Our Year at a Glance

Amanda Green Alexander

Article by Amanda Green Alexander Featured Author


CABA has truly moved from the Bench, The Bar & Beyond.

The Bench

How many times have you heard the complaint, "We have no idea what the judge wants." And how many times have you heard a judge say "You have no idea what I need, or what you are doing, do you?" Well, hopefully not.

But this year, our Bench & Bar Relations Committee, led by Judge Linda Anderson and Tianna Raby, kicked off a program to help us develop practical tips from the bench to aid in our practices.

The federal bench invited CABA members to participate in a series of quarterly "chamber chats" which allowed us to visit with the federal court and engage in one on one interactions with the workings of the court.

Additionally, we teamed up with the Fifth Circuit Bar Association to co-sponsor a dinner chat with members of the Fifth Circuit and other federal judiciary.

As customary, we sought to honor our judges with our annual Evening Honoring the Judiciary. It is our culminating event of the year to honor our judiciary and members of the Bar who have maintained a commitment to the bar, the bench and beyond. There are more highlights of this great event in this issue of our newsletter.

The Bar

CABA offered CLE's at every meeting thanks to Jennie Eichelberger and Marlena Pickering who help pull off the laundry list of CLE programs that mattered to me:

Our Legislative Update for the 2015 Session was all but calm as we heard from panelists Representative David Baria, Andy Taggert, Esq., Jere Nash. Our panel was moderated by Moderator: Jennifer Riley Collins, General Counsel/Executive Director of the ACLU of Mississippi.

We tackled intergenerational issues with a program titled "Tackling Intergenerational Management (or What to Do with Someone in Your Office That Has Never Seen Animal House)" by Will Manuel. While the room was filled with baby boomers, Gen Xers and millennials, we all seemed to take away many of the same thoughts — times are changing and we had better look up from our desks to explore more about each other.

Our solo and small firm practitioners voiced their concerns that they were overwhelmed in the practice and wanted resources, so this year, we embarked on the first installment of a new series entitled "Getting Help to Move Beyond Administration to Enjoy the Practice." Led by Gerald Mumford and Cody Gibson, the CABA Solo/Small Firm Committee held a one hour CLE with a great breakfast and vendors to assist in your practice including accountants, technology, insurance, banks and more.

Finally we wrapped up the year with a dynamic three hour CLE entitled "Shaking Things UP: A View from the Bench, the Bar and Beyond." Of course that title could have described either a good CLE or a very interesting martini, but it was fantastic CLE. The panelists challenged us to not only consider our biases but to determine that they were both positive and negative biases that influence our decision making in our profession and our community. Panelists included members of the federal and state judiciary, practitioners, and even Judge Bernice Donald of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, all of whom encouraged us to go beyond our profession and consider our impact as servant leaders. This event was co-sponsored by the Womens Caucus of the MS Association of Justice, Magnolia Bar and MWLA.

We also know how to party and network with each other. This year we welcomed new members to the bar with our Fall and Spring social and our women's Initiative led by Wendy Ellard.

As all good leaders do, we ask people for help and as former President of the MS Women Lawyers Association, I knew we could depend on MWLA to co-sponsor great events. They have been awesome! We also held a Women's Initiative Social Collaboration with MWLA and the MAJ Women's Caucus in the "Defense of Soles" Networking Event.

  • MWLA Holiday Mix and Mingle Event: A social promoting female leadership in the legal profession and a book drive for Mississippi Children's Home Services.
  • Establishment of a separate listing of female CABA members: This list will be used to publicize future female member-only events and solicit additional support for our Women's Initiatives Committee.

The Diversity Committee, led by LaVerne Edney and Tammy Brown, helped to co-sponsor a much needed CLE on the Role of the Grand Jury in the wake of Ferguson

CABA continued its commitment to minority scholarships at MC Law School and The University of Mississippi Law School, established by former president Tom Alexander and named in honor of my dearest mentor-Reuben V. Anderson

This year our annual Golf tournament was held to benefit the MS Volunteer Lawyers Project (MVLP). We created a new "President Circle" donation level where we challenged prior Presidents of CABA to donate to MVLP to allow a total donation to MVLP at nearly $10,000.

The "Battle of the Barristers Tennis Tournament" returned on September 19-21, 2014 under the leadership of tennis guru Venecca Green Mason and her Committee. Competitors enjoyed three days of fellowship and fun on the tennis courts, and the proceeds benefitted MVLP.

CABA members gave back to the community through the CABA "Food from the Bar" Campaign, a new CABA initiative to provide food donations and/or fundraising campaign for MS Food Network to assist needy families in our communities. Led by Hewitt Jones and Michael Bentley, this initiative allows summer feeding program where children have an opportunity to have at least one meal each day while they are out from school. Sadly enough this may be their only meal, and we appreciate your support to help in this effort.

We've had great support by our Communications Committee Dellwyn Smith and Tiffany Grove along with rockstars like Pat Evans and Debbie Riddick to help get the word out about all the great things we are doing. We began discussions of website and other social media that will assist in communicating to our members.

Led by Laura Lawthorne and Jim Rosenblatt, we continued our efforts to participate in the Essay Writing Contest where we had three great essays from local elementary school. More information about the winners is included in this issue as well.