Sara G. Neill
BAMSL President, 2019-20
Shareholder, Capes Sokol
Originally published in the June 2019 issue of the St. Louis Lawyer magazine. View in the archives.
When I walked into the Missouri Athletic Club on the morning of May 2 for the Law Day celebration, I was running late due to terrible traffic on Hwy. 40, and I was nervous. My nerves were likely due to anticipation of my remarks and the huge amount of responsibility I was about to take on as president of BAMSL.
I began to relax as I was greeted by my colleagues from Capes Sokol, my family and so many friends I have made through this organization. My dear friend and presidential liaison, John Gunn, gave me a quick pep talk.
The ballroom was filled with attorneys and judges there to hear presidential historian Jon Meacham (he was awesome!), and to support the Hon. Booker Shaw in his receipt of the Distinguished Lawyer Award, Sheena Hamilton in her receipt of the John Sheppard Professionalism Award, Christina Lewis Abate and Cardina Johnson as they received the Ronda F. Williams Community Awareness Award, and all the presidential and YLD award honorees. There was just so much excitement and energy in the room. It was the place to be on that rainy, Thursday afternoon.
During my remarks, I first thanked John Simon for his tremendous leadership and service to BAMSL over the last year. He was a champion for pro bono legal services, led our efforts to increase membership (and was successful), and always took the time to mentor his fellow Executive Committee members. John has been a good friend and I am thankful he will continue as a member of the Executive Committee for another year.
I then spoke about BAMSL’s focus areas over the next 12 months. In addition to community service and involvement in projects such as the Pro Bono Challenge and St. Louis Attorneys Against Hunger, we want to continue our focus on public policy and advocacy for issues important to the legal profession and our own legal community. We plan to continue to have regular meetings with our representatives in Washington, D.C., and Jefferson City, Mo.
In addition, we want to strengthen our substantive law committees and sections. It is through these groups that our members have regular opportunities to meet and build relationships with lawyers with similar interests and areas of practice; develop networks for referrals, education, support and collaboration; are able to promote their practices through speaking and writing opportunities; and can work with other lawyers to provide comments about proposed laws that may impact their practices, or perhaps write amicus briefs.
I hope all BAMSL members will check out our new Web site (www.bamsl.org) and log on to your accounts to ensure the substantive law sections and committees you are signed up for are accurate, as well as to update your personal and law
firm information. I also encourage you to reach out and introduce yourself to your section and committee chairs and share ideas for programming or other things you think your section or committee should be doing.
In the meantime, I hope to see everyone at the free member party, Rendezvous on the Roof, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wed., June 19 at a fabulous location, the Caramel Room in the Bissinger building (1600 N. Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63102; free parking is available in the building’s private, gated lot). Please make sure you RSVP at www.bamsl.org/events. It promises to be a great networking event.