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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Winter 2013

President’s Message Robert R. Baugh From the President Th is has been quite a year for your Bar Association. It has been a real privilege for me to participate in the Bar’s many activities in 2013. Th is year also has been an important one for the City of Birmingham. Our City commemorated the 50th anniversary of the events of 1963 and beyond, and the Bar took an active role in recognizing this milestone anniversary. First, our Law Day celebration was simply outstanding. Cochaired by Charlie Lorant and Suzanne Paulson, we had a huge turnout for this event with a record-breaking 240 tickets sold. Th e Law Day CLE panel, which included Judges Privett, Clemon and Brown, Robin Burrell and moderator Brandon Falls, presented an excellent discussion about the progress made in our legal community throughout the past half-century. On May 4th, we celebrated the Journey for Justice Gala at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center. More than 700 people attended this event which was one of the Bar’s largest dinners in memory. Co-sponsored by the Birmingham Bar Foundation and the Magic City Bar Association, the Gala honored many of the attorneys who took an active role in helping to end segregation in Birmingham and help move the City forward. Countless hours were spent in planning the Gala, which was co-chaired by Debbie Smith and Linda Cole. Th e eff orts of Bar Foundation President Arnita Foster, Executive Director Nikki Tucker Th omas, and Magic City Bar Association President Tameka Wren, along with many others, were remarkable in the planning and execution of this historic event. Notably, the Gala raised more than $74,000 for the Foundation and more than $13,000 for the Magic City Bar’s Scholarship Program. Th e documentary fi lm that debuted at the Gala, “Preserving Justice,” was developed and written by a Committee co-chaired by LaVeeda Battle and Leila Watson, and it is singularly impressive. Produced by the Alabama Center for Public Television in Tuscaloosa, the fi lm recently aired on Alabama Public Television and is an important reminder of the many contributions made by lawyers during the tumultuous times of the 1960s. Judge U. W. Clemon, Mason Davis, Bill Baxley and other Birmingham lawyers are insightful spokesmen in relating the events in Birmingham and the role that our legal community played to advance and promote progress. Th e Bar Foundation also produced a “Teaching Toolkit” to accompany the fi lm as part of an educational module, which is being presented this Fall in area junior high, high schools, and colleges. A number of lawyers have already volunteered to make these presentations, but please let the Bar or the Foundation know if you have interest in making one. I am pleased to report that the Birmingham Bar Volunteer Lawyers Program is back in full swing. We are excited to welcome Nancy Yarbrough as the new Executive Director for the BBVLP, and I encourage you to consider volunteering to help support the Program. It’s work is critical to providing access to justice for so many members of our community who otherwise go unrepresented, and it is an important way for Bar members to contribute to our community. Last year, the Jeff erson County Indigent Defense Committee recommended the establishment of a Public Defender’s offi ce. Th is eff ort has now come to fruition as new Jeff erson County Public Defender Kira Fonteneau has completed initial hires and is ramping up the offi ce. We anticipate that the Public Defender’s offi ce will provide excellent representation for those citizens who face serious charges and cannot aff ord counsel. Also, we are very pleased that the Legal Aid Society will move into the Bar Center during the fi rst quarter of 2014. Build-out has begun on the third fl oor of the Bar Center and the space will be occupied by Martha Jane Patton and her administrative team. I think it is fabulous that our Bar Center will soon host the Bar Association, the Bar Foundation, the BBVLP, and the Legal Aid Society. Our Bar truly is a leader in our state. 8 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Winter 2013
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