Committee Highlight/Member Spotlight

Vol. 2, No. 2


Committee Highlight


GPSolo's Book Publications Board

Launching a New Year: More Publishing Opportunities and E-Books

The Book Publications Board launched a fresh start with the beginning of the ABA year and with a new chair, Melanie D. Bragg.

Bragg is the new Book Publications Board Chair and is focused on bringing new authors and interesting topics to our Division’s publications. Her focus is to continue to expand the diversity of subjects published and actively recruit authors and abstracts for potential books. “It’s going to be a fun year,” stated Melanie Bragg, Division book publications board chair and owner of Bragg Law and Legal Insight, Inc. “ We are setting up a new Facebook public group, starting a new book series, and redesigning some book covers. “

With the continued power of the Kindle and other innovative reading devices, ABA knows how to keep you up to date and in style at the same time. The Book Publications Board is working hard on bringing the latest titles, author, and topics to us in e-books in the year ahead.

Current new book releases in hard copy for your consideration:



Moving Diversity Forward: How to Go From Well-Meaning to Well-Doing



Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples


For more new book releases, click here.

“We have a full agenda and a great board. I am very interested in hearing from the membership about areas that are of interest to them and sharing their ideas that they are uniquely qualified to write about over the next year,” added Bragg.

Bragg Law is a general civil practice with an emphasis on mediation and arbitration. She does court-appointed work in the civil-county and district, probate, juvenile, and family courts. Ms. Bragg is also president of Legal Insight, Inc., a company who has been providing legal education to the health care industry since 1994.

Bragg is the author of HIPAA for the General Practitioner, published by the American Bar Association’s Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division in July 2009. Her upcoming and soon to be released book is Defining Moments: Insights Into a Lawyer’s Soul for the American Bar Association flagship division.

Read more about Bragg in the “Member Spotlight” of this e-report.

Contact Melanie Bragg at


Member Spotlight


John G. O'Brien

Counsel to the CEO, Attorney's Title Guaranty Fund Inc.

Lee S. Kolczun Photo


Where do you live?

Arlington Heights, IL.


What group do you practice with as an attorney?

In the past month, I joined Attorney’s Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. and serve as the counsel to the CEO. Prior to this new role, I practiced as a solo attorney in my own law firm.


How long have you been practicing law?

Since 1972. That’s 40 years.


What is your favorite part of your role as an attorney?

The favorite part of my role as an attorney is creating a “win-win situation.” As a real estate attorney, the process is generally a nonconfrontational and a pleasant experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed real estate law because it is usually a friendly situation. Over time, friendships develop, and, in the end, deep relationships and partnerships are formed that continue long after the real estate transaction. Not unlike a good partnership, they often have mentored me, and I have shared, or mentored others. This kind of shared relationship over time is a strong reason why I have enjoyed my role as an attorney as it is immeasurably valuable.


What in your profession are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about building a better reputation for lawyers in general and try to promote lawyers as leaders and pillars in the community. As an example, there are many good lawyers who give an enormous amount of their time to others; however, it not recognized enough in the industry and the greater public arena. Lawyers are such an important part of community and are involved in my organizations, boards, and businesses. Many organizations, such as church boards and some nonprofits, would not exist if lawyers were not part of them. We offer our time and advice in many ways that most people do not know about it. Another example is school boards where there are many issues. Our skills and expertise are important in the area of board governance, operations, and business. We are very willing to be part of the community in this way, and I know many lawyers who feel the same way.


What is the most interesting experience you have had in the legal profession?

One of my more interesting experiences was as the president of the Illinois State Bar Association, which I held about two years ago. The needs of the justice system became more readily apparent to me, and I met great people in the law profession. My time with the state bar in this capacity also provided more opportunities to realize how often lawyers are serving on the school boards, hospital boards, and fighting for justice.


How long have you been a member of the ABA?

Ten years


What ABA sections or groups do you belong to?

I am a new member of the ABA Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division and a member of the GPSolo Real Estate Law group.


What do you find most valuable about the ABA?

The overall experience in ABA is valuable. If I had to select a few issues, then I would state that learning about “common problems or issues” in one community, group, or area are also the “common problems” in another region. It is reaffirming to know that others are working on similar issues. Also, the ABA has ample lawyers who are willing to serve as mentors. It is helpful to hear the insights of others, and I have met wonderful people.


How has the ABA benefitted you personally or professionally?

The ABA is very professional group of people. I have obtained referrals from other lawyers affiliated from the ABA.


How have you participated in the ABA?

I was with the House of Delegates for four years and attended annual meetings. The networking is a great benefit of the events and meetings. Currently, I serve as the Co-Chair of the Real Estate Law Committee of the ABA Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division.


Do you belong to any other professional organizations?

Illinois State Bar Association-past president 2009-2010; Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association (IRELA)-founder and chairman of the board of directors; Real Property Committee of the Chicago Bar Association- current chair.


John G. O’Brien
2340 South Arlington Heights Road, S. 400
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Telephone: 312 752-1414


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