April 01, 2016 Chair's Corner

What’s Coming Up? A Preview of GPSolo’s Year Ahead

David H. Lefton

By way of introduction, I am David Lefton, a native Cincinnatian. I practice law in Oakley, a suburb of approximately 10,000 people, six miles north of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. My firm is located just off Oakley Square amid the community’s restaurants and retail establishments. During my 28-plus years of practicing law, I have been a general practitioner and a partner in both small law firms (five attorneys) and mid-sized law firms (22 attorneys). I have chaired the Ohio State Bar Association’s Solo, Small Firm & General Practice Section and have been an active member of this Division’s governance in the ABA. Like many attorneys, I’m ambitious and want to be successful. I know what it is like when not enough is happening and when too much is happening, and I have experienced many, if not all, of the issues encountered in a small firm, general practice setting.

This year, I have the humbling personal and professional honor of serving as Chair-Elect of GPSolo, and starting this coming August, as Division Chair. We have been busy planning for the bar year ahead. Building on our strengths from 50-plus prior years of service to the profession, GPSolo will continue its award-winning publications and successful programs and activities and will initiate new programs and activities during the upcoming bar year. Additionally, we will have appealing Division conferences offering opportunities to travel, learn, and network with other attorneys and guests.

Our Theme for the Year Ahead

The legendary Will Rogers is often quoted as saying: “If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing.”

This quote pretty much sums up how we at GPSolo approach the support of our members. Indeed, for over half a century, through the love, devotion, and belief in what we do, we have offered—and continue to offer—publications, continuing legal education (CLE), and numerous other resources specifically geared toward making each solo, small firm, and general practice attorney the best attorney she or he can be. It is in this vein that I arrived at the theme for the 2016–2017 Bar Year: “Be all the attorney you can be.”

Are you looking for a way to develop and retain clients? Do you want to increase your business? Become better known in your community? Are you too busy and looking for good ways to handle all the work? Do you want the best technology available to support your law practice? Do you want substantive law through CLE and publications? Do you want discounts on insurance and other resources at special rates? Do you want to better serve your clients and the public? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are in the right Division of the ABA. To my knowledge, no other Division or Section of the ABA, or similar sections of state or local bar associations, provides such a broad array of resources to enhance your solo, small firm, or general practice or assist you in becoming “all the attorney you can be.”

This coming year GPSolo plans to continue providing usable benefits to its members, including, but not limited to, access to the following:

  • ABA Solo and Small Firm Resource Center (ambar.org/soloandsmallfirms), providing marketing, technology, practice management, CLE, and substantive law resources for solo and small firm lawyers.
  • GPSolo LinkedIn referral group (tinyurl.com/n24dlqt), a social media group where members can connect, make referrals, and read publications written and/or shared by other members.
  • SoloSez (solosez.org), the “virtual water cooler” for sole practitioners. This listserve boasts almost 1,500 subscribers to chat and share their knowledge of myriad subjects. Just put your question out there, and you’ll be astounded at the helpful feedback you’ll receive instantly.
  • Award-winning books and publications, including GPSolo eReport and GPSolo magazine to keep you up-to-date on the latest legal topics and practice methods.
  • GPSolo’s virtual Brown Bag luncheons, an ongoing series of hour-long seminars that are free to our members on subjects of topical interest, ranging from cutting-edge practice developments to substantive law and practice management advice.
  • Two Division conferences in exciting locales offering the opportunity for live CLE and to network and socialize with friends and colleagues.

Division Conferences in 2016–2017

Fall Meeting. From September 29 to October 1, 2016, our Solo & Small Firm Summit will take place in my hometown, Cincinnati, along the banks of the mighty Ohio River. Plan to attend and find out why Winston Churchill called Cincinnati “the most beautiful of the inland cities of the union” and why Jetsetter magazine (jetsetter.com/feature/where-to-go-2015) named Cincinnati one of the top ten places to visit in 2015.

The conference will take place at the Westin Cincinnati, located in the heart of downtown, directly across from the city’s living room, Fountain Square. The meeting will be held jointly with both the Cincinnati and the Northern Kentucky Bar Associations. This conference will offer exciting plenaries with high-profile national speakers and fabulous social events, including the Division’s inaugural Diversity Reception overlooking the Ohio River at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The meeting’s schedule will leave you with plenty of time to explore the newly restored and very hip nineteenth-century neighborhood, Over-the-Rhine; the internationally known Taft Museum of Art; the Banks area along the banks of the Ohio River; part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour directly across the Ohio River; and many of our other attractions, including a Reds game (the Reds host the Cubs this weekend).

Spring Meeting. From May 18 to 20, 2017, GPSolo will travel to warm and sunny Scottsdale, Arizona, for its Spring Meeting, which will be held jointly with the Group Legal Services Association (GLSA) conference. This exciting conference will offer abundant CLE, opportunities for networking, committee work, distinctive social events, and a break from the office in a vacation-like atmosphere. The conference will take place at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, home of the world-famous TPC golf course known as the “Stadium Course” and one of the best spas in the world. The Spring Meeting will leave you plenty of time to golf, spa, shop, hike, or explore Scottsdale.

Our Division conferences will offer an all-in-one environment for committee work, continuing education, and networking and idea sharing, along with a break from the routine at the office. So, come to learn new things, to be inspired, and to meet and network with colleagues from across the nation.

Working Together

It will give me great pleasure to serve as the Division’s Chair next year, and I invite you to look at all our resources by visiting our website (americanbar.org/gpsolo). The only way our Division can continue to flourish is as a team. I encourage you to join us at a meeting, to volunteer for a committee, or to participate in Division activities. With your interest and talents we can continue to develop valuable member benefits aimed at making all our member attorneys “the best attorneys they can be.”

David H. Lefton

David H. Lefton, the guest contributor of this issue’s column, is Chair-Elect of the GPSolo Division. He is an equity partner with Barron Peck Bennie & Schlemmer in Cincinnati, Ohio.