Division Announcements

Vol. 1, No. 7


Division Name Change Notice


The ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division hereby provides notice of its intent to change its name to the Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division, to be considered and hopefully approved by its membership at the Annual Meeting of the Division Membership to be held at the 2012 ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL. In addition, the ABA House of Delegates will also consider and hopefully approve the change. The Division’s Council approved the name change at its Fall Meeting on October 21, 2011.

This change simply rearranges the descriptive categories in the current name. Lawyers that maintain a general practice, lawyers that serve in the military, on the judiciary, and in corporate counsel positions are and will remain vital, valued, and important members of the Division.

This name change will reflect and clarify that GPSolo is the home for solo and small firm lawyers within the ABA. Although it may be clear to active members of the ABA that GPSolo is the home of the solo and small firm lawyer, it may not be clear to lawyers who are new to the ABA, who are thinking about joining the ABA, or who have never been active in GPSolo.

By moving Solo and Small Firm to the beginning of the Division’s name, it will help the ABA by sending a clear message to the solo and small firm lawyer population (both within and outside the association) that the ABA, through the Division, is doing all it can to meet the needs of this under-represented population.

Other than revising the Division’s bylaws to reflect the name change, the internal structure and bylaws of GPSolo will remain the same. Any questions or concerns should be emailed to genpractice@americanbar.org.


Call for Applications: ABA GPSolo Diversity and Young Lawyers Fellowships


We are pleased to announce the sponsorship of four Diversity fellowships in the Division during the 2012–13 bar year. The program is designed to promote diversity within the Division and the ABA, while providing leadership development opportunities within the Division for women, attorneys of color, and those with disabilities and persons of differing sexual orientations and gender identities.

We are pleased to announce the sponsorship of two Young Lawyer fellowships in the Division during the 2012–13 bar year. The program provides leadership opportunities for young lawyers. As a leader within the Young Lawyers Division, we recognize that you have many opportunities to become involved in bar-related organizations and activities. The GPSolo Division is committed to increasing the participation of young lawyers in Division activities. This program will provide young lawyers the opportunity to become actively and integrally involved in the Division’s meetings and committees.

Applications and nominations for both Diversity and Young Lawyer fellowships must be received by April 30, 2012. Successful applicants will be notified in early June 2012. For more information about these fellowship programs, click here.


ABA GPSolo Committee Leadership Appointments—2012–13 Bar Year


It is the time of year again for the Division’s Chair-Elect to appoint members to the numerous committees within our Division. The GPSolo Division is the voice of the solo and small firm practitioners, as well as the general practitioners throughout the country. Our committee work is the lifeblood of Division and supports our solo and small firm colleagues. The Division is looking for individuals willing to step up and volunteer to provide content, product, and ideas that will be able to assist the solo and small firm lawyer in your community and elsewhere.

If you are interested in getting involved, please visit the Division’s website and complete the online application. You must be a member of the Division in good standing in order to receive an appointment. There is no guarantee that you will receive your first appointment request. However, we will attempt to do whatever we can to fulfill your appointment and committee preferences. The application deadline is March 30, 2012.

For any further questions or need additional information, please contact the Division.


GPSolo Brown Bag Session


Consumer Bankruptcy Grab Bag

March 14, 2012, 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m. Central Time


The expert panel will discuss the latest developments in bankruptcy law, including recent developments from the United States Supreme Court. This session will cover a wide range of issues every solo and small firm practitioner should know about bankruptcy law. The topics will include: bankruptcy jurisdiction after Stern v. Marshall, continuing developments and difficulties with exemptions after Schwab v. Reilly, and changes in bankruptcy rules and forms.

GPSolo’s Committee Audio Programs (Brown Bag Sessions) are short, informal educational events on timely GPSolo topics organized by committees and held entirely by teleconference as an ABA member benefit at no additional cost. They normally last one hour and are held during lunch hours. Due to the informal nature of the programs, and the fact that accompanying written materials may not always be prepared and distributed, the Division does not offer continuing legal education credits for these programs. For more information visit our website.

Recordings of this program and others will be posted on the Division’s website after each session. Please visit http://www.americanbar.org/groups/gpsolo/events_cle/brown_bag_sessions.html to listen to or download the audio.

For any further information or if you are interested in holding a brown bag session, contact Dee Lee at the GPSolo Division Office at Dee.Lee@Americanbar.org or 312-988-5659.




