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Respectfully, I Beg To Differ

A couple months ago, the founder of a legal business consultancy known as Legal Mosaic wrote a piece entitled, "Is the American Bar Association Passe?". If you ask me, the answer is, "no". And the demise suggested by the piece's title is sheer poppycock.

What a great word--"poppycock". It has lots of wonderful synonyms that you'll have to look up yourself, but it derives from the mid-19th century Dutch expression, "papekak", which translates as "pap" (soft) "kak" (dung). You get the idea.

The ABA has not, " lost its mojo", as the article in question asserts. Rather, I would argue that the ABA has found  it, by championing the issue of lawyer well-being, and shining a powerful light on concerns of health among the men and women of the legal profession--there are already enough committees to educate and explore substantive areas of the law.

As one of the charter members of the Chicago Bar Association committee on Mindfulness and the Law once asked me rhetorically, "What business is it of the CBA if I have a meditation practice that helps me be a better lawyer?". Great question--and, ironically, I think it goes a long way toward suggesting the answer to the question posed in the title of the op-ed piece referenced above.

Professional associations that actually care about, and offer programming/information to promote their constituents' health--mental/emotional and physical-- are exactly the kind of associations that we really need. Yes, it will always be important to keep abreast of how the law is evolving, but stepping up to the plate for the health of individual practitioners, is absolutely critical.

I emphatically do not believe that the ABA, or the CBA, or any bar association that champions the issue of health, is in danger of becoming passe. Quite to the contrary, I think those associations are cutting-edge. Not because they are replacing more traditional messages or committees devoted to substantive areas of law, but rather, because they have lent their status and voice to the issue of health in addition to hosting substantive committees.

Bar associations (be they Local, State or National) are committing valuable resources to the health of men and women in the legal profession--next up will be our law firms. And I respectfully differ with anyone who would suggest otherwise! (See ABA article, linked here).


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