President's Column

President’s Column: New Beginnings

Margaret Oertling Cupples

Article by Margaret Oertling Cupples 2023-2024 CABA President


Dear CABA Members, This holiday season, our fearless and longtime newsletter editor invited me and other newsletter authors to reflect on where we are in our careers, aspirations for the future, and other subjects that fit the theme of this winter solstice season when the year turns from the darkest, shortest days back toward the light.

This year marks three decades since I graduated from law school. On some level, I feel like that was about a month ago, and I was happy to relive some of those memories at my 30th law school reunion this past April under the dogwoods in Lexington, Virginia. But at the same time, I’m seeing the people who were my mentors (like Wayne Drinkwater, John Henegan, and Luther Munford) retire from the practice of law, and in the past couple of weeks we’ve sadly even witnessed the passing of some of the legends of the Mississippi bar, John Corlew and Jimmy Robertson. That truly feels like the end of an era and reminds me that I’m now part of the “older generation” —  at least from the perspective of our new associates.

But with the end of one era comes the beginning of the next, and there’s no better way to experience that than to be around some first-year law students. Their wide-eyed excitement about their future careers can’t help but inspire even the most Grinchy among us. This holiday season, we’ve been lucky to have in our office at Bradley a couple of 1Ls from Ole Miss. They are participants in an internship we do in partnership with the Bessie Young Council, a support organization that mentors and supports students with advanced life experiences who “embody the pioneering spirit of Bessie Young, the first female graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law.” Those students — this year, Kelly Li and Jason Roberson — remind us all about the reasons we wanted to be lawyers in the first place, and talking to them about those reasons and our experiences give us a great opportunity to reflect on why we still think this is the career that matters. Elsewhere in the newsletter, we’re sharing their personal statements that they wrote; take a minute to read those and think about the reasons that you wanted to be a lawyer, and how, like those law students, you can make our community a better place as we head into this new year.

CABA’s committees are working hard on great events in January and throughout 2024. Keep an eye out for information about the terrific program our Women’s Initiative committee has put together on January 30, and when you break out the 2024 calendar, mark it now for our annual golf tournament on March 18, 2024, and our Evening Honoring the Judiciary on May 1, 2024. Happy holidays and thanks to everyone who is making those events happen!