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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Summer 2014

Some of the BBA’s services are administered through our committee structure. There is not space enough here to list them all, but I will mention a few. One item, for example, that attorneys generally need much more than they want is the CLE credit hour. Thus, the BBA’s CLE Committee, chaired by Richard Smith, works to offer low-cost, downtown Birmingham based CLE programs. In fact, BBA members can, if they choose, accumulate all of their CLE hours through BBA programs, as the Association offers sufficient CLE to allow members to obtain all the hours they need without the travel and cost associated with many non-BBA courses. Bar-sponsored CLE programs address all major practice areas, are held throughout the year, and are high quality offerings that utilize Birmingham’s considerable legal talent. Our Grievance Committee, which is currently chaired by Bob MacKenzie, receives grievances from the State Bar, investigates them and provides a recommended disposition to the Executive Committee. This hard-working committee spends a substantial amount of time balancing both the needs of the public, who deserve that their perceived wrongs be taken very seriously, and the needs of our members, who must have a fair opportunity to respond to any grievance. Our Judicial Liaison Committee works closely with both Federal and State judges to address relevant concerns and issues, and provides a direct link between our membership and the bench. The Bar’s President-elect chairs this important committee each year, and Steve Casey is at the helm today. The Bar’s legendary Entertainment Committee provides outstanding food and adult beverages for several of the Bar’s social functions, including our annual Membership Picnic and Holiday Party. Nick Callahan does an exceptional job of leading this committee, which uses and builds upon the recipes, talents, and traditions that Henry Taliaferro brought about during his long tenure as Chair. The Birmingham Bar Bulletin Committee has been ably chaired by Bob Kracke for many years, and distributes a quarterly magazine chock full of many well-written, timely and relevant articles. The magazine provides a reliable source for legal and legislative updates, and keeps members “in the loop” with regard to future opportunities and changes within our legal community. An important program that serves two vital purposes is the BBA Mentoring Program, which is ably administered by the Mentoring Committee and its outstanding Chair, Judge Eugene Verin. First, all new lawyers can benefit from some form of mentoring in their first few years of practice. Especially for solo and small-firm practitioners, the Mentoring Program is a great opportunity to receive individualized attention. Second, the Program offers established attorneys a chance to provide practical and ethical guidance to new members of our Bar. Assistance provided through this Program benefits not only mentors and mentees, but also the courts, clients, and our legal community at large. An ongoing challenge that confronts all bar associations is how best to facilitate access to justice for those with little or no income. The Bar’s Pro Bono Committee, chaired by Megan Elder, works to promote the importance of pro bono in conjunction with the Birmingham Bar Volunteer Lawyers Program (BBVLP), and the BBVLP does an exemplary job in matching lawyer volunteers with incomequalifying clients. President’s Message Not only does the Bar work to be of service to its current members, it also helps future lawyers through its annual scholarship program. Funded through memorial contributions to the Birmingham Bar Foundation, the Bar’s Scholarship Committee, chaired this year by Leatha Gilbert, solicits and reviews applications from 2nd and 3rd year students from all area law schools. After careful review, the Scholarship Committee makes recommendations to the Bar’s Executive Committee for ultimate award. How are lawyers perceived by the public? Perhaps not as favorably as we would like, especially for a profession that is unfairly maligned at times. To better inform and educate the public, the Bar relies on its Community Education Committee, chaired this year by Conrad Anderson, to coordinate annual Law Day activities and other community outreach. Our Public Relations committee, chaired by Amy Steindorff, coordinates with the media and other groups to better inform the public about the many positive contributions made by our legal community. Deborah Alley Smith serves as chair of the Future Leaders Forum Committee, which produces an annual four-month program for newer lawyers with demonstrated leadership potential. Modeled on the State Bar’s Future Leaders program, this Forum helps identify and educate future leaders both for our Association and for our community. Similar to the Grievance Committee, the Bar’s Fee Arbitration Committee addresses the needs of both the public and our members. Chaired by Greg Kennemer, the Fee Arbitration Committee provides a structure for the resolution of fee disputes between attorneys and clients. Another important committee is the Crisis Relief Committee, chaired by Birmingham Bar Bulletin/ Summer 2014 9


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Summer 2014
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