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Annual Meeting Redux, ABA TECHSHOW 2009 and Great Firms

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What makes a great law firm? I’ll get to that in a minute, but first I need to finish up some old business.

The problem with attempting to “live blog” an event is that if you’re really enjoying yourself you just run out of time. Thus, by the end of Day 3 of the Annual Meeting I was too tired to make time to think, much less write about everything going on. But I hate to leave a story unfinished, so bear with me.

Day 3 of the annual meeting featured the conclusion of the Succeeding in Your Law Practice series – Professionally Managing Your Personal Finances with Howard Dayton of Crown Financial Ministries. The room was packed, and everyone there received a free copy of Howard’s book Your Money Counts. If you missed this plenary but are interested in the concepts discussed there, you can see and hear all about it on the Crown Financial Ministries media page. Day 3 also offered a presentation entitled “Don’t be Client No. 9 – What Happens in Las Vegas May Cost You Your Law License” with Rob Bare, bar counsel with the State Bar of Nevada.

The Annual Meeting closed on Saturday morning with one of the most moving Grand Convocations I’ve ever attended (and I’ve sat through the last 12 of them so I should know). The featured speaker was Tommy Wells, of the Birmingham firm of Maynard, Cooper & Gale, P.C.. Tommy is the president-elect of the ABA, and he spoke passionately to the record crowd about the core values which all lawyers share and unite us as a profession: access to justice; independence of the bar and the judiciary; diversity; and dedication to the Rule of Law, which encompasses the other three.

Following Tommy’s remarks, Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb then presented outgoing bar president Sam Crosby with the first Chief Justice’s Award for his work in establishing the Alabama State Bar’s Wills for Heroes Program.

The highlight of the convocation, however, was when incoming ASB president Mark White of Birmingham’s White Arnold & Dowd, P.C., had all the lawyers present stand to re-affirm our oath of office. You can watch the video here.

So what’s my excuse for not blogging for the last couple of weeks? Well, right after the Annual Meeting I flew to Chicago to act as Chair of the ABA TECHSHOW 2009 Summer Planning Meeting. All the decisions we made are super-secret right now, but over the coming months I’ll be providing more information about TECHSHOW, including programming and some great discounts that will be available to Alabama State Bar members who wish to attend.

Now, finally, what makes a great firm? Nancy Byerly Jones, a mediator, risk management expert and law practice management guru has a great short article on just that topic in this week’s issue of LawyersUSA. Content on this web site is typically password-protected, for subscribers, but you can read this article in the current issue, plus some other great stuff, if you do so before the next issue comes out.