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Voice of Experience

Voice of Experience: February 2023 | Transition

Chair's Column

James L Schwartz

Chair's Column

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A few weeks ago, the ABA had its 2023 Mid-year meeting in New Orleans. Many Sections, Divisions and Forums, including SLD, had governance meetings. Included in SLD's governance meetings was my report to Council where I reported on the state of the Division to the date of the meeting, as well as on the many programs in the pipeline. 

I reported that the reorganization enacted at the 2022 Spring Council Meeting was almost complete. Committees have been re-organized along functional lines with each Group having a Group Director appointed for two years. I further reported that all nine Group Directors and their Deputies were all functioning well and that they were all collaborating with each other and with their respective Committees. Of particular note is the DEI Group. In the past few years, the DEI initiative was struggling. Finally, at the end of the last Bar Year, a n SLD DEI plan was developed by Robert Gonzales and Jodi Levine. It was then passed by SLD Council at the Annual Meeting in 2022. This Bar Year, under the direction of Group Director Darcee Siegel and the same Committee Chairs as last year, Robert Gonzales and Jodi Levine, the Committee has been implementing the adopted DEI Plan. Likewise under Group Director Darcee Siegel, the Women of Excellence Committee along with Committee Chairs, Bobbi Liebenberg and Laurel Bellows, that Committee has had seminars on issues affecting women with more planned for the Spring. Darcee is also forming a Diversity Fellows Group.  I am so pleased with the progress here to date. 

The Publications Group is generally very strong. I reported that Jeff Allen is overseeing the work by the Experience Magazinr Board led by jennifer rose. The Magazine continues to have excellent content and provides a well thought through theme for each issue. I also reported that Jeff continues to monitor VOE and make sure it continues to publish a quality publication monthly. Lastly, I reported that the Book Board is still struggling. The past few years have failed to publish enough books so the income from sales of books has been off. The Book Board Chairs agreed and have been making progress in attracting authors to write. It will not help the budget this year, since it takes about 1 ½ years to write and edit a book, but the benefits should be seen late in Richard Leslie's year as Chair or Karren Pope-Ownwukwe's year. 

The Substantive Law Group under the direction of Alan DiScuillo and Tom Bolt continues to get out quality work. The new Committees I formed this year have set seminar and are well on their way. The International Committee coninues to have superb monthly programming which is robustly produced and flawless to a tee.

The Programming and Service Group run by Bob Louis has been very busy producing programs on Financial Planning issues, Transition Issues, Pro Bono and more. They also oversee the Pickering Event and others. Lastly, they are exploring monetizing our seminars. 

The Elder Law Group under Michael Kirtland, Jill Sauber, and Cathy Krendl continue to host several seminars of great benefit to seniors and others and are planning many more for the Spring. 

Michael Van Zandt and Daniel Homick run the Membership and Communications Group. They are planning enhanced communications with other SDFs and many state and local Bars to develop SLD's visibility in the ABA and other communities and to collaborate with them on projects. 

The Administrative Group under Tony Musto is doing a great job of overseeing and getting several Committees involved including a very needed revision to the By-Laws which has been in the works for a few years, budget issues, and more. 

So the Groups are working real well and they are both functioning and collaborating extremely well. I am so happy I caused it to happen. 

On other fronts, the ABA Board of Governors approved my request to create a partnership between SLD and the Alzheimer's Association. They have supplied several people to SLD for seminars and webinars and we are helping create teams for their Walk-a-thons which are in all decent size cities which raises money for Alzheimer's research and care. Hopefully we can get this more robust in the Fall. 

Well that is the report I provided to Council and to you, the SLD members. Please consider getting involved in the Committees and activities of SLD. I am sure you will enjoy them. 


Jim Schwartz
Chair of VOE
Chair of SLD