Your Resolution Solution
by David C. Anderson
2016-2017 OCBA President
Happy New Year! Before I dive into how the OCBA can solve your resolution quandary, let’s pause to recap the 2016 Holiday Gala. If you were there, you know why it’s worth mentioning here. And if you weren’t there, the following recap should inspire you to mark your calendar for Holiday Gala 2017. You won’t want to miss it!
The OCBA wrapped up 2016 with its annual Holiday Gala on December 1 at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. It may have been our best holiday party yet, with 530 guests in attendance. Those guests included numerous respected members of the judiciary, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, State Bar President Larry Nolan, and many other dignitaries. Illustrating that he still has a great sense of humor, Brooks photobombed (yes, photobombed) the obligatory OCBA board picture, which caused much merriment for all those in the area.
In addition, board members generously (and personally) paid for the Gala registrations of 34 young attorneys who had recently passed the bar so they could begin meeting the dynamic members of our bar association. The Membership Committee, with Lisa Hamameh and Dean Googasian leading the way, met with these sponsored new lawyers at The Bird and the Bread in advance of the main event so they would feel more welcome at the Gala. We hope they did and we're glad they joined us.
But that wasn't the only pre-party. For the first time, we hosted a pre-party reception, which the board (not me) deemed the “President's Reception.” We were very pleased that 30 members of the judiciary accepted our invitation to that reception. It was our way of showing that we truly value the bar's relationship with the bench and each judge's participation in bar activities. Such generous participation by the bench brings much added value to our membership.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not thank our sponsors. Our Premier Sponsors were Brooks Wilkins Sharkey & Turco PLLC and Doeren Mayhew; our Elite Sponsor was Cendrowski Corporate Advisors; our Principal Sponsors were Dickinson Wright PLLC and Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss, P.C.; our President’s Reception Sponsor was Collins Einhorn Farrell P.C.; our Safe Ride Sponsors were The Mendelson Law Firm and Eisenberg, Middleditch & Spilman PLLC; and our Supporting Sponsors were Fortz Legal, LDiscovery, Littler Mendelson P.C. and Williams, Williams, Rattner & Plunkett, P.C. We could not have hosted such a wonderful party without our sponsors, and we sincerely thank you.
They say that a New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. If you are struggling to decide on an appropriate resolution for 2017, we have a solution. Give back. Don't focus just on yourself by resolving to eat healthier and exercise more. While those may be worthy goals, it’s even more important to remember that “We rise by lifting others.”1 You have been gifted with many talents. I urge you to share them by giving back to our community. No matter who you are, the OCBA is well-poised to assist you in doing so.
If you are a law student or lawyer who has been in practice for 10 years or less, consider becoming involved in the New Lawyers Committee. Led by Sarah Simmons and Jonathan Martone, this energized group of young lawyers would welcome your participation. The committee completed another successful holiday project in December when it collected 99 gifts for needy kids in the Oakland County community. Gifts were delivered to the Oakland County Boys and Girls Club, the Juvenile Law Committee for the DreamPacks project, and the Welcome Missionary Baptist Church Ministry. The NLC also adopted 10 children from the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program where each child has at least one parent who is incarcerated.
Lawyers with career-long experience may want to join forces with Judy Cunningham, Judge Edward Sosnick (ret.) and their LOCA committee. LOCA is an acronym for “Lawyers of a Certain Age.” LOCA is composed of OCBA members aged 62 and over with three main priorities. First, it aims to support and sponsor a variety of social activities that allow interaction with the larger bar association and targeted peer communities that address challenges such as isolation, family concerns and declining health. Second, the committee seeks to develop and find partnerships for programs that support lawyers as they prepare for or respond to transitions in their practice, whether it is from reducing their practice (full-time to part-time), going from a large firm to a solo practice, closing a practice, planning for retirement or unexpected practice transitions such as diminished capacity or sudden unexpected incapacity. And finally, the LOCA committee provides great opportunities for Lawyers of a Certain Age to contribute their talents as seasoned, experienced lawyers through integration with OCBA programs and activities, and also to serve the Oakland County community at large.
And for those of you who, like me, don't qualify for either of those two groups, there are endless opportunities at the bar association to contribute to the well-being of your fellow men and women. Perhaps you would enjoy participating in our Elementary Mock Trial program where elementary school students actually try a case based on the SpongeBob Squarepants cartoon in a local courtroom. So far, we've hosted more than 2,400 students in that program.
Alternatively, you may want to join a committee related to your particular area of practice. See www.ocba.org for our list of 32 committees. Maybe you're a political junkie who always knows what's happening in Lansing. You may want to participate in our Legislative Committee. Or perhaps you'd like to raise awareness about the importance of diversity in the legal profession, including the bar association. Then you should join the Diversity Committee, which is currently under the astute leadership of Vicki King and Nadine Hatten. I could go on and on.
A plaque hangs in the foyer of my home with the following challenge:
Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.2
I hung that plaque many years ago in order to have a constant reminder for me and my two sons to strive to do more for others. (My wife is exempt because she already has to put up with us.) As we begin 2017 together, I ask you to strengthen your dedication to helping others and invite you to utilize the wealth of resources available at the OCBA to do so. May you enjoy a peaceful and prosperous 2017.
1 Robert Ingersoll (American lawyer and Civil War veteran).
2 John Wesley.