It is with much honor and enthusiasm that I provide the Chair's Column for the first edition of the 2002-2003 Committee on Government Lawyers (CGL) newsletter. I have had the opportunity to be a member of CGL since its inception in June 1999. I have seen the good work of the past and present officers and committee members who took a new standing committee of the ISBA, representing a segment of the legal profession that previously had received inadequate attention, and created a voice for the government lawyer. It is my hope that during the upcoming year I can continue to build on the fine efforts of those who preceded me as Chair and provide a means for government lawyers to be heard, as well as for government lawyers to give back to the profession.
During the next year, I hope to initiate a number of programs our Committee has discussed over the last three years. The presentation of a continuing legal education seminar specifically tailored to the ethical issues faced by government lawyers in their everyday practice is being planned for the upcoming year. In addition, the Committee is awaiting the ISBA's approval of a seminar entitled, "Illinois Administrative Practice Before Local Government Administrative Bodies." The seminar, co-sponsored with the Administrative Law and the Local Government Law Section Councils is proposed for presentation this fall. Topics for "brown bag" seminars on subjects of more personal concern to government lawyers, such as retirement planning and pensions, transitioning from the public to private work sector, and similar issues are being discussed for later in the year. The issue of relief from law school debt for those choosing to practice in the public sector is being explored in a number of forms. Our newsletter, which since its first issue has succeeded in providing useful information to all sectors of government practice, will continue to be a valuable tool for the government lawyer. If you have any comments or suggestions on the projects described above, or other projects you think would be of interest to government attorneys, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.
Lastly, on behalf of the CGL, I wish to congratulate Committee member Don Ruff on his receipt of the Presidential Commendation from then-ISBA President Tim Eaton at the April 12, 2002 CGL meeting. Don was a founding member of the CGL, and he has also served with distinction on a number of other ISBA committees. He was instrumental in laying the groundwork for improving the relationship between various government lawyer associations and the ISBA. Moreover, Don played an important role in the creation of the CGL within the ISBA, providing both assistance and a voice to government lawyers throughout Illinois. What makes Don's outstanding work on behalf of government lawyers that much more impressive is that Don is a solo private practitioner in Paris, Illinois. Although he has previously served as the Attorney for the City of Paris, and the Village of Kansas, Illinois, the primary concentration of Don's practice has not been in government representation. Nonetheless, he has seen the similarities between government practice and solo private practice in a small community, where attorneys do not always "choose" their clients, oftentimes work with limited resources and deal with issues affecting the everyday lives of clients and the community. I personally wish to thank Don for his past and ongoing efforts on behalf of government lawyers within the ISBA, and I look forward to working with him on those issues in the future.