By William D. Johnston
It has been my privilege and pleasure to serve this year as President of the American Counsel Association.
Happily, the Association, in its 92nd year, is still going strong! We pride ourselves on being a gold-standard cross-referral network of diverse lawyers worldwide. And we pride ourselves on being a sisterhood and brotherhood of lawyers and judges enjoying one another’s company and looking out for one another personally and professionally.
This past year has been particularly challenging for all of us, with the COVID-19 pandemic. But, as an Association, we have done what we have needed to do. Most of all, we have supported one another. After a very enjoyable and productive in-person meeting together in Austin in February, the Board met by phone and Zoom (including a June Board planning retreat). And we are anticipating our first-ever “virtual” 2020 Annual Meeting in conjunction with the ABA’s first-ever virtual Annual Meeting. The Board will meet on Saturday, August 1, starting at 12:30 p.m. Eastern via Zoom. As always, the Board meeting will be open to all Association members. The membership meeting will commence upon the conclusion of the Board meeting (Zoom info to be provided). During that meeting, officers and directors will be elected.
I am delighted to report that, notwithstanding the COVID-19 challenges, the Association has made significant progress this year. Thanks of course go to ACA officers (myself excepted), Board members, and Michelle Calkins – our long-serving, sole administrative support professional (a part-time gig, while she is working as a paralegal for Keith McLennan, Past President and Past Secretary-Treasurer Extraordinaire).
But thanks also must go to all ACA members who have assisted with ongoing initiatives this year. So, special thanks to members of the Membership Committee who have stepped up to identify and contact potential new members. Thanks, as always, to members of our Scholarship Committee for their excellent work in identifying worthy and needy law student scholarship recipients.
Thanks also go to members of the Bylaws Review Committee for their work in ensuring that our bylaws reflect best practices for our organization. And thanks to the members of the Committee on Nominations for their work in identifying and reaching out to diverse members of our Association for service during 2021 and beyond as officers and directors, ensuring a robust leadership pipeline.
We are indebted to ACA member Josh Camson for his excellent assistance in updating and maintaining the Association’s website. Changes made will allow for on-line payment of dues and on-line meetings registration.
Last, but certainly not least, many thanks to the sponsors whose contributions have supported the activities of the Association this year and have kept costs down for meeting attendees: LexisNexis; Miller Turetsky Rule & McLennan; NeunerPate; and my firm, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP.
I wish my successor, Frank Neuner, all the best for the coming year. I have been grateful for the opportunity to partner with Frank, the other officers, the other directors, and all of you as we continue to pursue the important mission of the American Counsel Association.