My Fellow Members of the Bar:
It is with great excitement that I write my first message to you as President of the Bucks County Bar Association. Thank you for placing your trust in me to lead our organization. I am humbled by your confidence and I appreciate your support.
As President, I think it is important that my first official words are to thank Jessica Pritchard for all she has done and accomplished as President this past year. Jessica was presented with several significant challenges during her tenure and she met each one with the leadership, dedication, insight and resolve our Association, and the entire Bucks County legal community, needed and should be proud of. For that I am grateful and know that we, as an organization, are much better off for having had her at the helm.
I also want to thank all of the Past Presidents of the BCBA. Many of you have personally reached out to me to offer your support and guidance and I thank you all for doing so, as well as for your many contributions in making our organization as wonderful and successful as it is today. I appreciate your willingness to share your wisdom and experiences with me and please don’t be surprised if I take you up on your offer.
As many of you know, I love being a lawyer. There are such few professions where a person has the ability make a difference in the lives of people every day no matter what area of law you practice. Whether it be handling a divorce, defending a criminal, drafting a contract, advancing a UIM claim, serving as a trustee or probating an estate, we effect the lives of our clients and the people around them constantly. I also know of no other job, besides possibly politics, where someone can spend all day disagreeing yet not be disagreeable; where they can argue over something but at the close of business, go out for dinner and still be friends. Yes, our profession is truly unique, interesting, sometimes challenging and always rewarding, and we should all consider ourselves fortunate to have the Bar Association as a place where we can come together to share those experiences as well as pursue common goals.
As some of you may also know, I strongly believe in the concept of “community.” Although in many ways we have moved beyond the traditional concepts of community that many of us grew up with, it remains a fundamental belief of mine that we all have a responsibility, no matter what profession we choose, to give back to our communities when and how we can. For some that may be by making donations, for others it may be by cutting the lawn at their church, and yet for others by mentoring a child who is without parental role models. No doubt we all have those things that interest us and I know many of you believe in this as much as I do, which is why you are actively engaged in community service programs where you work and live. But I believe that, as an association, we can be more and do more together for Bucks County.
That is why I want to expand the outreach of the BCBA to help our residents and communities, and why I am asking you to join me on this journey. Maybe I’m nostalgic, or have an overly romanticized view of what it used to mean to be a lawyer, but I remember lawyers as people who were once a part of the very fabric of the community they served, no more or less than the town doctor, postal carrier and baker. I remember the local lawyer being the person that everyone went to for help and, as leaders in their communities who were respected by many, they were always ready to lend a helping hand to those around them. Unfortunately, though, at some point people stopped seeing us that way. But I believe our neighbors can see us like that again, because it is truly who and what we are.
As such, we have taken steps to schedule several activities and events with community-oriented partners that will benefit Bucks County over the coming months. Although the full list of these events is mentioned later in this publication, we are excited to be able collect diapers at Opening of Assizes, fill backpacks for our “Backpacks for the Homeless” campaign and work to help “Bucks Knock Out Hunger” with the United Way and the Bucks County Opportunity Council this summer. We have even scheduled a night for the BCBA to “Bowl for Kid’s Sake” to raise money for Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Bucks County (and have a little fun engaging in some friendly competition between the sections, divisions and committees of the BCBA while we are at it). So please take the time to look at the service activities we have scheduled and make it a point to get involved and help in any way you can. We also welcome any suggestions you may have for projects we can do together. This way we can all help our communities and, by doing it with the BCBA, also help remind the residents of Bucks County that, even though the times have changed, our dedication to doing right for those around us has not.
Of course, these aren’t the only things we will be doing during my time as President. 2019 is shaping up to be an eventful and exciting time for the BCBA. We will be putting together a Bar Association portrait this year. The last one was in 2008 and there is no doubt that a decade (or so) later is the right time for another. Opening of Assizes is on February 7 and this year, not only do we have a presentation that will allow our judges to sit in the audience and earns credits with us, but the BCBA will be opening “The Jury’s Out, our comedy cub, as we invite two comedians to come in afterward to help warm us up from the winter cold with a few laughs.
As always, we also remain dedicated to finding more ways to expand our membership, including making personal appeals to our newest and youngest lawyers to remind them that their first year of membership is FREE! We are also very excited to be “resurrecting” our mentoring program for new and younger lawyers, and our Members Service Committee is looking for even more ways to bring more value to your membership in the BCBA.
My friends, I know that this may all seem ambitious, and it probably is. But I have never been known to back down from a challenge and I know we can be successful if we do it together. And that’s my invitation to you – to come out and get involved. Maybe the Bar Association has just been a place for you to come get CLE’s, or maybe it’s a place you go to network and socialize. But no matter what your reasons have been for being a member of the BCBA in the past, I am asking that this year you try something new. I am inviting you to get involved in something you haven’t done before. To take the leap and join with me in trying something different and maybe even a little outside your comfort zone. The BCBA is YOUR organization and there is so much it can offer you if you simply take the first step to enjoy it. So let’s come together and make this year the best ever!