January 22, 2019 GPSolo Division News

Division Announcements

ABA Presidential Appointments Call for Nominations

We are honored to recommend to ABA President-Elect Judy Perry Martinez extraordinary leaders from within our Division to fulfill her Presidential appointments. We encourage you to seek a Presidential appointment this year; please visit ambar.org/appointments for detailed instructions and the online application, which is available through February 15, 2019.

To facilitate our efforts to support your nomination, please apply first and then provide a digital copy of your nomination data to the Division at gpsolo@americanbar.org no later than February 4, 2019.

Application Advice

When completing the personal statement in the application, please specify your qualifications, commitment to the goals of the committee, and prior experience, as well as ABA or relevant state and local bar association experience. If your statement is cursory or too long, members of the Presidential Appointments Committee will pass over the application. Each member of the Appointments Committee is assigned to review several committees and will be focused on making recommendations as to those committees, so don’t expect that the person responsible for the committees you select will know you. Geography is a factor, so you have a better chance of getting on committees where there is no similar representation. Although some of us may apply for the same positions, do not let that possibility dissuade you from applying; we can sort it out after you submit.

To maximize your potential of receiving the appointment, here are some techniques that seem to work:

  1. Electronically nominate yourself for the position.
  2. Ask a Section, Division, or other group to electronically nominate you.
  3. Contact the person on the Appointments Committee responsible for making recommendations to the president-elect and ask for support.
  4. Contact other members of the Appointments Committee that you know and ask for support.
  5. Contact the current committee chair for the committee in which you have an interest and introduce yourself and ask for support.
  6. Contact the staff of the committee and ask for support.
  7. Contact your friends in leadership and ask that they nominate you either electronically or by sending a letter to the president-elect, the committee, or the committee staff.
  8. Ask the president-elect to appoint you.

The online nominations application system is integrated with the ABA’s association management system. Therefore, it is critical that your ABA member profile is as complete as possible. Otherwise, the Appointments Committee will not have the necessary information about you for their vetting process.

Additional information can be found in the FAQ and Step-by-Step Guide.

Requests for GPSolo support need to be sent to the Division Office by February 4, 2019.

You must apply to the President’s Office no later than February 15, 2019, to be considered.

GPSolo Nominating Committee Report

The ABA Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division’s 2018–2019 Nominating Committee consisted of the following members: Chair, Jennifer A. Rymell, Benes Z. Aldana, Henry Hamilton III, Thomas P. Tully, and Melody Wilkinson. The Committee met in person in Charleston, South Carolina, on October 25 and 26 at the 2018 YLD & GPSolo Fall Conference: Tradition Meets Innovation. The Committee was charged with nominating a candidate for the office of Division Secretary and five candidates to serve as Council Members-at-Large.

Special efforts were taken to ensure each candidate’s interview was conducted in a professional manner, identical in scope and objective. Each applicant was allotted 20 minutes for his or her interview. During the respective interviews, each candidate was afforded an opportunity to share any information the candidate wanted the Nominating Committee members to consider. In addition, Nominating Committee members were given an opportunity to make whatever inquiry they deemed appropriate of the candidates. At the conclusion of the interviews, the Nominating Committee considered all applicants. After extensive deliberations, the Nominating Committee voted on each position and, in accordance with Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Bylaw 7.3.1., has submitted the following slate of nominated candidates for Division Secretary and Division Council Members-at-Large for the Bar Year beginning at the 2019 ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California.

Division Secretary

Scott C. LaBarre. LaBarre of Denver, Colorado, is a sole practitioner who practices in the areas of employment law, disability rights, and international copyright policy. He received his JD from the University of Minnesota and his BA from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. Prior to launching his own firm in July 1998, LaBarre acted as the general counsel of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado. He served in that capacity for five years. In October 2005 LaBarre was elected as the president of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado and also serves as chair of the PAC committee that is responsible for the Federation’s largest national fundraiser. Currently, he is president of the National Association of Blind Lawyers and serves as vice chairman of the Board of Directors for the Colorado Center for the Blind. From 1996 to 2002 LaBarre served as president of the National Federation of the Blind of Denver. Due to his outstanding service with the National Federation of the Blind, he has been the recipient of the Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award for work on the Marrakesh Treaty and the Raymond W. McGeorge Award for outstanding service to the blind. Additionally, LaBarre has been very active in national, state, and local bar associations. He began his involvement with the American Bar Association in the early 1990s, holding several leadership positions in the ABA Young Lawyers Division. He is a member of the American Bar Association Board of Governors, where he serves as Chair of their Member Services Committee. LaBarre has received presidential appointments to several ABA commissions as well, most notably as the chair of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law. The Commission is charged with the important work of increasing opportunities for lawyers with disabilities in the profession. His work in the GPSolo Division has included serving two terms on the GPSolo Council, on the Membership Board, and on the Young Lawyers Committee, just to name a few. LaBarre’s state and local involvement included serving as a member of the Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors and treasurer and member of the Executive Council of the Denver Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division.

Council Members-at-Large

John Austin. Austin of Raleigh, North Carolina, is a sole practitioner who focuses on commercial litigation, personal injury, labor and employment, and landlord/tenant law. He is a commissioner with the Housing Authority of the County of Wake and has served in that capacity since 2006. Additionally, through his work with the North Carolina State Bar, he serves on the Carolinas Council of Housing, Redevelopment and Code Officials as a code official and the Southeastern Regional Council of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment. Austin received his BA in English from North Carolina State University and his JD from Campbell University School of Law. He is currently serving an unexpired term as a GPSolo Council Member-at-Large and has used his love for writing to contribute to many legal publications. Austin was the associate editor of the ABA Young Lawyers Division’s Affiliate magazine, held an appointed position on the ABA Standing Committee on Publishing Oversight, and is now a member of the GPSolo Division Book Publications Board and the North Carolina Bar Association Newsletter and Publications Committee.

