Division Announcements

Vol. 2, No. 7


Nominating Committee Report

The ABA GPSolo Nominating Committee, consisting of Chair Alfreda Coward, Stephen Curley, Melanie Bragg, Patricia Sexton, and Stephen Williams, submitted the following slate for the election of officer and council members for the 2013–14 bar year.

For the position of Division Secretary, the committee nominates David Lefton of Barron Peck Bennie & Schlemmer. David Lefton is an equity partner in a small firm in Cincinnati, OH. He practices primarily in the area of estate planning, probate, and trust administration. David has faithfully attended almost every Division meeting in the past eight years. He has illustrated his commitment to the Division by serving in numerous capacities, including but not limited to, a member of Council for four years, Division Director, Programs Board Chair, Pub Board Chair, Solo Day Chair, Nominating Committee member, and Long-Range Planning Committee member. David has been honored with the Division Chair’s Award, Service to Others Award, and numerous Star of the Quarter awards.

For the position of Council Member-at-Large, the committee nominates Richard DeMichele of DeMichele & DeMichele, P.C. Richard DeMichele is a shareholder in a small firm in Haddon Heights, NJ. He is admitted to practice in five courts and administrative bodies. He practices primarily in the areas of family law, criminal law, and personal injury. Richard attended his first Division meeting in 2002 and has been actively involved in the Division in various capacities including the Membership Committee, Young Lawyer Committee, Family Coordinator, and a prior Council Member for five years. Additionally, Richard has been extremely active in the ABA House of Delegates as well as other entities in the ABA.

For the position of Council Member-at-Large, the committee nominates Alan Fowler of Alan Fowler Law, PLLC. Alan Fowler is a solo practitioner in Key West, FL. He primarily practices in the area of restaurant and hospitality law. He has enthusiastically served this Division in numerous capacities including, but not limited to, Division Director and Council member. Additionally, he has received numerous awards and honors for his dedicated services.

For the position of Council Member-at-Large, the committee nominates Scott LaBarre of LaBarre Law Offices, P.C. Scott LaBarre is a solo practitioner in Denver, CO, with an emphasis on employment law and disability rights. He is admitted to practice law in many jurisdictions throughout the United States. Scott has been a member of the Division since 1998. He previously served as a Council member for four years ending in 2009. He has also served as a Practice Group Coordinator and a member of numerous committees. Throughout his career, he has received many scholarships and honors.

For the position of Council Member-at-Large, the committee nominates Sonali Oberg of Wolters Kluwer. Sonali Oberg serves as a Product Manager for her firm in Riverwoods, IL, primarily in the areas of litigation and law practice management. She specializes in creating products for the general and small firm practitioner market segment. She currently serves on the Diversity Committee and the GPSolo editorial board. She has published several legal articles and essays. She has also received recognition for her scholarly writing and other honors.

For the position of Council Member-at-Large, the committee nominates Alan Olson of Olson Law Office, P.C. Alan Olson is a solo practitioner in Des Moines, IA. He practices primarily in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death litigation. He has been extremely active in the ABA generally, but has also dedicated a tremendous amount of time to the Division. Among other leadership roles, he has served the Division consistently in numerous capacities including Revenue Development Director and Committee Director. Alan has been honored by the American Board of Trial Advocates, Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, and the American Trial Lawyers association Top 100, to name only a few.


Solo/Small Firm Forms Library

Gain instant access to convenient forms, letters, checklists, and agreements developed specifically with the solo/small firm practitioner in mind. Written by some of the top legal professionals in their field, the material in the GPSolo Division's Forms Library is organized by practice area, making it quick and easy to find the forms you need. Click here to find out more.


Brown Bag Sessions

What Solos and Small Firms Need to Know About Avoiding Ethics Complaints and Malpractice Claims

February 20, 2013, 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m. CST

Solo and small firm lawyers face peculiar pressures and challenges in their practices, such as balancing diverse caseloads, working with limited resources, and trying to manage the administrative morass of running a small business. This fast-moving, high-pressure environment can also lead to specific concerns in the world of ethics complaints and malpractice claims. Join us to learn about the common problem areas, the types of cases and clients you should consider avoiding, and the best ways to minimize ethics complaints and malpractice claims.

