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A Few Words from the Editor in Chief: Choosing Hau’oli

By Dale M. Weppner

Hau’oli. The word is Hawaiian and means to cause happiness, gaiety, or joy. For those of you who were able to join TIPS in Hawaii this past October, Michelle Powers challenged TIPS leaders in her excellent presentation “Choosing Joy” to find one small practice of joy and commit to it for 21 days. Indeed, Michelle taught us that the difference between joy and happiness is that “happiness is tied to circumstances,” while “joyfulness is tied to a spiritual way of engaging with the world that is connected to practicing gratitude.”1

Certainly, Hau’oli may be a lot easier to find in the warm, tropical breezes of the islands; and it can present much more of a challenge in our everyday lives, especially in the day-to-day vagaries of practicing law. Nevertheless, Michelle explained that even the smallest examples of Hau’oli, or joy, stimulate feel-good neurotransmitters in the body that can lead to significant health benefits and improved mental well-being.

Staying with this theme, I learned many years ago as a young lawyer that one of my personal ways of finding joy within the profession is through participation in national, state, and local bar organizations, including TIPS. Interacting with others who face many of the same daily personal and professional challenges is, in many ways, my own brand of self-therapy or spiritualness. Indeed, for the past 17 months, I have had the pleasure of serving as editor in chief of The Brief, having previously participated as a member of the magazine’s editorial board since 2006.

For those of us in the know, The Brief editorial board is, in my humble opinion, one of the best-kept secrets of serving in TIPS. To be honest, service on the editorial board for The Brief is not particularly glamorous, nor is it likely to win its members any popularity contests. In addition to our work from a distance throughout the year, we often toil in relative obscurity for several hours on a Saturday while at TIPS’s quarterly meetings, where we pore over and debate concepts, CLE presentations, and manuscripts to evaluate and select content for TIPS’s flagship publication. We can also usually be spotted at an undisclosed dining location the evening before, where the board puts business aside and gathers for some cheer, light humor, and camaraderie.

It was at this last such gathering at Ohana Seafood Bar & Grill in Wailea where we learned that our friend and the true spirit leader of The Brief, Jane Harper-Alport, was retiring at the end of 2019. While we are all very happy for Jane and her husband Larry, to say that this was a shock—and an unwelcome one—would be a vast understatement.

Most of you reading this are not likely to know Jane, as, despite my attempt at humor above, she truly toils behind the scenes, yet her fingerprints on TIPS publications are everywhere. Jane’s official title is manager, ABA Publishing/Periodicals, where she has been on staff for the past 15 years, but that does not really begin to scratch the surface. Jane is also a very humble person and will likely be slightly embarrassed by even this briefest of spotlights. However, please indulge me and the other editors who have served before me for this tribute.

First and foremost, many may not know that Jane is a licensed attorney and active member of the Indiana bar. As part of her overall duties within the ABA, Jane manages the editorial operations of three quarterly periodicals: The Brief and TortSource for TIPS, as well as Natural Resources & Environment, the quarterly magazine of the ABA’s Section of Energy, Environment, and Resources. This includes everything from budgeting, scheduling, and content selection to extensive contact with her volunteer editorial boards (a total of 50+ board members in any given year) and travel four times a year for seven editorial board meetings. In truth, I believe that the term “herding cats” more aptly describes many of Jane’s duties.

In anticipation of this column, I reached out to several of the past editors in chief of The Brief, as well as others who worked closely with Jane over the years, to share a few words or comments about her. Three of the words that kept popping up over and over were dedication, selflessness, and kindness. In short, Jane works extremely hard, including weekends, nights, and all other odd times to ensure the timely delivery of the highest quality publications to TIPS members. Certainly, not one of us has been spared Jane’s gentle barrage of emails “reminding” us of upcoming deadlines and other TIPS content-related matters.

More importantly, Jane is beyond kind. She always greets TIPS leaders and board members by name, unfailingly asking about their families, hobbies, or even work. Almost everyone with whom I spoke responded that Jane made serving on The Brief editorial board fun. There is a sense of camaraderie and inclusion that has existed on the board for as long as I have served. We are a family. Jane is our Hau’oli and will be sorely missed.

I asked Jane what she plans to do now with all of her upcoming “spare time.” Jane tells me that she plans on catching up on her sleep, working through 33 years’ worth of accumulated household contents to downsize and move, traveling to visit friends and family, and remaining active in her church. I am also told by my sources that she may even remain an active TIPS member, this time as a true volunteer where her continued dedication and input will be most welcome.

Jane, I think I speak for the entire TIPS family in saying that we wish you much Hau’oli in your retirement. We will miss your spirit and commitment but look forward to when our paths will cross again.

I hope to see everyone when TIPS convenes at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Austin in February. Mahalo!


1. Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection 78 (Hazelden 2010).

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Dale M. Weppner is a partner of Greensfelder Hemker & Gale in St. Louis, Missouri, where he leads the firm’s transportation and logistics practice area. He is editor in chief of The Brief.