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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin Fall 2016

BBA MEMBERSHIP Alicia Jett Be a Part of Our League of Justice June 10, 2016: the Birmingham Bar Association’s legendary picnic at Old Car Heaven. I look forward to this event every year, and what I love about it is that it is not section or committee-specific and is open to all members of the Bar. After this year’s picnic, my friend, Judge Sherri Friday, shared the following post on Facebook: Birmingham Bar picnic 2016 was so much fun. At the end of the day when I came home, Alan and I reflected on the day. The lawyers who never come to Probate I got to see, and the fun had with those lawyers who frequent Probate. Always touching to watch my Dad chat with all his friends from his 50 plus years in the Bar. Slicing pies with Carol Smith and Judge Vinson is probably my favorite activity. Carol reminded me yesterday to cherish and enjoy each moment because next year one of our favorites may not be there. So to my lawyer FB friends who didn’t make it: come next year. We are blessed with a wonderful bar, get involved. Take time to socialize with your colleagues, it will make you better able to represent your clients. This post reiterated my philosophy on why I am an active member of our Bar Association. We do not all work together in the same office, or practice the same type of law, so these kinds of events allow us to get to know, and socialize and network with, many different lawyers within our legal community. This is not that article, the one that has a million endnotes citing my research. This is simply an “opinion piece,” and shares how I feel about my membership and participation with the Birmingham Bar Association. Joining the BBA has provided the opportunity to meet so many lawyers that I would not have met otherwise. For young lawyers, you get to meet other young lawyers. You also get to meet older lawyers who freely give words of encouragement and wisdom. In addition, you get to meet our local Judges. I have found the members of our Bar, and our Bench, to be a group of the most caring, devoted, and helpful people I have ever met. There were times I thought I would not have made it but for the kindness and generosity of the people I met though the Bar. Case in point: In December 2012, I decided to open my own firm. I had no money and two clients. At this juncture, I picked a practice area, joined the Probate and Solo/Small Firm Sections and used the connections I made though the Birmingham Bar and campaigning for Judges to solicit advice and business. I attended Bar functions and would tell people I was on my own and it never failed, someone would give me their card and say, “If you have any questions, call me.” To every single one of those members that shared their card, their wisdom, and/or a case or two, you have my utmost respect and all of my gratitude. For those of us who regularly attend Bar functions, we typically see many of the same people at each event. I like to call them the “Regulars.” A prime example is seeing a particular Judge at each event. I see Judge Pulliam at almost every Bar function I attend. I do not practice criminal law and I have never been before her Court, but she is one of my absolute favorite people to see at functions. Based on the relationship I have built with her over the years, I would feel very comfortable standing before her in a courtroom. The more you see and get to know a Judge on a somewhat personal level, the better able you are to practice before that Judge. Personally, one of my goals in attending Bar functions is getting to know the civil Judges I do see on a regular basis. I am not seeking favor or special treatment, but it is important to me that judges, or even opposing counsel, know enough about me to know that I am an honest and trustworthy person. Most of us would agree that our jobs are infinitely more pleasant when opposing counsel is someone with whom we can share a beer after work. The majority of us did not come into this profession with a book of business. We had to work hard, claw our way up the ladder, and most important, we had to rely on lawyers who came before us. I have found through my experience that the lawyers who actively participate with the Bar are those who truly want to see our profession grow. Those lawyers are the ones who pay it forward. They don’t hand out advice expecting something in return, they do it because they care and believe in our lawyers and our Association. Lawyers are a community of people. The best way to help our community grow and thrive is to take an active interest. We’re not just a Bar Association, we’re a League of Justice! (I stole that phrase from Iron Tribe.) G Alicia Jett is Chair of the BBA Community Education Committee, and practices law with Sanders & Williams, an office of Eraclides Gelman. 24 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin Fall 2016
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