November 01, 2017 GPSolo

THE CHAIR’S CORNER: Wrapping Up Our Solo & Small Firm Summit, Introducing Our App

By Stephen D. Williams

Welcome to the Food Law issue of GPSolo magazine. In this issue you will learn about representing clients in food-related industries and the law of all levels of food preparation from the farm to your table, either at home or when you dine out. I hope you read this issue with the interest I have in these subjects, as healthy, safe food is something everyone wants, desires, and relies on in our daily lives.

I write this article on the plane on the way home from a very successful Solo & Small Firm Summit held in St. Paul, Minnesota. If you were there, I hope you had a great experience and enjoyed the impressive CLE programs designed to help you be a better lawyer in your practice. We received tips on a better life balance and managing stress in our practice and lives; ways to secure and retain quality clients ethically; tips on social media marketing and the potential ethical pitfalls that surround these actions; and tips on current technological advances, aids to make our practices more efficient, and better ways to manage our firms. Finally, we took part in a diversity roundtable, during which our speakers and those present had an open dialogue on several issues related to diversity in the law, as it affects both the law firm and the attorney-client relationship, and heard from several members who shared their personal stories of hurdles they have had to overcome.

One of the highlights of the meeting was our visit to the campus of Thomson Reuters. As you probably know, Thomson Reuters has had a lengthy relationship with the GPSolo Division as our Premier Corporate Sponsor. This year Thomson Reuters invited all Summit attendees to their Eagan, Minnesota, facility to kick off the meeting. They hosted a CLE program on law practice trends in the world of solos and small firm attorneys and how technology can assist us in operating more effectively and ethically. The program was extremely thought provoking, and I think everyone there benefited from the information provided. At the end of the program, Thomson Reuters hosted our Welcome Reception, which included the opportunity to have a professional head shot taken and a tour of their printing facilities where our books are printed, packaged, and shipped out to you when you order a Division publication.

A much-anticipated aspect of our Solo & Small Firm Summits is the Difference Makers Awards Luncheon, and this year was no exception. The Division honored four worthy individuals with awards. Congratulations to Dr. Artika R. Tyner, who won the Division’s 2017 Difference Maker Award; Alphonse A. Gerhardstein, who won the award for Making a Difference by Breaking Barriers; Eileen Sullivan, who was honored for Making a Difference Through Community Service; and Hon. LaJune Lange, who was honored for Making a Difference Through Service to the Profession. All our award winners set a high bar for each of us to follow in our day-to-day lives. The fact that two of these honorees—Dr. Artika R. Tyner and Eileen Sullivan—are members of the GPSolo Division speaks highly of the quality of our membership.

Lest you think that the Summit was all business, rest assured we also had several opportunities to network and enjoy each other’s company, beginning at the Welcome Reception and continuing with the Diversity Reception, the nightly Chair’s Hospitality Suite gatherings, and excursions to local sporting events. Thanks (once again) to Thomson Reuters, 30 Summit attendees traveled to the University of Minnesota on Saturday afternoon to see the Golden Gophers take on the University of Illinois Fighting Illini in a Big 10 football game.


As you may recall, I mentioned in a previous column that one of my goals for this Bar Year was to bring the Division into the 21st century with our own app for use on our smartphones and tablets. I am pleased to let you know that as of the Monday before the Summit, the ABA GPSolo 365 App is up and running. The app is available as a free download from both Apple’s iOS App Store and the Google Play Store. I urge all members to download the app, which will keep you up-to-date with upcoming Division events, programs, and each new issue of both the GPSolo eReport and our award-winning GPSolo magazine. The app also will give you direct links to Hot Topics, Membership Directory, Member Benefits, Job Listings, and more. Download the ABA GPSolo 365 App and kick the tires. If you have any comments about the app, please do not hesitate to leave feedback, either on the app itself or by contacting me or our staff. Last, I’d recommend you look on the app at the Gallery of photos from our recently concluded Summit, and as it gets closer to April, you can find the details of our Joint Spring Meeting.

If you have any problems downloading or using the app, please contact our Division Director, Kimberly Kocian; she will be happy to assist you.

A Look Ahead to New Orleans

As this issue is devoted to Food Law, I will take the liberty of previewing some of the delicacies you may want to sample when you attend our Joint Spring Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, April 25 to 28, 2018. Of course, we will have great programs for you to choose from to increase your knowledge in a variety of areas and to help you make your practice more profitable (for more, go to But we also have scheduled time for you to explore the city, the first weekend of Jazz Fest, and the amazing New Orleans cuisine. If you have ever been to New Orleans, I am sure you learned how important food is to the culture of the city. It is probably known as much for its restaurants as it is for its music and Mardi Gras. It is definitely a “foodie” city. If this will be your first trip to New Orleans, bring some stretchy pants because the food is not to be missed, and it is plentiful.

A short primer before you attend: The food of New Orleans is influenced by Creole cuisine, Cajun cuisine, soul food, and seafood. New Orleans cuisine is like a gumbo, a mixture of the French, Spanish, West African, and Native American peoples who had settled in the area prior to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Add in a little German, Italian, and other immigrant influences, and you get the food that makes the city famous.

I will leave it to you all to explore the Crescent City and sample the various restaurants there, but don’t overlook some of the city’s traditional foods, such as alligator, bread pudding, beignets and chicory coffee café au lait, crawfish and crawfish étouffée, gumbo, jambalaya, muffuletta, oysters, po’ boys, pralines, red beans and rice, and turtle soup. Whatever your taste, there will be a restaurant—be it a famous eatery or a hole in the wall—that you will enjoy.

Last, this is the November/December issue, which means you are receiving it during the holiday season. I would be remiss if I didn’t wish you and your families a happy holiday season and a safe and prosperous 2018.

Stephen D. Williams is Chair of the GPSolo Division. He is a sole practitioner in Flemington, New Jersey, focusing on family and criminal law.