President Colleen McLaughlin Message, A Call to Participate
DCBA Announcement (Thursday, September 01, 2011)
For immediate release
- Colleen McLaughlin, DCBA President
- (630) 221-0305 | email@example.com
Our past president John Kincaid is always asking me what my “theme” for my year as president is going to be; what is my” agenda”? Well, I don’t have one. Let me tell you why.
The practice of law has changed dramatically in the last 10 - 20 years and continues to change at a remarkable pace. We have to keep up with these changes and adapt to the changing needs, and the changing expectations, of our members to remain viable. The DCBA is now a “big business,” with over 2,400 members. Gone are the days when everyone knew all the other members of the bar. Gone are the days when the entire membership could meet in a restaurant for dinner to share war stories with the local judges. And, gone are the days when a single officer of this association can set a personal agenda for the year. So, no, I do not have a agenda for my year as president. What we have instead, as an organization, is a very ambitious 3 year strategic plan that we will start to implement this year and I am very excited to do so.
I have been on the Board for over a decade, and I can tell you unequivocally that the staff and the officers and Board of Directors are always coming up with new ideas to improve membership benefits. But, just as with any other business, we work best when our vision for the future of the organization is shared and the entire Board is focused on achieving our common goals.
It has been a few years since we went through the process of creating a strategic plan and Sharon Knobbe has done an excellent job with this year’s planning committee of putting together a great cross-section of our membership to address our strategic plan. With our new Executive Director, Leslie Monahan, now having a year under her belt and all positions at the Bar being fully staffed, we are poised to jump right in and start executing our plan. Our focus will be on ensuring the DCBA’s short-term and long-term financial health and, most importantly, on meeting the changing needs of our diverse membership by offering valuable benefits that every lawyer who lives or practices in DuPage County will hopefully find not only helpful to their individual practices and career development, but essential to them.
And that leads me to my “theme” for the year. I may not have an individual “agenda” but I do have a theme; “A Call to Participate.”
Every one of us has their own reasons for joining the DCBA and for participating in the activities that interest them or that they see as a benefit to themselves or their firms. The DCBA cannot be nor does it profess to be all things to all lawyers. But, we offer such variety and abundance of programs that can assist our members to develop professionally and personally, or that will make the management of their practices easier or the practice of law more fulfilling, that it sometimes boggles my mind as to why some of our members don’t participate more and don’t take advantage of all the DCBA has to offer.
We have a great year planned with many new undertakings, or traditional undertakings with some new twists to them. So whatever your motivation is for participating, the DCBA has got you covered.
- If it’s reasonably priced, quality CLE you’re looking for, the DCBA has got you covered.
We will continue to offer a full complement of CLE opportunities, including a Trial Advocacy seminar that we hope to resurrect this spring and “on-demand” CLE programs will be available soon thanks to our newly revised website along with a number of other technological updates we have in progress. And, don’t forget, a great number of our CLE programs are offered to you free of charge and you pizza and pop and sometimes even a salad to boot, so you just can’t get more reasonable than that!
- If it’s an increase in potential business opportunities you’re looking for, our Lawyer Referral program has got you covered.
If you have any doubt that this program is worth the price, I have a personal success story I want to share with you. This year I settled a case referred to me through Lawyer Referral a few years back. I haven’t checked, but I’m willing to bet the five figure referral fee I paid this year may just be a record. So, I can personally attest to the fact that the DCBA’s Lawyer Referral program is an excellent member benefit. If you are not a member, consider joining. You could be the next to get that big case.
- If help with finding ways to better manage the business side of your law practice is what you need, the DCBA’s new Affinity programs have got your covered.
The DCBA has recently negotiated member-only rates with LawPay, a credit card processing company that is specifically tailored to meet the needs of attorneys by giving them the ability to separate credit card payments into trust and operating accounts, without fear of commingling. We also negotiated a members-only price structure with SurePayroll, an on-line payroll processing company whose tag line is “click-click and you’re done.” I personally have used SurePayroll for over 2 years and I can tell you it really is as easy as “click-click and you’re done.” SurePayroll takes care of the tax payments and filings and it’s all inclusive with your low monthly fee. The DCBA anticipates saving over $1,200 in payroll processing fees this year by switching to SurePayroll.
- If socializing and networking opportunities are what you are looking for, the DCBA has got you covered.
This summer we have Happy Hours, a Cubs game, our annual golf outing, and the Kane County Cougars Legal Aid fundraiser planned. Come the fall, there are opportunities aplenty for socializing with your DCBA colleagues.
- If it’s finding a way to make a difference, to give back to the community in general or the profession in particular, that you seek, the DCBA has got you covered.
Taking on a pro bono case for Legal Aid, assisting at the pro se help desk or Night Court, joining fellow do-gooders sort canned goods or collect winter coats for the poor through our Lawyers Lending a Hand Program, mentoring a young lawyer, volunteering your time to judge a high school mock trial competition or speak to a student or a civic group, becoming a committee chair, or better yet, a board member, sharing your years of experience and expertise on a subject with other lawyers by volunteering to speak at one of our seminars. These are just a few of the many ways the DCBA can help you fulfill that need.
If you have the resources but no extra time, we’ve got you covered there as well. Become a DCBF Ambassador. It’s as easy as writing a check and I guarantee it will make a difference and it will make you feel good about yourself all at the same time.
- If it’s travel to strange new lands you crave, this year, the DCBA has got you covered.
A number of years ago the DCBA started the tradition of having the President plan a CLE excursion – a great way to combine (and write off) an educational experience with a chance to travel, see interesting sights and enjoy some fun times with colleagues. My husband and I love to travel and to go to new places. So this year, with luck, for our annual President’s trip we are going where few other Americans have gone – at least in the last 50 years or so. We are headed to CUBA.
Cuba is a country that appears to be stuck in the 1950’s, but it is also on the verge of historic and modern economic reforms. Because of the US trade embargo and travel restrictions, few Americans have been able to experience CUBA first-hand. The US has recently lifted some of the barriers to travel to CUBA so, if you have an interest in taking advantage of this unique opportunity, mark your calendars for the week of March 18th, 2012. More detail will follow this fall.
On a daily basis, my work through the DCBA helps me remember why it is that I became a lawyer; why I choose to participate, in a very tangible way, in our legal profession through this organization and what I love about the law. I urge you all to answer the Call to Participate and find out for yourselves how rewarding this profession can be when you get involved.
About the DCBA The DuPage County Bar Association, founded in 1879, represents over 2,200 member attorneys dedicated to advancing the practice of law and promoting the legal profession through community service and education.
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