September 1, 2012

From the Top: Be a Doer

By: Edward J. Schoenbaum

No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little. 

-Edmund Burke

In my first chair’s column, I would like to thank all those who went beyond doing a little and provided great service to our members this past year.

SLD Chair Bruce Mann; Vice-Chair Seth Rosner; Division Secretary and Chair of the 2012 Supreme Court Trip Committee Louise Dempsey; Finance Chair John Vittone; Delegates Dick Theis and Lizabeth Moody; the committee chairs, notably Ruth Kleinfield and her Nominating Committee, for the phenomenal people recruited to serve us in the future; Tony Palermo and Walter Burke for state and local bar outreach; Brooksley Born for Women Trailblazers; Malinda C. Allen, chair of the Periodicals Committee; Albert C. Harvey for the Ethics and Professionalism Committee work; John M. Parr for his work on the Leisure and Travel Committee; Charles Collier for managing our successful book publishing program; and Alex Golubitsky for his website expertise. Special thanks, in particular, to Selma Moidel Smith for updating the Experience magazine index in the Spring 2012 issue, available at content/dam/aba/publications/experience_magazine/exp_index_22_1_2012. authcheckdam.pdf.

We are also indebted to our ABA staff. Judith Legg, Angela Boykin, Patricia Allen, and Betheon Whyte are always ready to assist us. As you work to accomplish your projects this year, do not hesitate to ask for my help and theirs.

I would like your input on ways to enhance member benefits. We are very open to your ideas. Please share your experiences with me, whether good or bad (and the latter can be anonymously shared, if you feel more comfortable this way.)

In the meantime, I would like to highlight what some of our new committees will be doing and to encourage you to be a doer and join in those efforts to which you feel you can contribute. Our new committees include the:

•  Rule of Law Education for Adults and Children;

•  Joint Committee to Support Our Courts (with the Judicial Division);

•  Technology Administration Committee.

The first two committees will work closely with our CLE and Pro Bono and Public Service Committees to recruit people to help organize senior lawyers to educate the public about the rule of law, serve our courts systems that are so short-handed and underfunded, and provide materials and training to help courts perform their important functions. The third committee will expand beyond website administration to provide technology advice for SLD members and help senior lawyers learn to use technology to become more efficient and effective. Please send your ideas to me at and to the relevant committee chairs. To help you get involved, here is a link to some of our committees: www.americanbar. org/groups/senior_lawyers/committees.html. Remember: even if you can only do a little, with a team, we can accomplish a great deal.