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Chinn: What I'm Thankful For

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iba-chinn-scottWith Thanksgiving meals, family gatherings and football games barely visible in the rear view mirror, I want to get my thoughts of holiday thankfulness in just under the wire. In full disclosure, I’m focused here on three things about which I am most thankful for the Indianapolis Bar Association. While I don’t confuse that with the other important things about which we all can and should reflect on with thanksgiving, I am proud to observe these three things about our bar.

First, and foremost, I am thankful for the membership of more than 5,000 legal professionals in the IndyBar. I promise you everyone in the leadership and staff of the IndyBar has your membership top of mind. Ours is a voluntary bar. Your membership is a registering of your consumer choice that you derive value from the bar. I am confident that it will always be a top priority of the IndyBar leadership to maintain and create new value for your bar membership. It’s also worth noting that even beyond member services, there is value in what unites us to become and stay members of the IndyBar. With 5,000 members strong we are able to garner resources to have active pro bono programs, to reach out to law students and new lawyers to get them on the right track in our profession, and to advocate for the profession to elected officials and the broader community.

Second, I am thankful for the IndyBar staff. Over the past 20 years, the number of IndyBar programs has multiplied and the membership has doubled without a general dues increase. At the same time, in recent years the number of paid staff members has decreased from 13 to nine full-time equivalent employees along with one part-time and one contract employee. In short, what this lean and productive staff accomplishes is amazing – and is admired by executive directors of peer bars around the country. This is a testament in large part to Julie Armstrong’s tremendous leadership.

Last, and by no means least, perhaps the greatest strength of our bar is the large number of legal professionals who volunteer their time, energy and creativity as bar leaders. The Indy Bar has a 29-member board of directors, 18 standing or steering committees, 18 sections and 4 divisions. The sections, divisions and committees have multi-member executive committees that govern their operations. In addition, every year even more people volunteer for discrete efforts on task forces or special projects and on pro bono programs. So, scores of legal professionals contribute to success of the bar.

Just this past week, President-Elect Kerry Hyatt Blomquist presided over a two-day leadership retreat in which all the 2013 section, division and committee chairs and board members gathered to get to know each other and plan operations for the year. It went great, and Kerry and her leadership team are poised to keep what is working, shed what isn’t, and continue to innovate while keeping members foremost in mind. What I am most thankful for is what was observed by the retreat’s facilitator, Elizabeth Derrico from the ABA’s division of bar services. Elizabeth explained to those assembled that by agreeing to becoming leaders of the IndyBar, they had signed up to be the latest in a line of people whose tremendous efforts are recognized by bars all over the nation. I couldn’t agree more. Our bar association is noteworthy for the number and quality of initiatives, its willingness to take calculated risks to stay ahead of the professional curve, and for its number of people in positions of influence in national organizations like the ABA, the National Conference of Bar Presidents, the Conference of Metropolitan Bar Associations and the Metropolitan Bar Caucus.

To go full circle, from my perspective this last list of things isn’t to be looked at like a set of trophies on the mantel, but real live examples of a vibrant bar association that works to sustain itself from the most basic membership service obligations to promoting justice and the profession to serving the community. And at the core of that vibrancy is the breadth of our membership, the diligence of our staff, and the zealousness of our volunteer leaders. For these things I am very thankful.•
 

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  1. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  2. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  3. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

  4. Why do so many lawyers get away with lying in court, Jamie Yoak?

  5. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

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