As a Division member, you have complimentary access to GPSolo’s Virtual Brown Bag Sessions, which are short, informal educational events on timely topics held entirely by teleconference. The sessions are held monthly and normally last one hour 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 CLE credits for these programs.


Past Brown Bag Session topics included:

  • How to Make Money with Group Legal Plans
  • Going Solo: Practical and Useful Tips for Starting and Running a Solo Practice
  • Peace and Protection
  • Words With Friends, Acquaintances, and Potential Clients: Practical Tips & Potential Pitfalls for Lawyers Who Blog or Want to Get Started
  • Are you Running Your Practice Like a Business?
  • A Primer on the Debt Collection and Credit Reporting Acts: The Basics That Every Practitioner Should Know
  • Everything You Need to Know About Successfully Representing Traffic and DUI Clients—Trial Tips for Solo and Small Firm Lawyers
  • Technology Tips to Manage, Grow, and Enhance Your Practice
  • Is Your Client in a Divorce Eligible for Equitable Relief as an “Innocent Spouse”?
  • Consumer Bankruptcy Grab Bag
  • Retirement Saving During Tough Economic Time
  • A View From the Bench: The Solo and Small Firm Lawyer in the Courtroom
  • Promoting Diversity in the Legal Profession 
  • Technology Tips, Tricks and Tools to Succeed as a Solo and Small Firm

You can access these sessions and more on the Division’s website.


Committee Leadership Appointments: 2013–2014 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 Division is the voice of the solo and small firm practitioners, as well as the general practitioners throughout the country. Our committees’ work is the lifeblood of the success of the Division. We are looking for individuals willing to step up and volunteer to provide leadership, 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 at http://www.americanbar.org/groups/gpsolo/news_announcements.html and complete the online application. You must be a member in good standing of the Division 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 29, 2013.


2013 Solo and Small Firm Awards

GPSolo 2013 Solo and Small Firm Awards celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of outstanding solo and small firm practitioners, as well as bar leaders and bar associations. Winners will be honored at the GPSolo 2013 Spring Leadership Meeting’s Awards Program at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage, AK, on May 24, 2013.

  • 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.

To submit a nomination for a solo and small firm award, please review the information & application instructions here. Applications must be submitted by email or postmarked no later than March 29, 2013. If you have any questions, please contact Dee Lee, GPSolo Program Specialist, at 312-988-5659 or via e-mail.


Call for Applications: Diversity and Young Lawyers Fellowships

We are pleased to announce the sponsorship of four Diversity Fellowships in the Division during the 2013–2014 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, those with disabilities, and persons of differing sexual orientations and gender identities.

We are also pleased to announce the sponsorship of two Young Lawyer Fellowships in the Division during the 2013–2014 bar year. GPSolo 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, 2013. Successful applicants will be notified in early June 2013. For more information about these fellowship programs, visit our website.


Essay Competition for Young Lawyers

Enter to win a $5,000 cash prize and a trip to New Orleans! The ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability is now accepting entries for its Levit Essay Contest, open to ABA Young Lawyers Division members. Click here to find the essay hypothetical, rules, and entry form. Online entries must be submitted by 11:59 PM CST on February 22, 2013.


For Only $1 per Month, ABA GPSolo Members Can Access Total Attorneys’ Robust Practice Management Software

For only $1 per month, ABA GPSolo members can access Total Attorneys’ robust Practice Management Software. The cloud-based system includes a client portal, case management tools, time keeping, invoicing, document management and much more.

As one of the founding members of the Legal Cloud Computing Association, Total Attorneys Platform provides attorneys with a unique collection of safeguards and features to deliver services online or work remotely. Total Attorneys enables law firms to deliver online services, including automatic jurisdiction and conflict checking, online retainer agreements and quotes, in a completely secure environment.

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For more than a decade, Total Attorneys has been helping thousands of solo to small law firms run their practices more efficiently. They hold an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and are a proud Sponsor of the ABA Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division.


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