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Birmingham Bar Association - Bulletin Fall 2017

you have never shirked that duty. As an association, we have provided pro bono advocacy for thousands of citizens, hundreds of hours of community assistance, valuable service and information to the members of our legislature and judiciary, and companionship and hilarity to each other. Being recognized as an active BBA member does not require anything more than drinking Coffee with the Judges, enjoying a Cocktail in the Courtyard, getting your CLE credits at a BBA seminar, or going to the Bench and Bar Retreat. You don’t have to do everything – just meet your fellow members in person every now and then and join the conversation. We are best when we associate with each other and share. This is what makes the BBA relevant; it is all about meeting and connecting with your fellow bench and bar attorneys. The dedication of BBA members to the profession was recognized over and over at the annual Alabama State Bar meeting in July. Augusta Dowd was sworn in as the president of the Alabama State Bar and BBA members swept the awards. Magistrate Judge John Ott was the recipient of the Judicial Award of Merit. Maibeth Porter received the Susan Bevill Livingston Leadership Award for her commitment to those around her as a mentor, a sustained level of leadership throughout her career, and a commitment to the community in which she practices. Martha Jane Patton received the Maud McClure Kelly Award to recognize her as a female pioneer and leader in the state. Richard P. Carmody received the Albert Vreeland award for his pro bono service record. J. Massey Relfe, Jr. (posthumously) and David “Chip” Schwartz, received the Jeanne Marie Leslie Service Award for their work on behalf of those with substance abuse and mental health problems. The Birmingham Bar Association received the Local Bar Award of Merit for its programs and services to the community and members. If you see these members, please congratulate them for winning these prestigious awards and for demonstrating the good work of lawyers. The Task Force on Organizational Structure held its first meeting since the delivery of the ABA Division of Bar Services Report. The ABA Report was generally very positive of the goals and work of the BBA and its two charitable arms, the Birmingham Bar Foundation and the Birmingham Bar Volunteer Lawyers Program. As a voluntary bar, whose members are also committed to the Alabama State Bar, we enjoy a very engaged membership that supports efforts to provide services in the local community, as well as the state. The Report identified areas of inefficiencies, and those will be the focus of the Task Force. The concern going forward is sustainability of resources to fund the good work of the BBA, the Foundation, and the VLP. There is universal recognition by the leadership of all three organizations that integration of resources and coordination of efforts is necessary to maintain our current high level of community services, membership interest and involvement, and financial investment. Nothing is accomplished by these organizations without the work of the BBA lawyers. As the Task Force goes about its work, it will need the input of the BBA membership, so please look for and respond to the Task Force requests for assistance. Diversity. I asked the BBA Diversity and Inclusivity Committee to host at least two seminars this year that would challenge the BBA membership to examine its role in achieving diversity and inclusivity in the profession. The seminars will begin September 7th and continue in October and November at the Bar Center, each followed by a cocktail party in the Courtyard. Every BBA member is invited. These seminars are FREE because dialogue on these issues is so important that cost will not be an impediment. We are in Birmingham – the birthplace of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.1 We must embrace this history and carry its lessons forward in our own profession, organization and community. Please mark your calendars, attend these seminars, and participate in the discussions, because we must be inclusive of all races, sexes, ages, religions and abilities. Today, even though the profession has been engaged in a dialogue about diversity and inclusivity for over fifty years, the law remains the least diverse profession. I gave the startling statistics in the Spring 2017 issue of the Bulletin – the needle has not moved. Let’s meet at the Bar Center and talk about these important issues and together we can make a change. The Birmingham Bar Association is strong and capable of change. G ENDNOTES 1 In 2013, the BBA, the Birmingham Bar Foundation and the Magic City Bar Association joined together and produced the Emmy-nominated documentary “Preserving Justice” to honor the lawyers and judges in Birmingham in 1963 who participated in the Civil Rights Movement. While researching for the documentary, I learned that the events in Birmingham, notably the Children’s Crusade and the Birmingham Agreement, brought about President Kennedy’s decision to put the Civil Rights Act before ... and sha Congress.re.” The Act was passed in 1964. Birmingham Bar Bulletin/ Fall 2017 9


Birmingham Bar Association - Bulletin Fall 2017
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