President's Column

President’s Column: Voluntary Bar Associations Are the Heartbeat of the Legal Profession

Clarence Webster

Article by Clarence Webster 2021 - 2022 CABA President


Westerosi philosopher (scholar, warrior, military commander, and Hand of the King and, later, Queen) Tyrion Lannister opined, “The true history of the world is the history of great conversations in elegant rooms.” Events happen, but what’s said about those events matters. History is, Napoleon said, “a set of lies that people have agreed upon.” (Napoleon was not the first person to convey that thought, if he said it at all. But does that matter?).

History is storytelling. As lawyers, it is our job to tell a compelling story that informs and persuades. Telling our own stories should be easy. Our stories are important, especially to younger lawyers. An important part of my development as a young lawyer was listening to the legal battles of more seasoned lawyers and jurists. I learned how to handle a recalcitrant witness, difficult counsel, and a “hot” bench long before I dealt with any of those issues firsthand.

CABA has made a call for your stories. The stories we share will go down in the annals of Mississippi history as a roadmap to success or as a cautionary tale. We welcome your short summary of what happened or a full-length article that tells the whole story in all its glorious (or infamous) detail. Names may be changed or you may remain anonymous to protect the innocent. Please submit your stories to CABA at

A great place to tell your story is CABA events! The membership numbers of voluntary bar associations worldwide have been in decline for years. The pandemic accelerated that downward trend. CABA is not an exception. In recent (and not-so-recent) newsletters, my predecessors have sounded the alarm about CABA’s declining membership. While I am not pressing the panic button, my finger is hovering over it. Hat in hand, I implore you to encourage our colleagues to renew their CABA memberships.

Voluntary bar associations are the heartbeat of the legal profession. They are important to our development as lawyers, providing opportunities for mentorship and sponsorship. Bar-association involvement builds one’s reputation in the legal community. It helps foster relationships that can be not only fulfilling but professionally useful. (This remains true, despite what the cookie-cutter legal consultants tell us about bar associations — and hanging out with other lawyers — being a waste of time.)

The CABA committees have been hard at work to develop a diverse array of events and CLE opportunities. The Diversity Committee will present a one (1) hour CLE program at the February 15, 2022 membership meeting; the Bench and Bar Committee will present a one (1) hour CLE lunch program at the April 19, 2022 membership meeting. These membership luncheons are free with your CABA membership. CABA’s Annual Golf Tournament, benefitting MVLP, will be held at the Jackson Country Club on March 21, 2022. The Spring Social will be April 28, 2022, and the Evening Honoring the Judiciary will be May 12, 2022.

There will also be opportunities to give back to the Capital-Area community where we live and work through pro bono opportunities. CABA will also offer additional networking opportunities through Bar Review, an informal happy hour that will take place in early 2022.

Thank you for continuing to support CABA. Together, we can ensure that CABA continues its service to members and our capital area communities well into the future. Happy New Year!