Building Bridges

As CHAIR OF THE ABA Law Practice Division (LP),
I’ve chosen the theme of “building bridges” to guide the work of the Division and its constituent entities this year. Working together, we will commence building these bridges upon the solid foundation laid by our predecessors such as Lewis F. Powell, who served as the first chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Economics of Law Practice and later as ABA president and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Powell noted that “[t]he basic concept of freedom under law, which underlies our entire structure of government, can only be sustained by a strong and independent bar.” Every day LP fosters the public interest by ensuring a strong and healthy legal profession by providing outstanding publications such as our magazine, Law Practice; our webzine, Law Practice Today; other resources such as Law Technology Today;
CLEs on the latest developments in law practice; in-depth publications on issues of concern to the profession; and continuing
outreach to our colleagues of the bench and bar in our four core areas of law practice, namely, management, marketing, finance and technology. This year one of the bridges we will build will be establishing lawyer leadership as a key component of the work of LP. In October we will convene the inaugural lawyer leadership conference, ABA LEAD LAW. Lawyer leadership is essential to the success of LP and especially is the engine of any successful volunteer organization, our membership in leading their practices, their firms and within their respective communities. As chair of LP’s Member Development Committee, I have led this charge for many years and will continue to do so as Division chair.

Our LP membership provides value and relevance and informs who we are as lawyers, as leaders in our practices, in the bar and within our communities.

If LP is to secure its legacy as the leading voice for ensuring a strong and healthy legal profession by educating and informing lawyers on the “business of practicing law” we must grow. If we are to continue advancing the evolving practice of law and providing the vital resources our members require, we must depend upon a stable, and growing, membership base. I advocate that there is a compelling case why every lawyer should belong to LP. Fundamentally, it’s about making an investment in yourself, your professional and personal development and what that is worth to you. Every attorney can benefit from membership in the Division. Our LP membership provides value and relevance and informs who we are as lawyers, as leaders in our practices, in the bar and within our communities. If you also believe in the importance of securing a strong and independent bar, as Justice Powell noted during his tenure as our chair, it is time to pay that forward. I can think of no better way to “grow” our membership than by enlisting the support of each of our members. What better entree into
LP than one who already understands and appreciates the value? Encourage that young lawyer, that mid-level associate, the solo on Main Street, the in-house counselor attorney in public service to look us over this year. And make sure they join one or more of our substantive committees that relate to their area(s) of interest in law practice. If, after this year, they are not convinced of the value, or the relevance, of belonging to LP, have them contact me. To those of you who are already members of the Division, I encourage you to step up your game and consider enhancing your engagement with LP by serving on one of our many committees, attending our meetings, participating in our CLEs or purchasing one of our publications. This will be a great year for the Division. Come help us build bridges. Together we can! LP

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