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I am looking forward to seeing everyone at Law Day. I am also looking forward to the thoughtful commentary of Debra Katz, a legal pioneer and leader, who so graciously made time to speak to us when she is in such high demand to speak at prestigious events all over the United States. Montgomery County has a real advantage in its proximity to our nation’s capital and in our members’ professional networks which enhanced our ability last year and this year to attract nationally recognized jurists to address us and the press at our biggest Bar Association event of the year. Steve Bienstock and I have already told Tom DeGonia that the pressure is on for next year!
Speaking of our President-Elect, Tom and I will be getting together this summer to work out a plan that will span the two years of our presidencies in order to coordinate our efforts to meet the needs of the members of our Bar Association. We both welcome you to email us with any thoughts or requests that you have of the Bar Association. The more information we have from our members, the better job I think we can do to make sure our work will meet your needs.
I know lunch has been on everyone’s mind this Spring with the change the Executive Committee made to the number of luncheons the Bar Association will host during the 2019-2020 year. It has been on my mind too. One of the programs I am initiating this year to supplement our current programing is something I’m calling “Just Lunch.” The idea came to me in the last year when I was thinking about the few times total strangers to me from our Bar Association invited me out to lunch. I am thinking in particular of three members of the Bar Association who were trying to expand their practice to include work in family law and had either heard me lecture on the topic at a CLE or had been referred to me by another colleague as someone who would be good to talk to. I have to admit when each of these women called, I hesitated (hopefully not out loud) as I am pretty busy and often eat at my desk and frankly, I thought I would be doing all the giving and would not be getting that much out of the lunch. But on a lark the first time, I said yes. Well, guess what? I really enjoyed it. The first woman had done corporate work in Baltimore City for years and had to come to Montgomery County for personal reasons and wanted to do legal work more meaningful to her. She proceeded to tell me about a case she had against a formidable and well-known family law attorney in Rockville and she was kicking some serious behind. I was so impressed by her spunk, her legal skills, and her dedication. I truly loved hearing the whole story. And all she wanted from me was to meet me and one time thereafter, she called me to ask if I knew of an expert in “x” field and could I point her in the right direction, which I did.
In an increasing technological world of lawyering through email, video-conferencing, and the like, an opportunity for in person human contact should not be turned down. Less experienced members of the Bar want to meet lawyers who are successful in their chosen fields and find out how the more senior attorney made their way – to see what they can emulate or extrapolate to their own careers. More experienced members of the Bar have a lot of wisdom to impart and let’s face it, often think the newer members to the Bar are unaware of some of the finer points of practice. But those points are hard to bring up in a way that they will be favorably received unless they have been sought out.
So how do we get these two groups together? We need a service. Luckily, we have one – the Bar Association. Here’s how it will work: if you would like to have lunch with a member of the Bar Association but feel too self-conscious or shy to ask or don’t want to be rejected personally, you’ll call Julie Peterson at the Bar Association and say with whom you would like to have lunch. Julie will call your chosen person and without using your name, ask if that person is willing to have a lunch. If he/she agrees, your name will be given, and you will be told to call your lunch date to set up a mutually agreeable time and place to meet for lunch. Each person will pay for their own lunch. Only one lunch request per member per Bar year – meaning you can only ask once, and we’ll only ask you to go to a lunch once. So that means not everyone can ask to have lunch with Judge Ann Harrington! If you are the person called and you really cannot do a lunch right now, it is totally fine to say no. Please let Julie know if you would be interested in participating but just at a later date. I’d love to hear from those of you who take advantage of this program and are asked to lunch – I think you’ll both be surprised how touched you are by the whole experience.
Have a wonderful summer and I look forward to another great Bar Association year starting in September.