ISBA's Bar Leadership Conference and Lawyers Feeding Illinois program are coming up, and the Midyear Meeting helped move our association forward.
The Illinois State Bar Association is a diverse and complex organization. Even as its president, I continue to be amazed at the variety and breadth of programs and projects our Association provides that make our members better lawyers and bar leaders. Here's a look at three.
Bar Leadership Conference. The next of our periodic Bar Leadership Conferences will be May 3-4 at the ISBA's Chicago Regional Office.
The 2013 ISBA Bar Leadership Conference is open to all members but is targeted for up-and-coming leaders within our roughly 100 affiliated bar associations. These are the local, ethnic, and specialty bars that have "affiliated" with the ISBA to better serve their memberships. ISBA-affiliated bar associations include, for example, the Adams County Bar Association, the Puerto Rican Bar Association, and the Illinois Real Estate Attorneys Association.
Topics for this year's conference include technology, membership recruitment and retention, serving young lawyers, publications and marketing, and promoting diversity. The planning committee is scheduling a social event for Friday night, May 3, that you won't want to miss.
If you are active in a local, ethnic, or specialty bar, I encourage you to identify your future leaders and send them to this conference - or to attend yourself. For more information, please contact the ISBA's Director of Bar Services, Janet M. Sosin at 312.726.8775 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2012 Midyear Meeting. We had great participation at the Joint ISBA/IJA Mid-Year Meeting held in Chicago in December. This event included the following features, among others:
• CLE programs on social media (the WBAI joined the ISBA and IJA in sponsoring) and the crisis in court funding;
• The Illinois Bar Foundation Fellows breakfast honoring Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman and former ISBA President Mark D. Hassakis;
• The Friday luncheon featuring the inspirational Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative;
• A number of festive law school alumni receptions;
• Business meetings for many of our more than 70 section councils and standing committees;
• The Joint ISBA/CBA Supreme Court Dinner, with remarks from Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride;
• The meeting of the ISBA's 203-member Assembly, which featured, among other things, greetings from Chief Justice Kilbride, reports from chairs of ISBA special committees (fair and impartial courts, judicial disqualification, and law school debt), action urging the Illinois Supreme Court to revise Rule 63C of the Code of Judicial Conduct (governing recusal for political contributions), reports from the ISBA Mutual Insurance Company and Illinois Bar Foundation, approval of the ISBA's legislative package, and support of nonsponsored legislation (the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act and Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act).
A few days before the Midyear we held our annual luncheon honoring ISBA Distinguished Counselors (those admitted to practice for 50 years). We also completed our fifth hearing on the impact of the law school debt crisis on delivery of legal services (watch for the special committee's report and recommendations this spring). These hearings have included testimony from more than 50 witnesses, including young lawyers, seasoned lawyers, law school deans, law students, hiring partners, plaintiffs lawyers, civil defense lawyers, criminal defense lawyers, legal aid lawyers, business lawyers, prosecutors, at least one undergraduate pre-law advisor, state and local bar leaders, and others.
Lawyers Feeding Illinois. We are approaching the beginning of our Lawyers Feeding Illinois food and fund drive, which will benefit the eight regional food banks across Illinois. The campaign starts February 18. We have teams of lawyers registered from all over the state.
I encourage you to participate, either by registering a team (e.g., your law firm), or by making a financial donation. Better yet, do both! It's easy to get involved - just go to www.lawyersfeedingil.org and make a few simple clicks. By working together on this project, our profession is making a difference for the 1.9 million people in our state who struggle to put food on the table. Won't you join us?