People | News | Resources | Awards | Publications | ArchivesIssue 36 for Dec 2011
Behind Bars | The blog from the Division for Bar Services. Written by DBS staff, it will keep you up to date on the latest news, information and expertise on bar leadership, management and programming. Subscribe now.
- Elizabeth Derrico
For the latest developments in legal aid funding and pro bono issues, click here (PDF).
19% of voluntary state bars have not had a dues increase within the last seven years. 17% of local bars have not had a dues increase within the last seven years.
Order the 2010 Dues Survey.
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1/31 - 2/4/12
NABE/NCBP/NCBF Midyear Meeting
New Orleans
Contact: Chrishelle Bradford

2/1 - 2/7/12
ABA Midyear Meeting
New Orleans
Contact: Meetings & Travel

Senior Lawyers Outreach Forum
New Orleans | Sheraton Hotel
Contact: Judith Legg

7th Summit on Indigent Defense Improvement
New Orleans
Contact: Tori Jo Wible

3/15 - 3/16/12
ABA Bar Leadership Institute
Chicago | Downtown Marriott
Contact: Karyn Linn

4/17 - 4/19/12
ABA Day in Washington 2012
Washington, DC | Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill
Contact: Ken Goldsmith
State Bars
HI | Hawaii State Bar Association
Patricia Mau Shimizu is the bar's new executive director.

MI | State Bar of Michigan
Executive Director Janet Welch has been named Woman of the Year for 2011 by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. (Press release.)
Local Bars
MN | Hennepin County Bar Association
Mary-Margaret Zindren is the bar's new executive director. (Press release.)

PA | Dauphin County Bar Association
Elizabeth Simcox is the new executive director.

BLI Registration Opens; Scholarships Available
Registration has opened for the ABA's 2012 Bar Leadership Institute, scheduled for March 14-16 in Chicago. The annual meeting, which prepares incoming bar leaders to take the reins of their associations, draws more than 300 attendees. Early registration ends January 20.

The ABA's Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services will present five scholarships to help small bar associations cover the cost of attending the BLI. Scholarship winners receive a registration fee waiver and $500 travel reimbursement. Applications are due Friday, January 6, 2012.

Midyear Reg Discount Ends in 2 Days
Early bird registration -- and its $50 discount -- ends December 9 for the NABE, NCBP, and NCBF 2012 Midyear Meeting in New Orleans. Visit each group's website for program and special event details.

AG Holder to Address Bar Leaders
Eric Holder, current US attorney general, will deliver the keynote address at the ABA's upcoming Summit on Indigent Defense Improvement. The summit, which will take place during the association's midyear meeting in February, will examine the bar's role in indigent defense.

Holder, 60, has served as attorney general since February 2009. He will deliver the keynote luncheon address during the summit's bar-focused afternoon session on Saturday, February 4. Several bar leaders will also be featured.

Luncheon tickets are $60. For more on the program, click here.

Commission on Ethics Makes Progress on Proposals
The ABA's Ethics 20/20 Commission will divide across two meetings its proposals to the association's policy-making House of Delegates, the commission has announced.

The commission will present its first set of proposals, on mobility issues, outsourcing, and technology, at the association's annual meeting in August 2012.

The second set of proposals, covering ABA Model Rule 1.7, inbound foreign lawyers, and possibly proposals relating to alternative law practice structures, will be presented at the midyear meeting in February 2013.

The commission has posted for comment its drafts on choice of law and alternative law practice structures. Responses are encouraged by late January 2012, or, if not possible by then, by February 29, 2012.

On Thursday, February 2, 2012 the commission will hold a public hearing, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 500 Canal Street, Gallery Room, Lobby Level, New Orleans, LA.

While the hearing will focus on the proposals that the commission plans to submit to the House of Delegates for its consideration in August 2012, the commission welcomes testimony regarding its Alternative Practice Structures (ALPS) Discussion Draft and Initial Proposal regarding ALPS and choice of law. To view the hearing notice with links to the proposals and to learn more about the hearing, click here.

Individuals or organizational representatives interested in testifying should contact Natalia Vera at or (312) 988-5328, by January 14, 2012.

