July 31, 2011

The Chairs’ Corner

Laura V. Farber


As you read this issue of GPSolo magazine addressing the importance of credit—everything from financing a law practice, managing client trust accounts, understanding credit reports, accepting credit cards in your practice, and representing small businesses seeking credit—you will notice that credit can impact whether a solo practice or small firm will succeed and will be able to service its clients effectively. These types of questions and issues represent the daily challenges and opportunities that a solo or small firm practitioner faces; the GPSolo Division is here to provide answers and solutions to address these issues. The GPSolo Division has something for everyone.

Many lawyers, whether they are general practitioners, solos, or small firm practitioners, struggle to be successful, struggle to service their clients, and struggle to serve the profession and the general public. The GPSolo Division has tools, resources, networking opportunities, continuing legal education, and publications that will help you meet these challenges. The GPSolo Division exists to serve you. It exists to do everything possible to make you a success. And it has done so for 49 years.

The last year has been no different. I want to personally thank Joe DeWoskin, our outgoing Chair, for his steady stewardship of our Division and his commitment to making the practice for solo, small firm, and general practitioners easier by going “Back to Basics.” Joe has given much of his time and I thank him, his family, and all those around him who have sacrificed some of their time with Joe to allow him to represent our Division and to represent all of you. I would also like to thank all of the officers this year, James Durant III, Immediate Past Chair, Vice Chair Benes Aldana, and Secretary Jennifer Rymell, for their unwavering leadership, support, and hard work. Also, I would like to thank John Macy, our outgoing Revenue Development Director and former Chair of the Division, for his leadership, as well as H. Stanley Riffle, our Budget Officer who has kept our financial house in order over the last several years. Our Division Delegates, William Hogan III, Sharon Stevens, and Dwight Smith (all former Chairs) have represented our Division wonderfully in the ABA’s House of Delegates. Also, our division directors, Council members, and board and committee chairs, vice chairs, and members, all part of our leadership team, have given their time, expertise, and support in making this Division strong and relevant. I also want to thank our Representative to the Board of Governors, Lee Kolczun, and our Liaison, Michelle Behnke, for their strong voices, advice, and effective leadership.

As we look forward to the upcoming year, I hope to build on the solid foundation laid by the 49 past chairs of this Division who have brought their experience and their wisdom to the table.

This is an exciting time and we have many projects, activities, and services planned for the upcoming year to help improve the lives of solo, small firm, and general practitioners. We are your voice and want to assist you in any way we can. Whether it be by providing leadership, CLE, networking, technology, practice management support, or our virtual law firm, SoloSez—we are here to make you successful. By providing opportunities to give back, either by pro bono, public service, or through leadership, we want to help you to better serve your clients, the public, and the profession.

Also, if you cannot come to us given the heavy demands of running a business, practicing law, involvement in community, and family life, we want to come to you. This is the reason for our push to webcast and make available on demand all of our CLE presentations, as well as our monthly teleconferences. From our Fall Meeting and National Solo & Small Firm Conference, which will take place in Denver, Colorado, October 20 to 22, at the Westin Tabor Center, to our monthly teleconferences and Midyear and Annual Meeting programming, you will have plenty of CLE opportunities available virtually at any time, date, or location that works for you. Besides GPSolo magazine and our excellent books, we will also share practice tips, office management advice, and technology through our new consolidated eReport, a monthly electronic publication.

Similarly, we will provide opportunities to give back, such as our pro bono project with KIND (Kids in Need of Defense) to provide training in immigration law so you can help unaccompanied children in immigration court proceedings, some as young as three, four, or five years old, who currently represent themselves. We also want to give you the chance to work with individuals who are struggling to become literate by talking to them about their legal rights.

The Division will also help bring you business opportunities and especially help to increase diversity in the Division and our profession by supporting efforts of minority- and women-owned solo and small law firms to become certified to bid on legal work.

We will do all of this and more with a fabulous cadre of amazingly energetic, dedicated volunteers who will lead our Division into the next 50 years of existence. However, we will definitely celebrate our past 50 years with a yearlong 50th anniversary celebration in 2012, starting with our Midyear Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, February 2 to 5, at the Sheraton Hotel, followed by our Spring Meeting in Charleston, South Carolina, at the DoubleTree Suites, May 17 to 19, 2012, then to our Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, at the Swissôtel, August 2 to 5, 2012, culminating in a celebration when Benes Aldana is Chair of the Division at the Fall Meeting in Seattle, Washington, October 11 to 13.

The projects and programs that we will spend energy developing and implementing will not be “one and done” but will be in place for the next three years. This will allow our members to hone their skills, increase their visibility, obtain needed support and expertise, and succeed and serve.

It is with great enthusiasm, excitement, and energy that we work toward the 2011–2012 Bar Year. We have something for everyone. It is just a click, e-mail, or phone call away. Please visit our website, send me an e-mail at lfarber@hahnlawyers.com, or call me at 626/796-9123. I look forward to working together toward a year of Success and Service.


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