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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Summer 2014

President’s Message Robin L. Burrell From the President WHY NOT? “Why should I join the Birmingham Bar Association?” This was not a question I heard when I joined many years ago. Lawyers simply joined our local bar as a matter of course. So I joined and never looked back. Only during the last ten years have I heard younger Birmingham attorneys pose the why question. At first, I was shocked and surprised because I approach the topic from a different angle. As I see it, the better question is: “Why not join the Birmingham Bar Association?” In 1969, during my second year of college, the Rolling Stones released Let It Bleed. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was the last song on Side B of that album. It is hard to imagine a world in which we have not heard that song hundreds, if not thousands, of times. But, those first few times that I listened to it, I was struck by the second line of the refrain’s seemingly profound understanding of what was important in life. “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.” My children fondly (or maybe begrudgingly) recall hearing that throughout their childhood as they identified and expressed their wants, while we responded by looking after their needs! Just as parents strive to help meet their children’s needs, the Birmingham Bar Association works to provide support and resources for Birmingham’s attorneys. That is why I firmly believe that all Birmingham lawyers should join the BBA. No, unlike your parents, this organization will not provide all of your meals, wash your laundry, and read you bedtime stories, but it does provide CLE, opportunities to connect and network, career assistance, and much, much more. “...you just might find, you get what you need.” — The Rolling Stones As did my predecessors in this position, I try and evaluate the issues and suggestions that arise by the measure of how the particular issue might benefit our members, as the organization only exists to serve us - from providing substantive and professional development through CLE offerings to sponsoring social opportunities to promoting civility and collegiality, and everything in between. This sort of existential evaluation goes straight to the heart of the Bar’s continuing challenge - that because our Bar exists to meet our attorneys’ needs, we need to ensure that it remains relevant, valuable and helpful. The association has grown and evolved as the needs of its members have changed throughout the years. In earlier days, there was no need for most of the structure that we have now. There were no computers, cell phones, fax machines, emails, very few grievances, no alternative dispute resolution, no continuing legal education requirement, and overall very few of the things that comprise much of our day-to-day legal life. As the practice has changed so radically over the past decades, we need an association that is aware of and responsive to these changes. Since the question of why attorneys should join the association has sparked this topic, I will assume that many attorneys do not know what the BBA offers its members. The following is a brief general overview of how the BBA works to meet the needs of Birmingham’s lawyers. 8 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Summer 2014
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