An interesting time for all lawyers
These are certainly “interesting times” for our profession. The economy and technology is forcing the practice of law to evolve. The demands of practice continues to increase. Students coming out of law school have a massive amount of debt and cannot find jobs. Studies find that people are spending more and more on legal services each year, but less and less of the money is being paid to lawyers at least partially because people cannot afford to hire a lawyer. To address this issue, some states have started issuing limited licenses to practice law to non-lawyers akin to a nurse practitioner.
It is also an interesting time for the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. The Board of Governors recently passed changes to our bylaws changing the way officers are elected and established a nominating committee. Implementing these changes and ensuring a smooth transition is one of my highest priorities. The makeup of our membership continues to change. Lawyers are working much later in their lives. We have members who are in their 20’s and just starting their careers, members who are in their 80’s and are ending their careers and everything in between. I have learned that each of these groups is unique and have their own distinct needs and ways they communicate. We will continue to build on what we have been doing to deliver the message in a way that works best for you. In addition, I am creating a task force to review all of our committees, sections and programs to ensure that we are still meeting the needs of our members.
Due to the hard work and dedication of our Executive Director, staff, board members and past-presidents such as Joe Frank, Jon Baris and Heather Hays, we have seen the downward trend in membership rebound and have seen a 10 percent increase in membership in the past year. The association has established reserves and is starting to fund those reserves with a target level consistent with other associations our size.
While these are very positive signs, we need to work hard to continue these trends and grow the association. To accomplish this goal, I need your help. Over my 17 years of serving in some capacity of BAMSL leadership, I observed one overriding recurring theme or story about how people became involved in BAMSL: someone they respected asked them to join and become involved. In planning for the upcoming year, I spoke with a lot of members and non-members about joining or becoming more involved. At some point in each conversation, I would ask why the person was not a member or if they were not a member, why they were not more involved. The overwhelming response I received was either “no one asked me” or they were not familiar with all that BAMSL does and did not realize how they could contribute. Maybe you can pass that information along.” I always thought this was good advice and I am asking the same of each of you:
1. Participate in one additional BAMSL event, activity or committee. BAMSL has a wide variety of things to choose, including the annual Bench and Bar Conference in May. If you are not sure of all the options, check the calendar on the website or call and speak with the staff.
2. When you do choose, ask at least one new person to come with you.
3. Tell people what you are doing. Each of you know people who are both members and non-members.
4. Encourage younger lawyers to become involved and provide them the time away from the office to do so. While it may not seem so at the time, the investment in these lawyers will pay off in the future.
I know that each of us make a commitment to do these simple things, the association will continue to grow and thrive. I am very humbled and honored for the opportunity to serve as your President. For those of you who I already know, I look forward to seeing you again. For those of you whom I have not yet met, I look forward to meeting you at an event in the future. Please feel free to stop me at an event or contact me at the office (firstname.lastname@example.org), say hello, and let me know your thoughts.
Seth A. Albin
2015-2016 BAMSL President
Important Message from July 16, 2015