Message from your President
LET'S RE-IMAGINE THE PROFESSION, TOGETHER!
All State Bar Association leadership and work on behalf of the State Bar Members is, and should be, designed and intended to make the Members' practice of law easier, more enjoyable, more fulfilling and more satisfying.
Thought for today: UCLA legendary basketball coach, John Wooden's handwritten insert in his copy of The Art of Living by Wilferd Peterson: "Treat all people with dignity and respect."
Together, even if immediately not perceptible, we are getting and doing better. We are talking, thinking, rekindling and reimagining. We all push hard, in a professional manner, to close 2013 with pride.
Our Oath, our Rules of Professional Conduct, the Rule of Law and our support of Fair and Impartial Courts, daily, continue to guide us; support us; strengthen us; help us make things better, for our clients, ourselves, our families and our form of government.
Thank you to our immediate Past Presidents' strategic leadership and vision: Bob Morris (2009-10); Dick Casey (2010-11); Pat Goetzinger (2011-12) and Tom Nicholson (2012-13). We continue their momentum: strategic planning, implementing, mentoring, seeking balance, giving back, connecting and reimagining the profession, together.
The 2013-14 Bar Commission, Bar Leadership and Management, Bar Committees and Young Lawyers Section, continue aggressive implementation of the Strategic Plan (SP). Please do not hesitate to acknowledge and compliment them for their earnest professional work on our behalf.
In 2010-11, the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC), with facilitation assistance from the American Bar Association, developed and recommended a SP to the Bar Commission. In October 2011, the Bar Commission adopted the SP, an ongoing work in progress into the future. The SP Vision and five Goals guide us accordingly.
I suggest we all look at our profession and our practices through the lens of the SP's vision, i.e., the "calling." I believe all of us and our practices are supported by the SP's Goals and Strategic Areas, and of course, their aggressive implementation.
Vision: Bringing all lawyers together through our common calling of professionalism and service, the State Bar of South Dakota seeks to foster the highest quality of representation for our members' clients and integrity in the administration of justice.
Goal 1: To provide a foundation for our members to achieve professional excellence and personal fulfillment.
Goal 2: To provide meaningful access to justice.
Goal 3: To have a fair and impartial judiciary that provides affordable, timely justice and instills public trust and confidence in the judicial system.
Goal 4: To enhance the reputation of the profession so that there is public understanding about the role of lawyers in preventing, addressing and solving legal issues, and serving the public interest.
Goal 5: To have the communications, operational and governance infrastructure to support the strategic plan and our vision.
In April 2012 and April 2013, the SPC created action plans with priorities for implementation of the SP. Implementation action ensued, and continues, as part of an ongoing goal and strategic area process. I provide an overview update of this ongoing process.
. . .
Hire strategic plan program coordinator, Francy Foral.
Francy reports to Tom Barnett, our Executive Director. Tom reports to the Bar Commission. Dick Casey chairs the SPC. President Elect Tom Frieberg and I are committed to continued aggressive implementation of the SP.
SP Coordinator working and planning with all Bar Committees and Related Groups.
Continuing public and member outreach and education.
Enhance CLE Committee and State Bar programming options.
Alternative delivery options (online/Webinar).
Legal Services Committee/Bar Commission continue work on access to justice and legal services funding challenges, including facilitation of recommendations of Chief Justice's Task Force on Access to Justice.
Enhance A2J pro bono, modest means, transition and legal services coordination programming.
Support Project Rural Practice Task Force programming, co-chaired by Pat Goetzinger and Bob Morris. Passage of 2013 Attorney Recruitment Bill, HB 1096/ABA National recognition/NY Times front page support.
I invite you to the State Bar and Project Rural Practice websites for detailed information.
ABA President Jim Silkenat, in his Sept. 10, 2013 membership letter, advanced an initiative entitled "Legal Access Job Corps." It is focused on efforts to match unemployed or underemployed new lawyers with the significant unmet legal needs that exist around the United States. The purpose of Mr. Silkenat's letter is two-fold: 1) he wants to make certain we are aware of this project and ask that we follow the initiative developments; and 2) he wants to know more about any similar initiatives that may be underway within state bar associations nationwide.
Because President Silkenat is quite familiar with South Dakota, having attended and spoke at the June 2013 Jackrabbit Bar Conference in Keystone, SD, he then stated in his letter: "We know that the Bar of South Dakota recently adopted legislation that will promote rural law practices throughout the state."
From my national and state travels as Bar President Elect and President to Chicago, IL, Missoula, MT, San Francisco, CA and across our state, I can say that the South Dakota State Bar is nationally known and admired, leading the way in many program areas, Project Rural Practice being one. Past leadership and Executive Director Barnett have positioned us well on the national stage. We can be proud.
Support Law School Committee programming at USD Law School.
Law student outreach involves numerous areas of the SP.
Support Young Lawyer Section SP work
Strengthen Mentor Coin Program.
Statewide Swearing in Ceremony at Capitol Rotunda in Pierre for new lawyers, conducted by Chief Justice Gilbertson.
Circuit Mixers around the State.
Boot Camps for young lawyers.
Civics education initiative.
Support for Members' assistance, mental health and otherwise.
Appointment of Lawyers Assistance Committee.
Coordinate activities related to mental health issues and coordinate with Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers.
Caribou Coffee Club.
Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers.
DOR Member Assistance Program.
Agreement with South Dakota Regional Mental Health Centers.
ABA CoLAP Review.
Enhance Membership connectedness.
Website and Newsletter programming.
Continue education and outreach with Local Bar Associations and Related Groups.
Appoint Social Media Committee
Consider Members only communications platform
Consider Website enhancement
Continue Annual Meeting enhancements.
Appoint Lawyer Referral Committee.
Task Force planning and programming for Lawyer Referral Service.
Conduct ABA PAR (Program of Assistance and Review)
Appoint Public Service Committee
Seek lawyer candidates for our State Legislature
Few lawyers in the House; no lawyers in the Senate at present time.
Investigate options to enhance the Bar Foundation.
Essentially, IOLTA funding has dried up. As Members, you have stepped to the plate to support your educational and charitable arm of the profession through the opt out dues program. Our State Bar continues to work options concerning significant funding challenges.
There is more SP activity ongoing. But, this brief SP process overview provides you with a sense of the direction of your State Bar. This direction, I am satisfied, helps define the value and relevance of the State Bar to you as Members. In my judgment, your State Bar indeed does have value and relevance to you and your profession.
The State Bar needs your participation. We have not conducted a comprehensive Membership Survey in over a decade. We conducted a work-life survey several years ago. The purpose of this Survey is to provide updated professional and business information to our Members to inform their practices and to assist our strategic planning processes.
The survey can be filled in the November newsletter and mailed in, or completed online. Whether by hard copy or electronic response (Survey Monkey, trust me, it is easy, even for me), please plan to be a part of this professional effort.
For today, let's continue to strive, together. Thanks.