The Success of Our City
by Brigid E. Heid, Eastman & Smith Ltd.
The development in downtown Columbus is simply astounding. Nary a corner nor intersection seems free of a crane, construction equipment or sign heralding the next exciting project coming soon to a neighborhood near you.
All of this growth, coupled with recent development efforts at the Columbus Commons, Scioto Peninsula and Franklinton, makes it a truly exciting time to live here in “Cbus.” According to the latest report of the “State of Downtown Columbus” by Capital Crossroads, 19 residential projects and 34 commercial improvement projects are currently underway, all inside the Outerbelt.
As the largest US city without a light rail, Columbus, not coincidentally, has one of the highest ratios of cars per worker downtown (at 87 percent), creating a huge demand for downtown parking and threatening even more congestion as urban living increases in popularity. Fortunately, city leaders joined with private and non-profit partners to meet these transportation challenges and improve the quality of life in our fair city. I-70 / I-71 is being reconfigured, which is all too obvious when driving through downtown. COTA is also improving routes and technology.
And, the City of Columbus beat out 77 other cities to win the Smart City Challenge sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT website states, “Columbus was selected as the winner because it put forward an impressive, holistic vision for how technology can help all of the city’s residents to move more easily and to access opportunity.” With nearly $400 million in public and private financing, the City’s goal for Smart Columbus is to “become the nation’s epicenter for intelligent transportation systems” by:
The Columbus Bar Association is equally committed to the holistic development of our local bar by connecting our members to the community, their clients and one another through technology and innovation. With nearly 5,000 members, the CBA has a reputation as a trailblazer for bar associations around the country. Historically, the Association has enjoyed an active, collegial membership, and based on the status of the new lawyers, committees and volunteer members, I am confident that will not change anytime soon. Still, while the City of Columbus projects growth in downtown over the next few decades, not as many of those urban residents and workers will be entering the legal profession as they have in the past. Bar associations across the country are projecting a decline in membership as law school enrollment declines and fewer graduates are finding positions requiring a law degree. The generational tide is shifting and as long-term members retire and become less active in the bar, the CBA is preparing for the possibility of declining membership.
Recognizing the Association exists to serve our members, we are working to bring increased value to our members while remaining a vital resource for the Columbus community.
- We are offering enhanced digital publications with features not possible on the printed page. The digital directory has increased the online profiles of our talented members and makes them more accessible to their clients and the community. Although the printed directory as a formal publication may eventually be phased out, printing options will be maintained for those who prefer tactile experiences.
- CLE programming has been expanded to appeal beyond the legal community and to attract business leaders and citizens at large, from interesting topics on Constitutional Conversations to Civil Rights seminars; we are also videotaping and offering online access.
- We’re exploring opportunities to take monthly committee meetings offsite, to locations where our members gather rather than solely being hosted at the CBA. And improved technology in our meeting rooms will soon allow live, remote access for those who cannot make it in-person but are otherwise able to login remotely.
- A Practice Management Resource Center is being developed for members in private practice interested in finding ways to be more efficient and successful in their practice. Launching later this year, the CBA will present an array of affordable, practical solutions in technology, staffing, client relations and business development, all with the goal of avoiding the need to reinvent the wheel.
A pre-eminent bar association in the fastest growing city in the Midwest, the success of the Columbus Bar Association is intertwined with the success of our City. As my presidency comes to an end and I reflect on the projects underway in our fair city and at the CBA, I am exceedingly confident both the CBA and the City of Columbus are well positioned to remain shining communities for years to come.