Re-living the 1990s, I borrowed the title of this post from the Counting Crows 1993 major-label debut album.
It’s been awhile since I’ve informed the readership of what I’ve been up to as President of the Columbus Bar. A lot has happened since my last post on July 22 on what I’ve been doing. Come down memory lane with me, as I recap August and the full week of September, including my trip to Toronto for the ABA/National Conference of Bar President’s meeting, our Board Retreat at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, a final Committee Chair orientation meeting, a special Board meeting, and a presentation to lawyers and their mentees about the CBA at a Lawyer-to-Lawyer mentoring event at the new Courthouse (a “sequel” to this event due to the success of the first event).
After the jump, I’ll once again name names and let you know what I’ve been doing as President….
After a terrific week’s vacation in Hilton Head during the last week of July with my family, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, and my wife’s parents, I had a short week back. On Tuesday, August 2, Donna Sweet (CBA Director of Committees & Special Events), Amy Randall (CBA CLE Director), and I had lunch with several new Committee Chairs for the fourth and final new Committee-Chair orientation. We discussed the expectations of Committee chairs, their Board liaisons, and other how-tos about being a chair. During the session, I met with David Dokko and Aaron Farmer, new co-Chairs of the Environmental Law Committee; and J. David Campbell, new Chair of the brand new International Law Committee.
On Wednesday, August 3, I left for Toronto, eh, and the ABA Annual Meeting. More particularly, after a driving to Niagara Falls with the family and taking a ride on the Maid of the Mist, on Thursday, August 4, I arrived in Toronto for the meetings. That night, our family dined with the other members of the Ohio bar delegations attending the meetings, including the leadership of the Akron Bar Association, Cincinnati Bar Association, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Dayton Bar Association, and Toledo Bar Association. The Cleveland Metro Bar organized the outing, and we had a good time socializing.
Friday, August 5 was a meeting day, where I attended sessions on topics that included: the future of how the public will find lawyers; “corporate social responsibility” and how bars can work with corporations on “community impact” issues; and how to keep bar members happy. That night, all of the Ohio delegation dined with the leadership of the Ohio State Bar Association and Ohio State Bar Foundation, among others.
One of the benefits of being a bar leader in Ohio is having a great network of other Ohio bar leaders to talk to — all of whom are facing the same challenges in their bars as Columbus is facing here. It is great to share and get ideas about best practices, what works, and the future of Ohio’s bars — and how we can assist our members.
Unfortunately, because of a death in the family, I had to leave the bar conference a bit early and I didn’t get to enjoy as much of Toronto as I would have liked. Still, on Friday night, our family went to the observation deck of the CN Tower and looked out at the wonderful views of Lake Ontario and the city of Toronto.
I spent the week of August 8 getting ready for our Board’s annual retreat. As President, I got to pick the location of the retreat, and I chose the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason (right next to Kings’ Island). On Friday, August 12, our first order of business was to swear in Jameel Turner, as a new member of Board. Jameel fills the spot vacated by Mark Petrucci’s elevation to Secretary-Treasurer.
Having sworn in our new member, our Board met the rest of the afternoon with Elizabeth Derrico, Associate Director, Bar Management, Information, & Publications Unit of the ABA’s Division of Bar Services. Elizabeth led our bar in a “planning to plan” session focused on preparing a new long-range plan for the CBA. In 2008, the CBA came up with its current three-year long-range plan, and it is time to revisit our plan and make a new long-range plan. To that end, Elizabeth led a discussion of ”big picture” issues facing the CBA and our membership, and we left with many ideas about the future of the organization. After the session with Elizabeth and a business meeting, we adjourned — only to rejoin our families for socializing and a dinner (and later, many of us enjoyed the indoor water park).
The next morning, our retreat continued with a session devoted to the future of the inc. program. Danielle Murphy gave an excellent and informative presentation on the program, and gave the Board a lot to think about regarding whether to make the pilot project permanent.
After that presentation, Heather Sowald, President of the Columbus Bar Foundation (CBF) and Marion Smithberger, the CBF Executive Director, gave us a presenation about the CBF — and the plans for assisting the Legal Air Society of Columbus‘ fundraising.
Finally, we divided our Board into three teams to come up with the best “new ideas” as judged by the bar staff a la The Apprentice. There were some terrific ideas generated — and prizes given to the “winning” team. Our team, Team “Jay” (Michael) won — nearly entirely because of the efforts of the Secretary/Treasurer, Mark Petrucci.
After a quiet week back, the week of August 22 was spent wrestling with some draft CLE rules that the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Commission on Continuing Legal Education may enact. To deal with the issue, our Board met in a special session on Friday, August 26, and passed a motion to provide the Commission with the CBA’s views on the proposed new rules. I’ll try to post more details about these proposals later.
Jumping ahead, on Thursday, September 8, the CBA, in cooperation with the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, hosted a “Lawyer-to-Lawyer” mentoring event. Nearly 60 attorneys — both mentors and mentees – toured the new Courthouse guided by Stacy Worthington, the Court’s Director of Court Services.
Sandwiched in between the tours, the CBA hosted a reception, at which Judge Richard Frye spoke to the group. Among other topics, Judge Frye spoke about the new courthouse building. The judge also focused on upcoming funding challenges driven by the State’s budgetary issues and calls for 10% budget reductions for all three branches of government. The effect of a reduction in the Court’s budget would have a monumental effect on the practice of law in Franklin County — and the CBA will keep itself involved where we can be of help on this issue. Next, I had an opportunity to pitch what the CBA does for new lawyers — and its members. Finally, Lori Keating of the Ohio Supreme Court, and the person leading the Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring program spoke about the program, and made a call for new mentors to join the program. Several members of the judiciary were kind enough to attend the reception, including Administrative Judge Charles Schneider and Judge Kimberly Cocroft and Magistrates Tim Harildstad, Christine Lippe, and Mark Petrucci. Overall, the event was a “sell out” and a terrific opportunity for mentors and mentors to learn about the Court.
Obviously, I’ve been busy since July – and there’s more fun to come in the upcoming weeks. Aside from the resumption of the bar’s committee meetings in September, I’ll be busy with the following: our regular Board meeting on September 16; the Columbus Bar Foundation’s annual luncheon honoring Columbus Bar members with fifty years of service to the bar on September 20; and a mid-week trip to Amelia Island, Florida to attend a terrific annual conference with other similar-sized metro bar leaders across the country from September 21-24. The conference, called “COMBA” (Conference of Metropolitan Bar Associations), will feature, among other things, discussions on attorney placement, and the bars’ role in supporting the courts and judges facing negative media coverage.