During the 2017-18 bar year, I had an opportunity to work with an outstanding Board of Trustees under the leadership of Jill Cicero. As president-elect, I participated in the work performed by the board and the MCBA’s internal team in developing a strategic plan that will take us through the next third of the 21st century. The continued implementation of the plan is crucial during this bar year. It is also important to communicate these initiatives to keep our members informed and engaged. We do this to help make our members’ lives better, both professionally and personally.
During this past year, I had many opportunities to connect or reconnect with fellow attorneys in our community. The meetings and discussions impressed upon me the quality of the legal profession within our community. Our profession has renowned leaders in its respective legal fields. Our members also contribute in various professional, charitable and community boards. Our community is fortunate to have such people so willing to give their time and talent.
I have also had an opportunity to hear from our legal community about the challenges we face in this profession and hear ideas on how to work through those challenges in this rapidly changing profession. The ideas proposed have been excellent and fit into the MCBA’s strategic plan. Examples include reviewing and assessing practice areas, sections and committees within the bar association and doing all we can to assist attorneys in staying up to speed in the practice, demonstrating the MCBA’s serious commitment to advance information and law office technology.
For example, last year the association established the Technology and Law Practice Committee. This committee is chaired by a true expert in this area, Niki Black. It is our hope to grow this committee and others like it to assist our legal community in understanding the advancements that should make their professional and personal lives easier to control.
It is also important to have the attorneys and judges in our community understand that our profession requires more than just competence. We need each other. Our bench and bar are better when we know each other.
It has been said on many occasions that the practice of law can feel isolating and lonely. These feelings can hit regardless of whether an individual is in a solo practice or small firm or in one of the larger law offices in the region. As part of our community, the Monroe County Bar Association has created health and wellness projects and programs, to which several members have contributed their time and expertise in helping us understand that we are not alone. The Monroe County Bar Association strives to include every member in the legal community.
I also look forward to collaborating with the other excellent bar associations in our region. I especially look forward to collaborating with the Rochester Black Bar Association (RBBA) and the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys (GRAWA). I am truly excited to work with these associations throughout the upcoming bar year and beyond. As just one example of such collaboration, Jill Cicero, as president of the MCBA, initiated the steering committee and worked with GRAWA to create a commission to advance and support women in law.
I hope to continue with similar committees and programs with the RBBA as well as other attorneys with diverse backgrounds. We hope to expand and improve the diversity clerkship. Under the leadership of past RBBA president, Duwaine T. Bascoe, the Diversity Committee has made great strides. We hope to improve it even more. I am excited to listen to the ideas of these attorneys in helping to continue to develop a legal community that is ever better.
Within the bar association, I anticipate working closely with the Young Lawyers Section. The MCBA needs not only to continue to create new leaders, but also needs to continue to develop programs for young attorneys in our region while also communicating to these attorneys the importance of knowing the community. I firmly believe that our bar association can do this.
For ideas to develop, communication is key. It’s increasingly important in today’s world to quickly understand pressing issues. While I admit that I do not tweet, the importance of communication through traditional and social media cannot be understated.
MCBA has always worked hard in keeping lines of communication open to its members. This year, we intend to bump it up. We will use “traditional” media and social media to keep people informed. Just one example: we hope to use webinars with updated information, continuing legal education programs, and other lectures and series more frequently.
One example of our “communication commitment” can be found in the most recent lecture hosted by Nixon Peabody with an extremely well-attended lunchtime lecture and book signing by internationally noted First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams. It is our hope to have these types of programs continue and to let our members be aware of other events throughout the bar year.
I also hope members reach out to me to express ideas that help us grow our association. Such communication and ideas are not limited to our profession. The MCBA can make the lives of each attorney (and their families) better not just professionally, but personally. Throughout this year, we shall have events that include family members.
MCBA has also been reevaluating some of the current programs to assess and review how we can make some outstanding events even better. I expect throughout the course of our year to be able to communicate such exciting news to the legal community.
I have been impressed with the commitment of the team at the Monroe County Bar Association and MCBA executive director, Kevin Ryan. Like Kevin, I share a commitment to the attorneys and judges in the community to provide quality services to all members of the association. I am also committed to providing as much information and, as stated above, listening to members of the bar about what is needed in our personal and professional lives. I strongly believe in the Monroe County Bar Association’s continued commitment to strive to assist members of the community in making their lives easier and providing quality resources.
Finally, my personal commitment to the members of the bar: I am committed to do my best, work my hardest, and represent your interests to the best of my ability during this upcoming bar year. I look forward to seeing you all and having a truly enjoyable bar year.
Jon P. Getz is president of the Monroe County Bar Association and is the partner of Vahey Muldoon Reston Getz LLP. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.