The Atlanta Lawyer August/September 2019 - Page 4

Welcome Back to the Atlanta Bar Association (Even if you never left)! I n this day and age, we live in a global economy, with rapidly evolving advancements in communications that facilitate connections spanning states, regions, countries, and even continents. The evolution of legal practices have kept apace, allowing attorneys to expand their practices in ways that were once unimaginable. Now, Atlanta-based firms and lawyers regularly pursue opportunities to work with clients around the country and around the world. These expanding opportunities have been key drivers in the expansion of the legal practice in Atlanta, which now boasts offices for firms based across the United States and well beyond its borders. But while these expanding opportunities may take us far from Atlanta, it is important to remember that Atlanta is our home. It is not just where we are based, but it is where we live. Maintaining a strong contact with the Atlanta Bar not only allows us to stay in touch with the local legal community, but with the greater Atlanta community of which the Bar remains a critical part. 4 August/September 2019 RYAN K. WALSH Jones Day rkwalsh@jonesday.com For well over a century, the Atlanta Bar Association has striven to provide its members with ongoing support, networking opportunities, continuing education, leadership opportunities, and perhaps most importantly, fellowship among the local bar. The good news is that the Atlanta Bar Association’s work does not stop with Atlanta’s lawyers but reaches out into the larger Atlanta community as a whole. For example, the Atlanta Bar Foundation’s The Legal Runaround provides financial support for college scholarships to children of Atlanta Police officers who have been disabled or killed in the line of duty. The Atlanta Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service (w w w.atlantabar.org/page/lrishome) provides Atlanta’s citizens with an invaluable resource to help them gain access to local lawyers. Meanwhile, programs that began as Atlanta Bar Association projects - like the Truancy Intervention Project (https://www. truancyproject.org/), the Georgia Asylum and Immigration Project (https://georgiaasylum. org/), and even the Atlanta Legal Aid Society (https://atlantalegalaid.org/) - continue to provide less fortunate members of our community with legal and other services from local lawyers. While so much around us changes at an ever increasing pace, the Atlanta Bar Association and its steady contributions have remained a comforting constant. But while the Atlanta Bar Association's positive presence may have been a constant, the Atlanta Bar Association staff and its leadership continue to look for new ways to supports its members. Just last year, the Atlanta Bar Association started a Wellness Committee. Anyone engaged in the practice of law for very long understands the physical and mental toll this profession can exact on those who practice law and, for the first time, the Bar has a committee focused solely on improving the physical and mental well-being of its members. The Atlanta Bar Association also began a program called “SideBar” that enables members of the bar to gather for social and mentoring opportunities in smaller groups around town. The response to this new initiative has been wonderful, and the program has begun its second year with great energy and momentum. In addition, this fall, our new Innovation Study Group will begin to work in earnest on taking a hard look at the way the Atlanta Bar Association operates at the most fundamental levels to explore ways that we can better serve our members. As noted above, the legal practice continues to evolve, and it is critical for the Atlanta Bar Association to evolve with it. I am excited that Judge Sara Doyle (Court of Appeals of Georgia) and Steve LaBriola (Fellows LaBriola LLP) have agreed to co-chair this critical initiative, and we are extremely grateful for the group of lawyers who have already agreed to participate. Together, we will push this project forward over the next two years to help ensure that the Atlanta Bar Association