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August 07, 2022

Running unopposed, ABA president-elect nominee outlines road ahead

A recent chair of the American Bar Association House of Delegates is asking his former colleagues for their support of his candidacy to be president-elect nominee, a selection to be announced in February 2023.

William R. Bay, a St. Louis attorney, outlined his reasons for eventually becoming ABA president before the HOD Nominating Committee on Aug. 7 at the 2022 ABA Annual Meeting, which concludes Aug. 9 with the end of the two-day HOD session. The HOD Nominating Committee will make its recommendation to the full House for a final selection at the 2023 ABA Midyear Meeting, scheduled for February in New Orleans.

At a candidates’ forum, Bay said the legal “profession is at an inflection point, and so is our country and our world. …We must be ready for change. We must be leaders who can face the present and the future with a renewed sense of purpose.”

Bay laid out his vision for the association and its challenges through three lenses: mission, membership “and finally the biggest challenge of all, the challenge of change itself.”

He drew upon his work as co-chair of the ABA Practice Forward initiative, which listened to member concerns on the COVID-19 pandemic and digested changes in the legal profession. As an example of how the ABA must meet lawyers’ needs today, he cited something unthinkable five years ago: surveys showing that 89% of firms allow remote work.

“The overwhelming majority (of lawyers) want hybrid meetings,” he said at the session, which like the entire 2022 Annual Meeting, was in-person only. This and other issues, he added, need to be addressed by the association in the days ahead.

If tapped as president-elect nominee, Bay would become ABA president for the association’s 2024-25 term. He initially became involved in the Young Lawyers Division in the 1980s and served in various ABA senior volunteer and leadership capacities during the past two decades, including chair of the HOD from 2018-2020.

Also, Marvin S.C. Dang of Hawaii, who is running unopposed as ABA secretary, delivered remarks before the nominating panel. Additional information, including formal letters-of-intent, on both candidates can be found here.