- Our Practice
As I REFLECT UPON THIS ISSUE OF Law Practice, every week there appears to be a new"big issue" impacting our profession, be it in finance, management, marketing or technology—the fourcore areas of the ABA Law Practice Division (LP). ABA Past President William Hubbard has stated, "the ground upon which the practice of law has been built is shifting beneath our very feet." With this shifting ground, it’s important that the legal profession traverse those chasms by building bridges, which has been LP’s history and our theme this year.The big issues affecting the legal profession are immense and unprecedented, including emerging technologies, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and e-discovery. They include the introduction of nonlawyer providers of legal services, alternative fee arrangements and knowledge, and legal project management in a significantly more client-driven practice that is both multigenerational and global.
Today’s practice also concentrates on attorney well-being, with new policies on phased retirement, compressed schedules, telecommuting, temporary leave, flex-time, part-time work and other alternative work arrangements.
Trends that will ensure that tomorrow’s lawyers are provided more flexibility in recognition of their intense workloads. LP has built a tremendous bridge for the profession by providing CLE, periodicals, books, webinars and opportunities for networking on each and every big issue that impacts the legal profession and will continue in that effort to serve its members.
This year we have built bridges to our clients with our new Legal Project Management and Knowledge Strategy Interest Group. We have built bridges to our fellow attorneys through our new Attorney Well-Being Committee and Law Practice Futures Initiative as well as our first national lawyer leadership program, ABA Lead Law, led by Tom Grella. We buttressed our bridges by building upon existing programs such as our ABA Women Rainmakers and the recently celebrated outstanding 30th anniversary of ABA TECHSHOW.
Most importantly, we have built bridges to one another. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the many people who have provided assistance, encouragement and support. I thank our
Executive Committee and Council for their commitment to LP, and theirhelp and support during my term as chair. LP is in good hands with chair-elect John Mitchell ready to assume the office of chair, Bill Ferreira becoming chair elect and Katy Goshtasbi as vice chair.
I sincerely appreciate LP’s director, Josh Poje, and an amazingly helpful staff for all they have done to make this a very memorable year. Our staff members work diligently to accomplish their work and promote LP. I thank them for their tremendous efforts and support. I also thank our entity chairs and their members for their efforts.
I also express appreciation for my firm for allowing me the opportunity to be away from the office a bit more than normal, and my wife, Jeni Smith, for all of her love and support. Serving as LP chair is a wonderful experience, but it takes a lot of time and effort. Having a supportive wife and staff makes the job so much easier and better!
There are many challenges ahead for LP, ones that I am confident we will embrace and meet. Thank you all again for your support and making LP the excellent professional organization it is.
In parting, I’m reminded of a Winston Churchill quote: "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." As my term comes to a close, I find myself thinking about "the end of the beginning" and continuing to do the work of a great ABA Law Practice Division "helping lawyers practice law effectively and successfully while maintaining the highest standards of the profession."
May we always continue to build bridges to traverse the big issues—for together we always can! LP