by Paul Stafford
It’s the middle of the summer. The resolutions of the New Year are now long forgotten, the first six months of 2012 are now recent history, and the challenges and opportunities of the remainder of the year await. So, how is your Dallas Bar Association at the mid-point? To use a sports metaphor, how are we doing at “half-time?” Well, we’ve got six in one hand…so, let’s reflect on the first half of the year.
At the Dallas Bar Association’s Inaugural in January, I inquired of our members “Who are you?” I responded that you are some of the best, brightest and most prominent people that Dallas has to offer. I reminded you that you are all unique in your own way, yet united by commonality, defined by commitment, with collective conscience to achieve common causes. I also inquired of our members as to whether they are fully committed and engaged, and encouraged you as a member to commit, engage, improve and enhance this bar association…and by extension, your profession and your community. I encouraged you to donate a portion of your most precious commodity (“time”) to the Dallas Bar Association in 2012. At 2012’s mid-point, I’m checking-in on that commitment and that engagement.
In the preceding six months, there have been many opportunities for involvement with our Bar. Each of our Sections and Committees have been very active in providing professional development, CLEs and service opportunities. In addition, the DBA has commissioned a Trial Academy for the purpose of providing practical litigation tips and training to the newer members of our bar. Through “Arts Month” in April, the DBA has promoted a greater collaboration with the arts community here in Dallas. The DBA has co-hosted the Marshall Forum—an international gathering of thought leaders on the transatlantic relationship and the implications of law and the economy upon that relationship. There have been collaborative events with groups outside of our Bar, including accountants and business leaders. The Bar has continued its commitment to diversity and inclusion, and has hosted several events in that regard, including the Minority Clerkship Luncheon in June, with the next Minority Clerkship Luncheon scheduled for July 13.
Looking forward into the second half of 2012, we know that the “fierce urgency of now” remains and we must remind ourselves daily that “Our Time Is Now.” Accordingly, I ask each of our members individually “How are you progressing on those 12 hours that we talked about in January?” Have you committed yourselves to professional development, community services, personal growth or any of the other aspects of engagement with the Dallas Bar Association? At half-time, do you have the time to help us…the time to help yourselves, our profession and our community?
The potential and prospects for a most successful year exists, but it will require the same (or greater) level of commitment and engagement that has brought us thus far. We hold in our collective hands the power, responsibility and ability to continue great works and to effectuate great change. Continue to commit to the diligent work of our award-winning Sections and Committees. Continue your commitment to volunteer pro bono services and support the upcoming Campaign for Equal Access to Justice, so that those less fortunate in our community may be afforded much needed legal assistance and counsel. Participate in the Bench Bar Conference on September 27-29, which is an excellent opportunity to receive CLE credit and to network with fellow attorneys and members of the judiciary (www.regonline.com/2012bbc). Support the Philbin Awards on October 1, in which excellence in legal reporting will be recognized (www.dallasbar.org/philbin). Attend the Dallas Bar Association’s Diversity Summit on November 29, and engage in a productive dialogue on diversity and best practices which ensure and promote diversity within our profession.
Thanks for allowing me to serve as your President during a great first-half. Thanks to the DBA staff for all of their hard work in ensuring a consistent and professional product in your bar. In addition, I certainly would like to thank you as members for all that you are doing. My challenge to you within the next six months is to find a way in which you can enhance and improve your bar, your profession and your community. As I requested at the commencement of this wonderful year, I ask that you have the time to make 2012 the year of now.