Call for Nominations: 2012 Solo and Small Firm Awards Program

A call for nominations is open for the Division’s annual Solo and Small Firm Awards. Each year, the Division honors outstanding solo and small firm practitioners, as well as bar leaders and bar associations. Recognition is given for the following:


  • Solo and Small Firm Lifetime Achievement Award: Recognizes solo and small firm attorneys who are widely accepted by their peers as having significant lifetime distinction, exceptional achievement, and distinction in an exemplary way. The winners will be viewed by other solo and small firm practitioners as epitomizing the ideals of the legal profession and of solo and small firm practitioners.
  • Solo and Small Firm Project Award: Rewards bar leaders and associations for their successful implementation of a project or program specifically targeted to solo and small firm lawyers.
  • Solo and Small Firm Trainer Award: Recognizes attorneys who have made significant contributions to educating lawyers or law students regarding the opportunities and challenges of a solo and small firm practice.


Winners will be honored at ABA GPSolo 2012 Spring Meeting’s Awards Program to be held at the Doubletree Suites in Charleston, SC, on May 18, 2012, 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. For a list of past winners, please click here.

To apply for a solo and small firm award, click here. Nominations are due by March 30, 2012.


Non-Division Awards Announcement


Our goal is to ensure that GPSolo members are nominated and recognized for their valuable contributions to the legal profession and community. There is an award deadline that is soon approaching. We are writing to request your assistance in submitting a nomination to the Division of qualified GPSolo members. The award information is listed below.


John H. Pickering Achievement Award

The ABA Senior Lawyers Division is accepting nominations for the 2012 John H. Pickering Achievement Award. The award honors the life and accomplishments of John H. Pickering, an outstanding lawyer who was involved in various pro bono activities and law-related societal issues affecting the elderly. The award nominees must be lawyers or judges, not necessarily members of the American Bar Association. The deadline for nominations is February 27, 2012. The award will be presented at the SLD dinner, on August 2, 2012, held during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago.

For more information, or to see previous award recipients, visit the Pickering Award web page.


Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer Awards

The Nonprofit Organizations Committee of the Business Law Section is seeking nominations for the annual Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer Awards. These awards are given annually in the following categories: Academic, Attorney, Nonprofit In-House Counsel, Young Attorney (under 35 or in practice for less than 10 years) and the Vanguard Award (for lifetime commitment/achievement). The Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer awards are given to attorneys who have made outstanding contributions to the nonprofit sector and/or the development of nonprofit law. The committee is particularly interested in nominees whose accomplishments are primarily in providing legal services and counseling to nonprofit entities as clients.

For a nomination form, go to the Nonprofit Lawyer Awards Subcommittee’s webpage and look under “Nonprofit Lawyer Awards Documents.” You can also find there a list of prior award recipients. Nominations are due by February 29, 2012. The Awards will be announced at the Business Law Section’s Spring Meeting in Las Vegas, March 22–24.


Pro Bono Publico Awards Nominations Open

Deadline: Wednesday, March 9, 2012

Each year the Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service presents five awards to individual lawyers and institutions in the legal profession that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged. The awards are presented at the Pro Bono Publico Awards Assembly Luncheon during the ABA August Annual Meeting.

The Pro Bono Publico Awards program seeks to identify and honor individual lawyers and small and large law firms, government attorney offices, corporate law departments, and other institutions in the legal profession that have enhanced the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to our nation's poor and disadvantaged. These services are of critical importance to the increasing number of people in this country living in a state of poverty who are in need of legal representation to improve their lives.


Star of the Quarter

Each quarter the Division’s directors of the four divisions acknowledge outstanding leadership in committee members as a “Star of the Quarter” for a recent project achievement toward the work of the Division. The “Star of the Quarter” recognition is presented to the recipient at each Division meeting.


2012 Midyear Meeting


Division 1: Administration

Patricia A. Sexton, (Kansas City, MO) Chair, Leadership Training Committee


Division 2: Member Benefits

Jeffrey M. Allen (Oakland, CA) Chair, Solo and Small Firm Resource Center Content Committee and Editor-in Chief, GPSolo Magazine Board


Division 3: Practice Specialty

Kenneth A. Vercammen (Edison, NJ) Chair, Elder Law Committee

Parag P. Patel (Iselin, NJ) Chair, Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Committee, and Chair, Taxation Committee,

Jeffrey C. Robinson (Selma, AL) Chair, Criminal Law Committee


Division 4: Practice Setting

Herman F. Gierke, III (Orlando, FL) Chair, Military Lawyers Committee


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