May 20, 2020 Did You Know?

TIPS Fellows

By Madeline Meacham

Ten years ago, a group of longstanding members of TIPS saw a need for other long-term, committed TIPS members to have an opportunity to connect with old friends, to make an additional financial commitment to the Section, and to continue to find creative ways to contribute to the Section. Thus, TIPS Fellows was born. There are currently over 90 Fellows. Fellows meet regularly to review pending projects, issues and budget. Fellows also look forward to an annual dinner, which provides an opportunity to visit with TIPS friends in a relaxed, intimate setting. Fellows commit to giving $200 per year to the Fellows fund. When an individual’s contributions reach a total of $2,000, the contributor is recognized as a Life Fellow. The funds collected have been used for a variety of great projects, including contributing to a fund that provides resources to attorneys struggling with substance abuse, sponsoring receptions with Leadership Academy, and Young Lawyers In addition, the Fellows reached out to first-time attendees at the 2019 Spring Meeting, as a first step in developing an extended mentoring program, and worked with council to offer assistance where council or the Fellows have identified a need.

TIPS Fellows provided the funds for TIPS to sponsor several educational programs presented by the ABA’s Commission on Lawyer’s Assistance Programs (COLAP). COLAP members represent lawyer’s assistance programs from every state. These selfless and dedicated people, many of whom are recovering alcoholics or addicts, are working to provide services to impaired attorneys all over the country. As attorneys are among highest percentage of abusers of drugs and alcohol in any profession, the work of lawyer assistance programs is overwhelmingly stressful and difficult. Funding COLAP’s mission and several specific webinars gave TIPS an opportunity to really make a difference. TIPS Fellows should feel extremely proud of their contribution to this mission.

One of the issues TIPS has focused on for years is getting and retaining new members, as well as learning how to engage different generations of lawyers—Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. We all remember how daunting it could be to come to your first TIPS meeting. We all have fond memories of someone who reached out to and made us feel welcome. The funding of Fellows receptions with the Leadership Academy and Young Lawyers Division—and the one-on-one contacts that Fellows made with first-time meeting attendees at the recent Spring meeting in New York—grew out of a desire to ensure that every new member has a good experience and that no new member falls through the cracks. Both groups benefit from the interaction, with Fellows providing a warm welcome, institutional memory, and practical advice, and new members sharing their fresh perspective and enthusiasm.

Individuals who are recognized for their longstanding commitment and engagement are invited to join the TIPS Fellows during membership cycles. We encourage everyone to accept that invitation when it is received and to let it be known if you are interested in being a part of TIPS Fellows.

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By Madeline Meacham

Madeline Meacham is a retired litigator, who represented governmental entities and people navigating various governmental processes. She remains active in TIPS, currently serving as Chair of the Fellows and on the Editorial Board of TortSource. She can be reached at m.meacham@comcast.net.