Survey Paints Dire Picture for State Courts
A new survey from the National Center for State Courts shows the severe impact of budget cuts on state judiciaries. Among the findings: 34 state courts have laid off staff, and 23 have reduced operating hours. According to the NCSC, the resulting limited access to justice has particularly affected civil cases, which do not enjoy the constitutional guarantee of a "speedy trial" that criminal cases do.

Report Peeks Behind the Curtain of US ATJ Programs
A first-of-its-kind report analyzes the state of access to justice mechanisms in the U.S. The 165-page report, from the American Bar Foundation, describes how ATJ programs operate in all 50 states, in the nation as a whole, and how changes to ethics rules are giving rise to new forms of civil legal assistance.

Directory Highlights Bar Disability Groups
A new online directory lists states and local bar association groups that support disabled lawyers and law students. The site, from the ABA's Commission on Disability Rights, lists bar groups that support lawyers with disabilities, disability diversity, and that handle substantive areas of disability law. Bars can submit their own disability-related groups on the directory's home page.

"Bare Bones" Health Care Power of Attorney Provides Nearly Universal Coverage
A new guide from the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging provides a simple, durable health care power of attorney designed to meet the legal requirements in nearly every state. Unlike many health care advance directives, the new guide provides solely for the appointment of a health care agent with broad decision-making authority.

YLD Looking for a Hand to Help Vets
The ABA is seeking volunteers to support its initiative to help military veterans receive federal benefits. The program, Project Salute: Young Lawyers Serving Veterans, provides free legal clinics to help veterans and their families understand available federal benefits and complete the required forms.

The division will train lawyers to volunteer at an upcoming legal clinic, and will help Young Lawyer Organizations affiliated with the ABA YLD to hold their own clinics.

Member Advantage Offers Savings for ABA Members
Check out ABA Member Advantage for discounts on computers, shipping, car rentals, and more.

Last Day to Nominate for NCBF Fundraising Award
The nomination period ends today, December 8, for the 2012 NCBF Fundraising for Success Award. The award, open only to NCBF members, honors excellence in bar foundation fundraising. It will be presented during the 2012 ABA Mid-Year Meeting at the Joint Awards Luncheon on Friday, February 3, in New Orleans. Late entries will not be accepted.

Nomination Period to Open for Gambrell Awards
Applications will be accepted January 1 for the 2012 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Awards. The awards recognize exceptional projects, worthy of emulation, contributing to the understanding of professionalism among lawyers.

The awards, along with a check in the amount of $3,500 for each recipient, will be presented at the 2012 ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. Bar associations, law schools, law firms, and other law-related organizations are eligible. The nomination window is January 1 through March 30, 2012.

Nomination Period Opens for Marshall Award
The ABA Justice Center is accepting nominations for the John Marshall Award. The award is presented annually to an individual - lawyer or non-lawyer - who has been responsible for extraordinary improvement in the administration of justice. Previous recipients include a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, a former U.S. Senator, and other governmental, educational, and administrative leaders who have made noteworthy positive changes in their respective spheres of the justice system.

The award will be presented in August during the ABA's 2012 Annual Meeting in Chicago. The award nomination deadline is February 17, 2012.

Legal Aid Attorneys Honored
At an October ceremony, the White House honored four longtime leaders at legal aid programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) for dedicating their lives as lawyers to closing the justice gap in America.

The four honorees are David G. Hall, executive director of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid; Nan Heald, executive director of Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Maine; Lillian Johnson, executive director of Community Legal Services in Phoenix, and Addison Parker, former litigation director at the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky.

The four are among 16 leaders in the legal profession honored at an event hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Justice Department’s Access to Justice Initiative. The event is part of President Obama’s Winning the Future Initiative, which recognizes people who inspire others through their ideas and creativity.

"These honorees have made extraordinary contributions to their communities and in helping low-income Americans find solutions to their pressing civil legal problems. All of us at LSC join in applauding this recognition of their commitment to fulfilling the nation’s promise of equal access to justice," LSC President James J. Sandman said.