Important Message from July 16, 2015
An Important Message from BAMSL President Seth Albin
July 16, 2015
Dear BAMSL Members,
You may or may not have seen the recent article on STLToday.com regarding accessibility to BAMSL’s building and offices. I wanted to take this opportunity to clear up any misconceptions about BAMSL that may have arisen due to this article.
The article references difficulty in access to BAMSL offices for members and visitors who have disabilities. When the BAMSL offices were designed, it was our priority to exceed the requirements set forth by the ADA and make the offices as user friendly as possible.
BAMSL’s headquarters are located at 555 Washington Ave. There are three entrances to the building, one on Washington Ave, one on 6th Street and one on Lucas Ave. The owners of the building, Greater Missouri Builders, have designated the entrance at Lucas to be the entrance for people with disabilities and/or special needs.
In April, a former member (referenced in the above article) notified BAMSL staff that the entrance on Washington Ave was difficult to enter for those with disabilities due to the heavy doors which do not have automatic door openers. We then initiated discussions with our landlord. Please note that 555 Washington Ave is currently ADA compliant, but not as accessible as we would prefer. We requested adding automatic doors to the entrance off Washington Ave.
On Sunday, July 12, I learned that the same former member posted a complaint about BAMSL on her Facebook account. I immediately reached out to her to schedule a face-to-face meeting for the following day to hear her concerns and take the appropriate steps address those concerns. We were set to meet Monday, which she unfortunately canceled and did not want to reschedule. Additionally I reached out to the chair of the facilities committee, Tony Soukenik and provided Mr. Soukenik’s contact information to the concerned former member. Mr. Soukenik agreed that it was important to have increased accessibility for all, which was one of the primary reasons for a ground level BAMSL office.
Since the former member is a valued member of BAMSL (27 years) and is a strong voice for those with disabilities, I offered to waive her membership for this bar year. It was my hope that she could offer her valuable input and assistance in our work with the owners of our building to offer more convenient and reasonable access for those with disabilities. When she ultimately refused the offer of free membership and the opportunity to give more input on the situation, BAMSL staff removed her from the database to ensure that she no longer received invoice information for past dues.
It is unfortunate the member elected to voice her frustration through the media rather than meet with us directly to resolve the issue. Please know that if you would ever like to discuss an issue or have a suggestion for improving BAMSL, you can reach out to me directly.
The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis