Mary Belan Doggett
2005-2006 President
San Antonio Bar Association

 

August 2005 - A Bar for All Seasons

My computer reminded me today that it was time to write my first President’s Column for SABA. Although many wonderful ideas have percolated through my head for months that would have made for insightful, witty columns, they all eventually disappeared, like the bubbles in my coffeepot, leaving me with nothing but dead space. Fortunately, the news that Justice O’Connor resigned got the brain cells going again.
 
As a 3L at St. Mary’s, I was the president of the St. Thomas More Society. One of the things we enjoyed that year was a showing of the 1966 film, A Man for All Seasons, about the life of More. The patron saint of lawyers, he was named “Lawyer of the Millenium” in 2000 by a secular group of historians. More became a martyr when he stuck to his convictions and dared contradict King Henry VIII.
 
Fast forward half a millenium. When President Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court in July 1981, he said she was “truly a person for all seasons”. Reagan might have had a problem had he known that Justice O’Connor was not beholden to his conservative ideology, but he would not have been able to criticize her lack of conviction; she voted her conscience, regardless of whom that pleased. She held fast to that characterization as a moderate on the court, keeping us guessing as to whose champion she would be in any particular cause, and in the end, serving as advocate for everyone in at least some capacity.
 
Which brings me to SABA. I was surprised when I realized that the San Antonio Bar Association has twelve sections, twenty-one committees, and over 3,000 members. We have become “the bar for all seasons.” Or at least “the bar for all lawyers.” Whether you want to find a group based on practice area, age, or ethnicity, it exists in SABA and its affiliated bars.
 
The focus of this bar year is going to be on you – the sections, the committees, and the members themselves. Each month the Subpoena and our luncheon will highlight one of the twelve different sections of the bar. We’re creating a Referral Roster in this newsletter for some of our more specialized practitioners, and we’re planning stories about some of our members who have made their mark by sticking to their convictions and working behind the scenes on behalf of others.
 
You will be amazed at the wonderful volunteers we have serving our community and our profession.
 
My goal is that a year from now you will look back at SABA and be able to pinpoint how the organization has served you -- and vice versa. And if you know of someone or something you’d like to see featured in a future issue of the Subpoena, drop me a line – I need something to fill up all the space those popping bubbles have left behind.
 
So Long, Farewell...
 
Justice Karen Angelini has now attained the most coveted post in the San Antonio Bar Association: PAST president.  She definitely earned the title, as she worked hard all year making sure that the needs and concerns of SABA members were addressed.  It was a pleasure working with and getting to know such a wonderful person and we’re going to miss her leadership, integrity, and diplomacy.  Please join me in thanking her for a job well done!

 

September 2005

With a Little Help from My Friends…
 
You never know who your real friends are until you start calling them for money. Thanks to the many friends of SABA, the Annual Installation Gala is shaping up to be a great party! In addition to the wonderful firms that consistently support the bar functions, you’ll see a few new players joining in on the fun this year. For example, Beth Janicek and Tres Bain, both friends of mine from law school, immediately said “yes” and agreed to be sponsors when I called. Toyota is joining the list of corporate sponsors. My friends at Jenkens & Gilchrist and Strasburger & Price also immediately agreed to buy tables when I called – and both at the Platinum level! Thank you to all of our sponsors for supporting the Community Justice Program!
 
Oh, What A Night
 
The perennially generous Gerry Goldstein has again donated a stay at his amazing Aspen home to the Gala’s silent auction. Whoever wins this package will be treated to a five day vacation hosted by Gerry and his beautiful wife Chris -- hostess, chef, and athlete extraordinaire! My husband David and I were fortunate enough to experience the Goldsteins’ hospitality last winter, and the trip was fabulous! The only difficult part of our trip was trying to keep up with the Goldsteins as they showed us around the slopes and sights of their beautiful home in the Mountains. If you win, don’t forget your skis, your camera, and your Advil.
 
The Boys Are Back in Town
 
Thanks to coordination by Annalyn Smith, Bracewell & Giuliani is the Diamond Sponsor for this year’s Gala. One additional reason the firm’s attorneys want to attend is because of Bracewell partner and sometimes musician Ruben Barrera. Ruben is reuniting with Judge Mark Luitjen, Joe Casseb, Mike Jackson, Sol Casseb, Fred Jones and others to perform at this year’s party! The Court Jesters, as the band is aptly named, will perform a set while the “real” band, Henry Brun and the Latin Connection, takes a break. This is your chance to see the alter egos of these guys – don’t miss it!
 
Dancing in the Streets
 
As in years past, we are all looking forward to seeing SABA members Geary and Kay Reamey do their best “Dancing With the Stars” moves at the Gala. This year, they will be joined by a duo from the Xibuké Dance Co., who will help get the crowd off their feet and onto the dance floor. Proceeds from the night benefit the Community Justice Program, so if you haven’t bought your ticket already, call today! We’re almost sold out!

 

October 2005

Growing up, my four sisters and I learned that if we asked our mother for the meaning of an unknown word, we were rarely given the answer. Instead, we were told, “Go look it up.” That meant poring through the squat, black leather-bound Oxford dictionary that my mother had brought with her from Australia in 1957. Although I’m more likely today to key the word into google than to reach for a hardbound book, the habit is still with me. Sometimes, however, a definition isn’t enough.
 
In the aftermath of Katrina I was trying to explain to one of my younger acquaintances that I thought the volunteers were heroes. Despite my best effort, she didn’t quite get the concept. Ergo, my recent trip to the dictionary: vol·un·teer n. A person who renders aid, performs or offers to perform a service, or assumes an obligation voluntarily.
 
The definition explains what a volunteer is; it doesn’t explain why someone volunteers. Without the Why, the What wasn’t sufficient to form the concept fully in my nine-year old friend’s mind. (Especially when heroes, to someone that age, only come dressed in Spandex and gifted with superpowers.)
 
What makes a volunteer a hero? And why do some people give so much and others nothing? It’s not that those who volunteer don’t have other things to do with their time; it’s a matter of making that choice. I can’t think of anyone who leaves their office and thinks, “I have absolutely nothing to do. I think I’ll go volunteer somewhere.” The more likely scenario is someone who works a full day, attends to their home chores, plays with their family, then somehow squeezes their volunteerism in between it all. (Remember, Ally McBeal isn’t typical: most of us don’t get a new case in the morning, try it to the jury in the afternoon, then head to the bar to sing backup to Tina Turner in the evening.)
 
Sometimes the best way to define a word is to give examples. Here are some examples of heroic volunteers, right here in our San Antonio Bar Association:
 
Zach Aoki of Thurman & Phillips and Judge Karen Pozza, who took the reins organizing materials and training sessions to render quick legal assistance to the Katrina evacuees – not to mention the 150-plus people who went through the training then volunteered at the shelters.
 
Lisa Barkley of Haynes and Boone, who, in her organized and tactful way, chaired the SABA/SABF Installation Gala to a sellout crowd and record profits for the Community Justice Program.
 
The SABA Real Estate section, which is donating resources of both time and treasure to Habitat for Humanity, as they come together October 8 to build a house for the needy.
 
You might not find their pictures in the dictionary, but in my book, they’re all heroes!

 

November 2005

Money, Money, Money!
 
The by-laws of the San Antonio Bar Association require that the Association publish its budget in this newsletter each year. At its September meeting, the SABA Board of Directors approved the budget you see here. As you might guess after reviewing the information, the budget caused your Board a great deal of consternation. When the shortfall became evident, treasurer John Convery and I held several workshops with Bar staff and then the board to see where we could curb expenses and expand income. The bad news is that, for the first time in at least the history I can recall, the board approved a budget that reflects expenses greater than our income. The good news is that the situation is temporary.
 
The Bar’s income is down considerably from a few years ago primarily in two areas:  lawyer referral fees and the San Antonio Plan.  In years past, the Lawyer Referral Program and the Plan together brought in revenue in excess of $200,000. The Plan is being phased out since the legislature ordered counties to begin paying attorneys for criminal indigent representation.  Referral fees are seeing a direct impact as a result of tort reform.  As those sources of revenue shrink, we are looking at various ways to replace them.
 
Unlike income, expenses have remained steady over the last few years. The board is considering every possible way to restructure our operations in order to bring expenses in line with revenue. The most important and necessary new expense is that we are now funding a greater portion of the Community Justice Program. We are reviewing our insurance policies and other staff benefits, and open staff positions are not being refilled. We are discussing restructuring all of our publications and their advertisers to maximize the Bar’s profits. For example, we will soon have legal vendors purchasing advertising on our SABA website. Additionally, we are revamping the Lawyer Referral Program to determine how to keep the program viable for the Bar in light of current law.
 
Taking into account these efforts, the board plans to continue working on the budget throughout the fiscal year. If all goes as expected, we will be able to approve an amended budget before next summer that does not reflect a shortfall. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions, constructive criticism, or you would like more information, please feel free to drop me a note.
 
People Are Talking
 
We would like to give SABA members an opportunity to voice their opinions to the rest of the Bar. Beginning with the January issue of the Subpoena; therefore, we will begin publishing a Letters to the Editor segment each month. We will accept submissions on happenings in the legal community, hot issues in the law and other current events. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

December 2005

“Let There Be Peace on Earth”

Every year, it seems, retailers dress their stores earlier and earlier for the holidays. While many huff and puff about the excessive commercialization, I secretly enjoy all the sparkling lights, prancing reindeer, and Santa scenes just as soon as they pop up. I love red and green, I love turkey, and I love the music. So much, in fact, that I began turning my digital cable box to “Sounds of the Seasons” well before Thanksgiving to hear the carols. It’s not just the props that I enjoy; it’s the feeling that appears along with those decorations.
 
The feeling is the one that compels us to say “Happy Holidays!” at the end of a telephone call with opposing counsel. It’s the one that makes us a little more generous with our bonuses and a little more patient with our clients. It’s the feeling that compels us to do things that would otherwise never fit into our busy schedules: visit a nursing home, shop  for a needy child, or just spend quality time with our families.
 
Much has been debated about the separation of church and state in our courthouses, especially during this time of year. Regardless of these arguments, however, I think everyone will agree that the Holiday season brings with it a universally appealing message which all mankind can celebrate: peace on earth.
 
So as 2005 comes to a close, I wish to all of you and your families the peace of the season. See you next year!

 

January 2006 - Time

January – when we sit back and swear that this year it will be different: this year, we will spend more time with the kids, improve our golf game, exercise more often and catch up on our reading list, all while billing and collecting more than we did last year.  This is the time of year that we all want to figure out how to work smarter, not harder.
 
Last Spring I saw a brilliant example of someone who has figured it out.  Not an attorney, but my eye doctor, Stuart Terry.  After decades of not being able to see further than two inches in front of me, I decided to have Lasik surgery.  When I first entered Dr. Terry’s Main Street office, I was a little surprised at the setup – the huge, open space was a beehive of well-orchestrated activity.  I had little time to absorb it, however, as I was interviewed and/or examined by no fewer than seven people – all in under an hour!  Every person had their specific role to fill: a clerk, a nurse, the technicians, an optometrist and then Dr. Terry.  Tasks were stratified by the qualifications of the person assigned to the job.
 
As a fledgling attorney I was taught that if you could hire someone at $10 an hour to do filing, then don’t have the $20 per hour paralegal do the work.  Dr. Terry’s practice, like many large law firms, has learned and applied that reasoning.  While it works well for large firms, however, solo practitioners and small firms do not have the luxury of hiring a  person for every task.  As a result, we spend less time doing legal work and too much time doing everything else.  Alternatively, we ignore everything else.  That is where we can get into trouble.
 
The State Bar repeatedly tells us that the bulk of disciplinary rules violations are by attorneys who practice by themselves or in small firms.  They also tell us that if we are more aware of the commonly violated rules, then we will be less likely to break them. To that end, the SABA CLE committee, chaired by Judge Lori Massey, is planning to teach us what those common mistakes are and how to avoid them, all in a fun and different format.  Rather than the usual speaker after speaker, this year’s annual SABA Ethics seminar will include songs, skits and surprises, all designed to keep you awake while you absorb your three hours of ethics CLE.  The seminar is scheduled for March 30, so go ahead and put it on your calendar!  And if you would like to volunteer to help as a singer, lyricist, poet or actor, please contact Judge Massey.
 
Attention all Litigators!
 
This month the Litigation Section, one of the newest and strongest practice sections of the San Antonio Bar, will hold their monthly meeting in conjunction with SABA’s general luncheon a week earlier than usual, on January 19.  The change in schedule is to accommodate our speaker, SABA past president and Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson.  As always is the case when the Chief Justice speaks, the luncheon will be crowded, so make your reservations early by calling 210.227.8822 or emailing lizc@sabar.org.

 

February 2006

Courthouse badges
 
This month the attorneys who first applied will receive their courthouse identification badges. The badges are not without controversy, however, so I want to give you some of the background as to what led to their approval.

Most Texas counties do not have courthouse metal detectors, and some that do allow attorneys to bypass them. On that basis, SABA asked Commissioners Court to extend the same privilege to attorneys here several years ago. The Court had many valid concerns, which were addressed over the years by the various bar representatives working on the issue.
 
The primary argument against the badges was the perception that they would lessen courthouse security. The proponents argued that the current Bexar County system was not foolproof: all courthouse employees were allowed to bypass the detectors, and on occasion, the security personnel permitted non-employees to skirt the detector lines. The supporters also contended that attorneys are officers of the court, and as such should be granted at least the same access privileges that the courthouse employees enjoy. Finally, the attorneys suggested that the badges might actually increase security, as they would allow the deputies to concentrate their attention on those individuals who are not courthouse regulars.
 
After several appearances before the Court, much homework, and discussions with Sheriff Ralph Lopez and District Attorney Susan Reed, a coalition of bar leaders brought the issue before the Court again last fall. The Court’s approval hinged on that of the Sheriff and the District Attorney. Sheriff Lopez agreed to the concept on two conditions: attorney applicants had to agree to a background check, and bags and boxes would still have to go through the x-ray machines.
 
The SABA board believes that the badge privilege will greatly benefit many of our members, especially those who are in the courthouse every day practicing family law and criminal law. For more information, please go to www.sabar.org and look for the Badge Application link.
 
Time to redecorate?
 
SABA needs furniture – your conference room chairs, to be exact! If you have served on a SABA committee, you are probably familiar with the board room on the sixth floor of the courthouse. The large table and twenty or so chairs there are used on an almost-daily basis. While the table is still in good working shape, the chairs are in disrepair, and repair costs nearly equal replacement cost. Therefore, if your firm is renovating your offices, please consider donating your gently worn conference room chairs to SABA. They will be put to good use!

 

March 2006 - Getting By With a Little Help From Our Friends

Doug Deffenbaugh graduated from St. Mary’s University School of Law with me in 1993. He was one of the brave souls who knew all along that he wanted to run his own firm, and with a background in business, he was well equipped to do so. Since that time, he has developed a successful practice in tax and bankruptcy work, and now has as his partner his daughter Lisette, a 2003 UT grad.
 
When I left the comfort of a large firm two years ago to fly solo, Doug was kind enough to take pen in hand and write a note wishing me success. Included in his letter were ten tips which he called “Advice from a veteran”:
 
1. Work hard.
2. Do what's right.
3. Don't bill your time at too low a rate.
4. Don't give away your time inadvertently; do it on purpose for a good reason.
5. Remember your reputation is hard to repair if ever damaged.
6. Bill once a month.
7. The law is not about money, it is about caring for and serving our clients.
8. Don't take a client if your gut instinct tells you not to; your gut is always right.
9. Pray often and about your practice specifically.
10. Watch your nickels; they soon become dollars.

My solo career didn’t last long. I'm now partnered with Joe Harrison, a seasoned property tax attorney. However, I still very much appreciate and value the wisdom of Doug’s guidance. I would add another tidbit to his list: to network – not just with potential clients, but with other attorneys. Whether it be a tip that a judge doesn’t like her copies of cases highlighted or the name of a good accountant to use for your client’s transaction, you can glean all kinds of information from other attorneys when you sit down at a bar luncheon.
 
In that vein, two SABA Committees are out to help our membership, both in the collection and distribution of advice: Jeff Akins (Membership) and Mike Hedges (Mentoring). Jeff’s committee is compiling a list of services and benefits given to SABA members, as well as investigating new benefits, such as group health insurance coverage. If you would like to see a new member benefit, please pass your idea along to Jeff. Mike is putting out the call to attorneys, young and old, who think they might benefit from a mentor in their law practice. You don’t have to be fresh out of law school to appreciate the input. As my friend Doug proved, advice from a veteran is a valuable thing.
 
I Want to Thank You
 
Hats off to attorneys Jim Woo of Davidson & Troilo and Jim Greenfield, San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association President, for putting together a great candidates forum last month. All judicial candidates in opposed primaries were invited to speak. Their remarks, addressed to an all-attorney crowd rather than the public at large, were insightful. We plan to hold another forum before the fall general election; stay tuned for more details!

 

April 2006

Much has been written about what it takes to be a successful leader. No one can seem to agree on the answer: Attention to detail? The ability to delegate? An attractive personality? Some experts argue that it is not so much a matter of style as a matter of perception. During this SABA year, I am getting to work with many extremely effective leaders, all of whom function in very different, but equally effective, styles:
 
SABA Executive Board
 
John Convery is the SABA treasurer this year. His leadership style is frank and tenacious. Given the budget crunch that SABA experienced this year, that skill came in handy. We’re now more than half-way through the year, and thanks in no small part to John’s leadership, the budget shortfall should be resolved completely soon.
 
Also, if you attend the Criminal Law Institute April 7-8, remember to thank John before you leave. He and the SABA Criminal Law Section have planned some of the best CLE speakers you will ever hear in San Antonio, such as Gerry Goldstein and Dick DeGuerin. It takes a huge amount of work to organize such a top-notch seminar, and it wouldn’t have happened without John.
 
In addition to John Convery, the rest of the SABA Executive Board is made up of some great leaders. You’ll be in good hands starting in August when president elect Lamont Jefferson, the board’s decisive, big picture person, takes over the reins. Allan DuBois, SABA vice-president, is our most Lincoln-esque leader – he waits until all the facts are in before pointing out issues the rest of us missed. Secretary Victor Negrón leads by example – he has a flawless track record of following through on every project he takes on. Finally, we are fortunate to have immediate past president Justice Karen Angelini still involved, who leads with tact and diplomacy. Each of these executive board members is committed and involved, and now that we are half-way through the fiscal year, I can testify that the team of leaders is working well to achieve SABA’s goals.
 
Members of the Judiciary
 
When last year’s “Anatomy of a Civil Trial” was a huge success, I asked the event organizer, Judge Lori Massey, if she would chair the entire CLE committee this year. She agreed, and so thanks to her leadership as well as Judge Rene Diaz’s, we have an even better looking “Anatomy” this year. In fact, SABA CLE as a whole has been whipped into shape.
 
And for the judges whose leadership efforts seem endless, I have to recognize Judge Karen Pozza and Justice Phylis Speedlin. The Community Justice Program is a tremendous success because of their passion for the project. Now Judge Pozza has agreed to volunteer in another capacity, as the SABA delegate to the board of Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid.
 
Regardless of their styles, these leaders are all extremely effective advocates and volunteers for SABA. Thank you for setting examples that we can all try to emulate.

 

May 2006 - Random Observations On The Rule Of Law

By the time this newsletter makes it to your desk, the country will have celebrated Law Day 2006. This year’s theme for Law Day is “Liberty under the Law: Separate Branches, Balanced Powers.” Although chosen months ago by the ABA, the topic is timely, given the current political storms.
 
In 1958 President Eisenhower called for this annual celebration to honor the “Rule of Law.” His proclamation recognized, “the principle of guaranteed fundamental rights of individuals under the law is the heart and sinew of our Nation, and distinguishes our governmental system from the type of government that rules by might alone.”
 
Great men have long sought to define and follow the nebulous concept of the Rule of Law. Over two thousand years ago, Aristotle wrote, “The rule of law is better than that of any individual.” When our country’s government was being formed, the same thought was still in development, as John Adams observed, “A republic is an empire of laws, and not of men.”
 
Over two hundred years later, our country is still is a ‘tweener –not really still a child, not quite a teen, but feeling growing pains while struggling to decide what it’s going to be when it grows up.
 
Adams was writing about a system under which the law was king – not any person. The difficulty he and our other forefathers had was in designing a structure wherein power was vested in the tenure of the law, rather than one where power was subject to the whims of man. With the genius of checks and balances, such a system was established. In concept, the design is like a well made three-legged stool, the legs being the executive, judicial, and legislative branches. Ideally, all are the same size and bear the same weight. If one were out of proportion, the stool would be uncomfortable. If one was weakened, any weight put on the stool would cause the leg to break off, and the whole stool would topple over, becoming useless.
 
The cable news pundits would have you believe that the stool has toppled – that the political objectives of our elected representatives have thrown the balance askew. The media cites wiretapping to show that the executive branch has exceeded its authority, and gas prices to show that the legislature is beholden to big money. What they fail to mention is that every action in dispute is under review by Congress, and if necessary, will be reviewed by the judiciary as well.
 
These are not examples of the failure of our government – perhaps failures of the judgment of men – but instead, are examples of its strength. I suggest, therefore, that as long as our system of checks and balances remains intact, our fallibilities notwithstanding, we will not ever succumb to rule by man. However, we cannot react to the “crooked leg” situations merely with mumbled discontent. We must exercise our voices and energies through the law – its procedures, possibilities, and promises – to preserve the balance of the system. Our descendents will then celebrate, another 200 years from now, the rule of law and the stability it affords.

 

June 2006 - Are contested elections a good thing for SABA?

Next month you will be asked to cast your ballot to elect next year’s board of directors for SABA. In addition to the eight members running for director, two incredibly qualified candidates are running for each of our four officer positions. When I announced the officer candidates at last month’s board of directors meeting, the mood in the room was immediately sullied by the realization that no matter who wins, four people who have done a great job for SABA will not have a place on its board next year. This begs the question: why do we have contested elections for SABA officers?
 
In conformity with our bylaws, the Nominating committee nominates at least two SABA members for each vacant office. The first candidate for a position is usually whoever held the office immediately below that office the prior year. Outgoing directors are usually nominated to run against them, and when they decline to run, the ballot space is given to a committee chair, section president, or member who has shown leadership in other organizations.
 
The advantage to this type of arrangement is that the Nominating committee usually does an excellent job of ensuring that the nominees are active volunteers who represent the diverse demographics and practice areas of SABA. The disadvantage is that some of the best volunteers are not “electable.”
 
Every bar association I contacted handles their officer elections differently. Many associations use a ladder, by which officers ascend through the ranks yearly until they have served in all positions. In some organizations, directors are elected by the members, and the officers are elected by the directors. Others allow, but do not require, contested officer elections. Another only requires a contest for the presidency.
 
The question, then, is what system is most effective at ensuring that SABA’s officers are representative and effective leaders? Over the next few months, I will ask an ad hoc committee of SABA members to review the issue and, if necessary, propose changes to our by-laws accordingly. If you would like to comment, please send your thoughts to us by e-mailing lizc@sabar.org. Please type “SABA Elections” in the subject line.
 
Thanks for your memories
 
As the bar year is drawing to a close, I would like to thank Mr. Charlie Smith of Jenkens & Gilchrist for all the time and advice he has shared with me over the last year. Mr. Smith, as you know, served not just as SABA President, but went on to become President of the State Bar of Texas. Whenever I needed guidance or a history lesson in bar politics, Mr. Smith very kindly and patiently imparted his wisdom to me.

 

July 2006

Thanks to the efforts of the board, staff, and the wonderful volunteers running our sections and committees, SABA had a great year.  Last summer I asked this year’s board of directors to focus primarily on three things: improving member services, continuing our tradition of pro bono legal work through the Community Justice Program, and nurturing our relationship with the San Antonio Bar Foundation.

We achieved all three objectives. Here are some of the highlights:

Member Services and Benefits
 

  • Published the first Bexar County Bench Book.
  • Organized an effort to inform the U.S. Department of Justice of member concerns regarding the loss of the attorney/client privilege.
  • Obtained approval, after a multi-year effort, for attorney courthouse access badges; processed almost 500 applications in the first six months of the program.
  • Analyzed the Lawyer Referral Service with the help of the ABA, in order to produce better referrals for participating attorneys.
  • Highlighted a different bar section in the Subpoena each month and invited them to co-host the monthly luncheon.
  • Created the Referral Roster in the Subpoena to promote members with unique or new practices.
  • Introduced new members of SABA, their histories and practice areas, at each monthly luncheon.
  • Reorganized SABA CLE to ensure equal offerings of quality civil and criminal seminars through quarterly Brown Bags.
  • Overhauled www.sabar.org to create on-line member section and directory.
  • Began delivering the Subpoena newsletter electronically.

 
Community Justice Program
 

  • Raised over $35,000 for the Community Justice Program through the annual Installation Dinner.
  • Expanded the CJP to its third location, the Wesley Community Center.
  • Opened the CJP Technology Center on the fifth floor of the courthouse.
  • Created the San Antonio Legal Team, which educated over 250 legal volunteer to counsel people displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
  • Dedicated two pages in each month’s Subpoena to highlighting our CJP volunteers.
  • Hired a new CJP Coordinator with significant experience in the local legal and non-profit communities.

 
San Antonio Bar Foundation
 

  • With the SABF, performed a baseline analysis of our pro bono clinics in an effort to establish long-term goals.
  • Dedicated a minimum of one page in each month’s Subpoena to the Foundation’s activities and Tributes.
  • Updated and unified association and foundation technology through web-based member database and computer upgrades.


Administrative Progress

This year also saw significant progress in the administration of the association. We hired a new auditor to seek out recommendations for more efficient operational controls. We reduced the number of bar and CJP staff to bring down personnel costs. We streamlined our bank accounts to reduce both administrative costs and risk. We implemented strict controls over contracting and spending by bar sections and committees, and we have mandated section budgets beginning in fiscal year 2006-2007.

And In Conclusion…

Our volunteers – those who chaired our committees, ran our sections, and served on the board – achieved this progress. I would like to list and thank each of you individually, but the names are far too many! I commend you for the gift of your time and effort. I encourage the entire bar to share with next year’s board their hopes for SABA. Your feedback is both needed and appreciated!  I would like to single out a few people for special thanks: my husband David (he was the one person who had to read all these columns!); SABF Chair Joe Casseb; SABA President-Elect Lamont Jefferson; and former presidents Judge Karen Pozza and Justice Karen Angelini.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your president. Thank you for listening while I rambled at the monthly luncheons, for dancing when the Court Jesters performed at the Installation Gala, and most importantly, for responding when I called for volunteers. San Antonio is fortunate to have such a quality group of people as its bar, and I was both humbled and blessed to have been its leader.

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