Article by Tiffany M. Graves 1 2017–2018 CABA PresidentPosted 01/01/2017
As I prepare to the round the corner of my year as CABA President, I am struck by the hard work and diligence of our committees. I have often commented to Board members and others about how lucky we have been this year to have a committee chair roster full of attorneys who are dedicated to their committees and the association as a whole. I want to use this, my penultimate column, to brag on their good works and, in doing so, remind all of you of everything we have accomplished together so far this year. They say "teamwork makes the dream work." Well, in the case of CABA's committees, that phrase is definitely true.
We will hold the final membership meeting of this Board year on April 17. The Bench & Bar Relations Committee, chaired by Kyle Williams, has planned a new appellate judges panel for the meeting that will include the following justices and judges: Justice Dawn Beam, Justice Robert Chamberlin, Judge Sean Tindell, and Judge Latrice Westbrooks. Kyle has done an outstanding job of securing these judges for the panel. I am excited to hear their perspectives as both new judges and attorneys who answered the call to public service.
We are incredibly fortunate to have Margaret Cupples leading our annual judges' dinner where we recognize and thank our local, state and federal judges and present awards to outstanding CABA and Jackson Young Lawyers Association members. This is Margaret's second year leading this committee. She stepped in (and saved us) last year when the chair we appointed moved to Texas. The Honorable Bernice Bouie Donald, U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, is the keynote speaker. The committee has done an excellent job of planning what promises to be a special evening for CABA members and our distinguished guests.
While several of our committees offer service opportunities for members, the Community Outreach & Pro Bono Committee was created to coordinate both non-law related public service events and pro bono projects. Jhasmine Andrews and Ashley Hendricks have worked hard this year to bring service opportunities that are a bit different from the norm. The committee held an Immigration CLE in the fall and followed it up with an Immigration Legal Advice Clinic at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Madison. Immigration continues to be a hot-button issue in our country. I commend the committee for developing programming around the issue with an eye toward increasing awareness and expanding the network of volunteer attorneys who are helping the local immigrant community overcome legal and other challenges. The committee is planning a legal advice clinic with New Horizon Church in Jackson. It will likely be held in early May.
For the second year in a row, Nakimuli Davis-Primer has led CABA's diversity efforts. She has a strong committee, and they are dedicated to finding ways to educate our membership about the importance of diversity and inclusion within the legal profession. The committee has provided "Did You Know" moments at our membership meetings and submitted a diversity column in the previous issue of this newsletter. They are currently planning a CLE program at the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum that will include a panel discussion and an opportunity for members to tour the museum. The program is scheduled for March 27 from 9:00–11:00 am. Watch your email for more details.
For the 26th year in a row, CABA will host its annual Golf Tournament on March 26 (26 on 26, get it?) at the Country Club of Jackson. Lanny Pace and Ashley Stubbs chair the Golf Tournament and have done an outstanding job of planning this year's event. Per the usual, we expect the tournament to raise a significant amount of money for the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project. We are grateful to the law firms, law schools, and other organizations that contribute to and play in the tournament. We are fortunate to have many long-standing "package" supporters of this event and the Evening Honoring the Judiciary.
Cydney Archie and Alicia Netterville have taken on the big responsibility of chairing our Law-Related Education Committee. As you likely know, the committee conducts an annual essay contest for 6th and 7th-grade students at Jackson area schools. This year, the committee has been proactive about reaching out to schools that have not historically participated in the contest (or only minimally so) and encouraging them to do so. Last year, the committee received over 100 essays submissions. We will honor the 2018 essay contest winners at our membership meeting in June.
For more years than I can remember, former CABA President, Ben Piazza, has led our Library Committee. Ben's commitment to the committee cannot be understated. He has done a fantastic job with his fellow committee members of administering a fund that provides free Westlaw access portals for CABA members and increases technology at our local courthouses. I would encourage all of our members, but especially our solo and small firm members, to take advantage of the free Westlaw portals.
I may be biased, but I think CABA has one of the best bar association newsletters around. Kate Margolis has been the Editor of our newsletter for many years, and she does an outstanding job. Meta Copeland is our Newsletter Coordinator, and she is responsible for making article assignments and gathering the content for each newsletter. I have to also recognize Tripp Douglas, the Creative Director of Crema Design Studio. Tripp works closely with Kate and Meta to design and publish the newsletter for us. We are extremely lucky to have Kate, Meta, and Tripp, and their newsletter committee members — many of whom are long-standing — working on the newsletter and regularly sharing our events and accomplishments.
Each year at the Evening Honoring the Judiciary, CABA presents the Professionalism Award to a member who has demonstrated consistent adherence to professional standards of practice, ethics, integrity, civility, and courtesy; encouraged respect for, and avoided abuse of, the law and its procedures, participants, and processes; and shown commitment to the practice as a learned profession, to the vigorous representation of clients, and to the attainment of the highest levels of knowledge and skill in the law and contributed significant time and resources to public service. CABA's Past President, Meade Mitchell, has assembled an impressive committee of lawyers and judges to select our 2018 recipient.
CABA is an organization full of lawyers with diverse practices, and we strive to provide learning and networking opportunities for all of our members. RaToya Gilmer and Jessica McLaurin are planning an all-day "How to Hang Your Own Shingle" CLE program on April 6 at the Mississippi Bar Center. The event will include substantive legal topics as well as topics about the business and administrative sides of operating your own law firm. Details about the CLE should reach your inboxes soon.
At times, we just need to let our hair down. We also need time and space to network with colleagues and talk about something other than the law. Led by Scott Murray and Stephanie Taylor, our Social Committee has held three events this year, and two in partnership with other bar associations. We held a fall social at The Manship to welcome new attorneys admitted to the Bar in September. We have also held two Bar Review events, at Sombra in Flowood and Fondren Public in Jackson. We partnered with the Rankin County Bar Association for the Sombra Bar Review. We joined the Madison County Bar Association and the Mississippi Women Lawyers Association at Fondren Public. The Social Committee will hold one final event this year, a spring social for those admitted to the Bar in April. The event will be held on April 26. We hope to release the location details soon.
In addition to our appointed chairs, over 100 CABA members serve on our committees, and they have assisted with the above activities in some meaningful way. We are fortunate to have members who are committed to CABA's success and who believe in providing education and outreach opportunities to their fellow local attorneys. I commend our committee leaders for reaching outside of CABA to partner with other bar associations to enhance networking, social and learning possibilities.
For the second year in a row, Kaytie Pickett and Keishunna Webster have led our Women's Initiative Committee. The committee was created to plan and oversee programs and projects that would be of interest to our female members as a way to promote and further gender diversity and inclusion in the profession. The Committee recently hosted a panel titled, "Balancing the Scales: Leading Women Lawyers on Meeting the Challenges of the Legal Profession." The well-attended event featured Margaret Cupples, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, La'Verne Edney, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, Charlene Priester, The Priester Law Firm, and Aileen Thomas, Jones Walker LLP. The panel was moderated by Stephanie Rippee, Watkins & Eager. The panelists engaged in an honest, open discussion about mentoring, work/life balance, and the changing culture of the legal profession. We are sincerely grateful to Kaytie and Keishunna for planning the panel and to Baker Donelson's Women's Initiative and Jones Walker for co-sponsoring the event with us.
If you have not been involved in our committees this year and would like to be next year, please contact Will Manuel, CABA's President-Elect, at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know Will wants to assemble a "dream team" for the 2018–19 Board year, so please let him hear from you, and let's get you even more involved in CABA.
Thank you for your support of CABA. I look forward to seeing you at our April and May events.