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2013 year in review for local lawyers

By Maria Aguila, Director of the Judicial Staff Attorneys Office

While we ended this year with the incredibly sad and sudden deaths of the Honorable Jean M. Johnson and former circuit and appellate court judge Tyrie A. Boyer, the spirit and the light of this holiday season never fails to give me hope.

And that hope lies in the hands responsible for the future of the integrity and honor of our legal profession.

Recent events remind me that we are the ones who live in the present, working so hard in the legal industry and dedicating our lives to serving others, our friends, and family. And our work is never done.

The longer I serve in the JBA, the more I am inspired and awed by those committed to making this organization thrive by providing excellent CLE workshops and symposiums, member luncheons, public access TV shows, Law Day and helping the community as a whole with incredible pro bono opportunities.

And by participating in wonderful committees catering to unique areas of the law, by fostering close judicial relations and by offering events like the YLS golf tournament, JALAween, Bench & Bar holiday party, The JBA's first fashion show featuring Ann Taylor clothing, Holiday Project, and Ask-A-Lawyer, just to name a few.

The JBA also accomplished two major feats: Launching a new website and moving to a new building.

While overwhelming, change can be very good and most times, necessary.

And while lawyers and judges are easy punch lines to jokes (OK, granted some are well-deserved), I can only attest to the fact that the majority of lawyers and judges I encounter are selfless, giving and compassionate individuals, despite whatever negative light the popular media may portray us in.

It could be very easy to simply work in your office, make money, and call it a day. But for JBA members, being a lawyer means so much more than getting through the daily grind.

As chair of the Member Services Section – encompassing the bulletin, social, solo/small firm and vendor benefits committees – I must share that all of the committee chairs, vice chairs and members did an incredible job this year planning events, holding meetings and improving the legal profession by providing networking events and educational seminars for members.

The JBA continues to seek out additional vendor benefits, such as clothing discounts, restaurant deals and so on. Our bulletin committee continues to reach out to members in print and online with great articles.

The solo/small firm committee is making great strides in offering a wonderful variety of speakers throughout the year, tailored to help solo practitioners and small firms market their business, improve efficiency and productivity in their business, and take care of their unique insurance needs as well as offering intimate social events for excellent networking opportunities.

In 2014, a few of the exciting events we can look forward to are:

• Federal Magistrate Sidebar Luncheon, Jan. 14

• JALA Equal Justice event, Jan. 29

• Client Development CLE, Jan. 30

• Magistrates Family Law Sidebar Luncheon, Feb. 20

• Young Lawyers Section Chili Cook-off, March 1

• Annual Diversity Symposium, March 3

• Criminal Law Judges Sidebar Luncheon, March 19

• Law Day events including Rendezvous on the River in April

• Golf tournament in May

• Family Law Sidebar Luncheon, April 24

• Noon in June YLS event in June

• Civil Judges Sidebar Luncheon, June 19.

Looking back at 2013, I cannot wait for what 2014 will bring.

Hope to see you soon at the next JBA event.

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