It has been a month since my last post about what I’ve been up to as President of the CBA. No better time than the present to update both of my readers about what I’ve been doing lately – including news on the minority clerkship program, lunch with 50-year practitioners, a couple of bar conferences and much more after the jump….
As noted in my last column, mid-September was a busy time bar-wise. On September 16, our Board met for its regular Board meeting. Among other things, the Board approved a one-year “pilot” that changes the format of the Minority Clerkship program. The re-vamped program will allow private employers more say as to which minority clerk will be placed at their firm. It also requires the minority students to provide their preferences among potential employers. The goal is to create a better “fit” between the studen and the employer in the placement.
On September 20, I had the privilege of attending the Columbus Bar Foundation (CBF)’s annual luncheon honoring Columbus Bar members with fifty years of service to the bar. I gave a few brief opening remarks, focusing on what the Foundation has meant to the bar — and particularly, the Foundation’s support of the CBA’s inc. program. I then got out of the way and enjoyed the presentation. What makes the luncheon unique is that the Foundation allows the 50-year practitioners to choose their presenters, and those presenters do a terrific job
In contrast to those with 50-years of service to the bar, on September 21, I spoke at The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law to 1Ls about “Cultivating Connections: How to Step into the Profession.” I spoke particularly about getting involved with the bar, and how the bar can help law students — and lawyers — network and connect with other lawyers.
Immediately after my presentation, I jumped on a plane to rainy Amelia Island, Florida for a mid-week trip to attend an annual conference with other similar-sized metro bar leaders across the country – “COMBA” (Conference of Metropolitan Bar Associations). I attended the conference with President-Elect Brad Wrightsel, along with Jill Snitcher McQuain, Executive Director of the CBA, and Marion Smithberger, Assistant Executive Director of the CBA and Executive Director of the CBF. The conference featured, among other things, presentations on attorney placement, lawyer referral services, and membership in metro bars. One of the best sessions is when the bar leaders meet, absent their executives, in a session to throw out ideas and discuss issues that face bar leaders.
The following week, on September 29, I was privileged to attend the annual meeting of the Managing Partners’ Diversity Initiative. The focus of this year’s meeting was the signing of a Third Action plan among the initiative participants. As I was noted for the Columbus Bar Friday,
The Columbus Bar Association is proud of its history as a leader in the Diversity Initiative. Though we recognize that we have much to accomplish, the Diversity Initiative has been a success in increasing the number of attorneys of color practicing in firms in Columbus. With the signing of the new plan, the CBA will continue to partner with member firms, bar associations and law schools to create a diverse community of lawyers.
The meeting also featured a presentation on the state of diversity in Columbus firms, and the results of a minority attorney exit interview survey, which interviewed 26 attorneys of color, who formerly worked at Columbus firms. The keynote was provided by the The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP). IILP’s CEO, Sandra Yamate, brought James Wooten, Jr., Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Illinois Tool Works, Inc., and Willie Miller, Jr., Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Corporate, Kraft Foods, Inc. (recently on the cover of Corporate Counsel magazine), to speak to the group about the business case for diversity.
Following a light week during the week of October 3, on Monday, October 10, I appeared on Fox 28′s Good Morning Columbus program to plug the People’s Law School. Unfortunately, my appearance went so well that the CBA had to postpone the program for the time being. Needless to say, the reason for postponing the program was not because of the terrific speakers the CBA had lined up; instead, we’ll try again in the Spring 2012.
Other things I’ve been up to: discussing the state of the inc. program with Jill and inc. on-site mentor, Rick Colby. Soon, the Board of the CBA will need to make a decision about the future of the program. The inc. program is terrific; the question is whether/how to tweak the program, and how to fund it. Stay tuned….
Last, on Thursday, October 13, Jill, Brad and I attended the Ohio State Bar Association‘s Ohio Bar Officers’ Conference. The OSBA was kind enough to invite bar leaders from around the state to get together for presentations on the state of the Ohio Supreme Court, a legislative update on issues facing the bar, and a discussion of the aging of the profession. There was also a roundtable discussion among similar-sized bar leaders.
In the near future, on October 20, I’ll be meeting with an informal group of local court administrators — a group we call the “Justice League” — about issues facing the courts. This Friday, the CBA Board meets for its regular board meeting. Finally, next week, on October 27 at 5:30 pm, I’ll be at the CBA’s and CBF’s Pro Bono Celebration reception, featuring a speech from Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor.
Until next time….