In addition to our Section’s e-content, beginning in September 2019, as an ABA member you will have access to a new ABA-wide online Content Library. With offerings from entities throughout the ABA, new content will be added regularly to the library to help keep you current. And you will have the opportunity to explore other ABA sections, divisions, and forums. Each month you will have access to several items of “members-only” e-content from entities of which you are not currently a member.

In conclusion, “the times, they are a-changing,” and we need to be changing with them. I trust that you will be with us in these changing times. Let’s show the world why we are the premier forum on environmental, energy, and resource law! But we need your regular and timely contributions of quality e-content to do so. It will take only a few minutes of your time. . . .

Amy L. Edwards

Amy L. Edwards became the Section of Environment, Energy and Resources’ 92nd chair during the Section’s annual business meeting in August 2018. A long-time Section member, Edwards has previously served as education officer, Council member, 21st Fall Conference planning chair, and chair of the Environmental Transactions and Brownfields Committee. She is a partner with Holland & Knight LLP in Washington, D.C.