David H. Lefton. Lefton of Cincinnati, Ohio, is a partner in the law firm of Barron Peck Bennie & Schlemmer, Co. LPA. Lefton’s main area of concentration is estate planning, trust administration, and probate. He helps individuals of all ages and families achieve their estate-planning goals. Lefton is a leader in the Ohio State Bar Association and the American Bar Association. He has served as the District 1 representative on the Ohio State Bar Council of Delegates and Board of Governors, as well as the section chair of the Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Council for District 1. With respect to Lefton’s ABA experience, he has received two presidential appointments to the Standing Committee on Group and Prepaid Legal Services and the Standing Committee on Continuing Legal Education. Lefton’s contributions to the GPSolo Division have been extensive, having served as Division Chair in 2016–2017. He has also served as chair of the Division’s Programs and Book Publications Boards. He is the current chair of the Division’s Member Services Board. Lefton’s work has been recognized in the Division with the Chair’s Award in 2007, the Service to Others Award in 2010, and four Star of the Quarter Awards.

Deian McBryde. McBryde of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a sole practitioner specializing in family law. He received his BA and JD from the University of New Mexico. Prior to going back to school to obtain his law degree, McBryde was an entrepreneur and a professional musician. He was also a non-commissioned officer with the U.S. Air Force (USAF). During his time with the USAF he was honored with the John Levitow Honor Graduate Award for the USAF Non-Commissioned Officers Academy and the USAF Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service. McBryde is active in the New Mexico Bar Association as a member of their Family Law, Solo and Small Firm, and Diversity Committees, as well as the New Mexico Hispanic Bar Association. Due to the nature of his practice, McBryde has focused his ABA involvement with the Family Law Section and the GPSolo Division. He currently serves as a member of the Legal Educators, Family Law, and Technology Committee for those ABA entities.

Joan M. Swartz. Swartz of Maplewood, Missouri, is the owner of a small firm in which she has a general business-related practice. She received her BA in history and political science as well as her JD from St. Louis University. Swartz is a frequent speaker and author on a variety of legal topics, including ethics. She has served as an Assistant Editor for the SOLO newsletter and a member of the Division’s Programs Board. Swartz has also served as a member of the GPSolo Litigation and Business Opportunities and Commercial Law Committees. In addition to her ABA activities, Swartz has been extremely involved with the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL) and the St. Louis Bar Foundation. She has held every officer position, including president, of both those organizations. Currently, she is a member of the BAMSL Board of Governors and serves as that association’s elected representative to the ABA House of Delegates.

Eileen Sullivan. Sullivan of Phoenix, Arizona, is a sole practitioner specializing in criminal and family law. She obtained her BA from Arizona State University and her JD from the John Marshall School of Law. Sullivan’s involvement in the Division began in 2005 when she was selected as a Diversity Fellow. Since that time she has rarely missed a meeting and has participated as a member of over 15 different GPSolo committees and as a Council Member-at Large. Sullivan was honored in October 2017 with a GPSolo Difference Maker Award: Making a Difference Through Community Service. She received this award due to her service on the Maricopa Health Centers Governing Council, the Child Crisis Arizona Board of Directors External Affairs Committee, the Phoenix Conservatory of Music Board of Directors, and the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. In addition to her vast amount of community service and ABA work, Sullivan is active with the Arizona Women Lawyers Association and the Arizona Asian American Bar Association.

Call for 2019 Solo and Small Firm Awards Nominations

GPSolo is accepting nominations for the 2019 Solo and Small Firm Awards to celebrate the accomplishments and efforts of outstanding solo and small firm (two to nine attorneys) practitioners, as well as bar leaders and bar associations.

Click here for the nomination application or here for frequently asked questions.

  • Solo and Small Firm Lifetime Achievement Award. Recognizes solo and small firm attorneys who are widely accepted by their peers as having significant lifetime distinction, exceptional achievement, and distinction in an exemplary way. The winners will be viewed by other solo and small firm practitioners as epitomizing the ideals of the legal profession and of solo and small firm practitioners.
  • Solo and Small Firm Project Award. Rewards bar leaders and associations for their successful implementation of a project or program specifically targeted to solo and small firm lawyers.
  • Solo and Small Firm Trainer Award. Recognizes attorneys who have made significant contributions to educating lawyers or law students regarding the opportunities and challenges of a solo and small firm practice.

The winners will be honored on Friday, May 3, during the 2019 Litigation & GPSolo CLE Conference at the Marriott Marquis, New York, New York

We look forward to receiving your nomination!

Nominations are due no later than February 15, 2019.

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GPSolo Podcasts

GPSolo's Brown Bag and Hot Off the Press podcasts are recorded as live teleconference calls and available as podcast recordings for GPSolo members at no additional cost! The Brown Bag Series features presentations on timely legal topics and is recorded on the second Wednesday of every month. The Hot Off the Press Series features a GPSolo book presented by the author and are recorded the third Wednesday of every other month.

Join us for our upcoming live podcasts or check out our podcast library.

Brown Bag Series
Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Time: 12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M. Central

Hot Off the Press Series
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M. Central

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