Page 8

Birmingham Bar Association Spring 2014

President’s Message Robin L. Burrell From the President noun \də-ˈvər-sə-tē, dī-\ : the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc. : the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization plural di·ver·si·ties 1:  the condition of having or being composed of differing elements :  variety; especially :  the inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization <programs intended to promote diversity in schools> 2:  an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities :  an instance of being diverse <a diversity of opinion> I have little feet - size 5. You may not be aware of this, but most stores do not stock size 5 shoes, and those that do, stock very few. Therefore, it is hard for me to find shoes that fit and allow me to proceed along life’s path. Now, with my little feet, I stand in the scary position of having to fill some mighty big shoes. If you have never sat in the courtroom of the Presiding Judge of the 10th Judicial Circuit, you need to do so, as it is beautiful and embraces a long and important history. In that courtroom, there are two wall plaques containing the names of all of the presidents of the Birmingham Bar Association. For those of you who have never seen or read these plaques, trust me when I say that each name represents some very big shoes to fill. Fortunately, I do not have to walk the next year alone, as I have already learned that there is a whole fraternity of prior Bar presidents who are ready, willing and able to help me. Robert Baugh’s shoes are the most recent big shoes that I will try to fill for the next twelve months. This past year, I had the privilege of working closely with Robert, for whom I have the utmost respect and admiration. Robert Baugh worked tirelessly in 2013 to serve this Bar. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with Robert and have always found him to be pleasant, helpful and hard working. This past year gave me the opportunity to observe his leadership skills, his patience and his love of the Bar and its membership. Robert’s commendable work as President leaves me intimidated, but his good example leaves me better prepared to handle the job this year. Among his many projects, Robert worked closely with our partners in the Birmingham Bar Foundation and the Magic City Bar Association on the Journey for Justice Project, which commemorated the work of attorneys who actively fought civil rights legal battles before, during and after 1963, including Oscar Adams, Sr., James Baker, Abe Berkowitz, U.W. Clemon, J. Mason Davis, Jerome “Buddy” Cooper, Nina Miglionico, Arthur Shores, Edward Friend, Jr., Demetrius Newton, Harvey Burg, Orzell Billingsley, J. Richmond Pierson, Norman Amaker, Tom King, Sr., Thurgood Marshall, Clarence Jones, Paul Johnson, Charles Hamilton, Peter Hall and Frank M. Johnson, all of whom left big shoes to fill. To get a better understanding of our Bar’s earliest capable leadership, I read the history of the Birmingham Bar Association contained on our website. I may be a nerd, but I found it to be fascinating. The Birmingham Bar has existed for nearly 130 years, and is one of the oldest local bar associations in the United States. In 1825, there were four attorneys practicing law in Jefferson County. Today, we have approximately 4,000 members. In 1885, nineteen attorneys met at the courthouse to adopt a constitution for the governance of the BBA and to elect officers. The assembly elected a gentleman named O. W. Underwood as Secretary/Treasurer. I turned to Google, the source of all wisdom, to discover that Mr. Underwood was admitted to the bar in 1884, served in the United States House of Representatives beginning in 1894, and ultimately served in the United States Senate. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1912, but was bypassed when the convention elected Woodrow Wilson. Why I am rambling on about Mr. Underwood? Because, Mr. Underwood 8 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Spring 2014
To see the actual publication please follow the link above