April 24, 2019 View from the Chair

Embracing Evolution

By Roy Alan Cohen

Just as civilizations and people evolve, so do organizations, and TIPS is no exception. As an active member for more than 30 years, I can attest to many Section constants, certain things we have done because . . . well, we have always done them that way. But times are changing, and we must adjust to changing times for both practical and financial reasons. I would like to use this column to address some these changes and encourage you to embrace them so we can evolve together.

The Value Proposition. TIPS has always delivered value to its members, and we will continue to do so. Our finances are secure, bolstered by active and forward-thinking planning by our Finance Committee. Membership in the key lawyer category is up, year after year, which is excellent evidence that our strategic plan is working.

What is changing is how members want to receive the benefits of their membership. As you might expect, each of what I call the three generations in TIPS has different needs, and members do not uniformly benefit from just one value proposition. Their preferences vary, depending on age groups. TIPS’s young lawyer members, from right out of law school to age 36, are developing as practitioners and business people, whether as private practice lawyers or in-house counsel. They are building resumes, seeking mentors, making contacts, and honing their skills. The next generation, ranging in age from 37 to 54, is strategically positioned to build its businesses, maximize its resumes, make strategic contacts, and obtain leadership positions. Members who are age 55 and above usually are secure in their careers, working within firms or companies. They are accomplished lawyers, have already built their resumes, made many of their contacts, and add value to the organization as established leaders. Recognizing these differences, TIPS needs to deliver member value on a variety of levels, and part of the change is to make sure this happens by expanding practice-specific education offerings and networking; focusing on electronic delivery; staying on the cutting edge of legal issues; and expanding leadership, speaking, and writing opportunities.

The Meeting Metamorphosis. Time has always been every lawyer’s coveted asset, and it is even more so today. Responding to this need is important, so an essential part of TIPS’s plan is reducing the number of required meetings from four to two or three.

The Fall Leadership Meeting will remain in October and focus on strategic development for standing and general committees and task forces, and the all-important interaction and networking among TIPS leaders. The 2018 Fall Meeting on Amelia Island was a big success; we have made arrangements for the 2019 Fall Meeting at the Maui Waldorf (October 16–20) at very reasonable rates. Hard work and play go together, and this meeting will be no exception.

The Section Conference is the must-attend meeting for all TIPSters, from leaders to new members, providing unequaled program and networking opportunities. The Section Conference in New York (May 1–4) will be unmatched for the nature and quality of its CLE programs, with tracks that focus on trial, insurance, corporate, and emerging legal issues—all part of the new TIPS concentration on “Raising the Bar” for members and the substantive practice areas that we serve. Our signature event, the Section reception on May 2 in the incomparable Rainbow Room, is not to be missed. Building on success is not easy, but next year the Section Conference will be held jointly with the Young Lawyers Division in Nashville from April 29 to May 3, 2020—another meeting that will deliver on the “wow!” factor that TIPS members have come to expect.

The ABA Midyear and Annual Meetings have been scaled back for TIPS, with general committees convening at neither one. Only selected other standing committees will meet at the Midyear Meeting. The Annual Meeting for now will be for officers and the Council.

Instead, TIPS is inviting and planning additional stand-alone meetings and programs to offer practice-area-specific opportunities around the country, and it is looking for less expensive, more nimble ways to present the smaller meetings. The Section’s national programs are already leading events in many of the TIPS practice areas. The addition of an Insurance Institute on April 30 in New York City, focused entirely on insurance issues, and the expansion of programs on cybersecurity, women trial lawyers’ issues, and cannabis law and policy will add to our slate of cutting-edge subjects.

Evolution Matters. With evolution come challenges. The ABA website transition has had its limitations, but it will ultimately provide an expanded platform for the delivery of value to members. For members who want to secure this value, take the time to access the website and make it one of your favorites.

Moving our publications to electronic distribution likewise requires members to access and read the excellent work product in the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal, TortSource, and e-TIPS news online, as opposed to receiving a paper publication. With that said, we still print and send our flagship publication, The Brief, to all members, and that quarterly magazine is now also available online. The quality and content of these publications are better than ever. Please take the time to read or print from the TIPS website all of the posted electronic content.

Finally, the Section’s collaboration with the Young Lawyers Division will pay dividends to members of both organizations and already has been a tremendous benefit.

I am proud of the strides that TIPS has made in recent years. The planning that began two years ago when I was the Section’s vice-chair is coming to fruition and will continue to evolve with the great ideas added by our officers and future chairs. Much of this success can be attributed to a continuity of leadership that puts the TIPS family and organization first. This, too, is part of the renowned TIPS legacy.

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