The Atlanta Lawyer June/July 2019 - Page 5

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE altruistic labor of our Atlanta Bar family. With this honorable tradition in mind, I hope to focus on (and hopefully enlist your participation in) two areas in particular over the course of the upcoming bar year. F irst, I want to explore ways that the Bar and its members can play a role in addressing humanitarian issues that have resulted from the current circumstances surrounding immigration in our community. I recognize that immigration is a divisive issue, perhaps the most divisive issue we face as a nation today. And to be clear, I want to leave the political dynamics with the politicians, where they should be. But while the political process looks for solutions, the fact remains that there are many people in our community without immigration status who are in desperate need of our help. Legal help. Men, women, and children who are being taken advantage of and preyed upon. People who need help with the most basic human necessities – shelter, freedom from violence, freedom from human trafficking. People who can obtain assistance and justice based on laws already on the books, but not without lawyers. As lawyers, we are uniquely situated to help address those needs, to show our community who we are and how we believe people should be treated. I also recognize that there are already a lot of wonderful organizations who are doing tremendous work in this area: GAIN, Kids in Need of Defense, the Southern Poverty Law Center, among many others. It is certainly not my intent to step on any toes as we look for ways for the Bar to help, whether it’s finding ways to direct our members to volunteer opportunities with some of these organizations, or shining a light on the areas of greatest need, or perhaps even finding a gap that needs to be filled by a new program. I have already spoken with folks from some of the non-profit organizations working in this area to get their input on this initiative. We will continue with these conversations as we look for things the Atlanta Bar family can do to help. S econd, I would like to focus on innovation of the Atlanta Bar Association as a whole. As I mentioned above, the world continues to change and the legal profession with it. If the Atlanta Bar doesn’t continue to evolve and innovate, we put at risk everything many generations of lawyers have worked so hard to build the Atlanta Bar family. Throughout the years, the Atlanta Bar has always been on the lookout for new programs to better serve and appeal to its members, and that will not change. For example, last year, the Bar established a Wellness Committee focused solely on protecting and restoring the physical and mental well-being of its members. We have received a great response The legal profession has changed a great deal in the 28 years since my father was President. The world has gotten smaller. Practices are not just local or regional, but national if not global. But despite this globalization, Atlanta remains our home. And the Atlanta Bar remains our family [...] And nothing is more we intend to start a study group to look at more profound ways the Bar can change to better meet the needs of its members. I have asked Atlanta Bar stalwart, Steve LaBriola, to help lead this effort. I would like for that group to take the time necessary – both this year and in the year that follows – to conduct a thoughtful, deliberate process where we essentially put everything on the table, from changes to our pricing model, to structural changes of the bar, and to everything in between. If there are better ways to meet our constituents’ needs, we will identify them, explore them, and raise them for possible implementation by the Board. Both of these initiatives – humanitarian issues associated with immigration and finding ways for the Bar to evolve and innovate – are significant and present real challenges. But they also present wonderful opportunities for the Atlanta Bar to remain a positive force for lawyers in Atlanta, and for the larger Atlanta community. A number of people have already volunteered to assist with these initiatives, but we can use all the help we can get. Please reach out and let us know how we can get you and your colleagues involved, either with these initiatives or any of the many other opportunities for service and leadership offered by the Atlanta Bar. T hank you very much for your interest in and service to the Atlanta Bar and for your continued support and participation in the Atlanta Bar family. We look forward to another great year for the Atlanta Bar Association. important than family. And just like it always has, the Atlanta Bar remains a powerful force for good in our community. to this new committee, and we expect that to continue in the upcoming bar year. And while we will continue to think of new programs and initiatives for our members, given the changing world we live in, we must also take a longer term view to make sure the Atlanta Bar remains appealing to lawyers in 2020 and beyond. To that end, The Official News Publication of the Atlanta Bar Association THE ATLANTA LAWYER 5