Saturday, June 4, 2011

Annual Meeting

Ken Shigley took over as the 49th President of the State Bar of Georgia and made his oping address at the meeting on June 4, 2011. Drawing on his broad experience as a former small town sole practitioner as well as his experience as a prosecutor, insurance defense lawyer and trial lawyer, Ken is looking toward the future of the Courts and the place that the Bar will have. He is establishing a commission on the future of the courts and wants to insitite a Federal style electric filing system in all 159 counties in Georgia. He also is dedicated to the small practicing lawyer and is establishing a committee on "Main Street" lawyers.

At the meeting, the Board approved a budget that cuts expenses of the State Bar by $4.00 per member following the $2.00 per member dues increase. The State bar will be further looking to cut expenses, to include the huge sums it pays in postage. The Board also elected four members to the at large seats on the Executive Committee. They are David Lipscomb for Lawrenceville, Bob Kauffman from Douglasville and Brian "Buck" Rogers from Atlanta. Rita Sheffey from Atlanta was elected to fill the unexpired term of Patrice Perkins Hooker who was elected Secretary

Member Benefits Committee

The member benefits committee met on June 3, 2011 at the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of Georgia. On the agenda was a report from BPC Financial as the recommended insurance provider, a review of the Law Practice Management and a proposal for self-insurance from Qual-Care.

BPC Financial, the Jacksonville, Florida firm that the Bar approved as the recommended agent, gave the report as to their activities. presently they are advertising heavily and are a Five Gavel sponsor of the State Bar. As of this date, they have signed 311 policies for Bar members since 2009. While this seems like a low number, BPC indicated that based on their experience with the Florida Bar, slow steady growth is part of the pattern, especially at the outset. The committee authorized BPC to make a Request for Proposal with insurance providers to offer better packages for Georgia Bar members through BPC as the recommended provider.

Natalie Kelly from the Law Practice Management program provided information on the services that the LPM group has offered throughout the State to small firms. Due to the economy, the LPM is seeing more attorneys opening small and sole practices. The transition to Fastcase has been smoother than anticipated. There have been very few com paints about the change from Casemaker and almost no technical problems with the program. LPM has conducted hundreds of tailings on Fastcase, especially web based training, so far this year.

Finally, the committee had an informational session with Qual-Care, a program that manages self insurance programs for associations. These programs are referred to Multiple Employer Welfare Association or MEWA. If implemented, the Bar would create a board of trustees to administer a self insurance trust. The board would then review the risk of the members insured and set premiums and then retain an agency to administer claims maintain handle the list of qualified physicians. Qual-Care has experience in handling MEWAs such as the Georgia Home Builder's Association and the a group of physicians in New Jersey. The been fits of such a program is that by being a self-insurer, we cut out the shareholder profits and executive salaries and can offer insurance at lower costs. The committee will be investigating this option extensively.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Blue Ridge Bar Association Takes Top Honors

It is a proud moment for the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit Bar Association at the Plenary Session of the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of Georgia. During the awards ceremony we picked up three trophies. First, the award for the Best Law Day program which our bar is a perennial recipient. Second, is the award for the Best Website which we are receiving for the first time. Third and ultimately, we received the President's Cup for the best all around local voluntary bar association in the State.

While I am proud to receive the acknowledgment and accolades for the accomplishments of the bar, credit must be given where credit is due. The people responsible for these awards are Will Carlen, Lara Schuster and John Early for their hard work on the Law Dy program this year. Taking on the Law Day Committee each year is a daunting task with the responsibility to uphold the legacy created by Law Day program chairs in the past. Further credit is due to Lara Schuster for her work forging a new path with our Bar website,

Furthermore, credit is due to President Paul Ghanouni and the entire membership of the Blue Ridge Bar Association. The hard work and contributions to the community of each an every member is recognized by the leaders of the State Bar of Georgia and brings great credit to our Bar. Thank you for making this a very proud annual meeting

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Opening Annual Meeting State Bar of Georgia

Today opens the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of Georgia and runs though Saturday, June 4, 2011. Each year, the annual meeting features the Plenary Session of the State Bar, Meeting of the Board of Governors and the inauguration of the new President for the coming year. This is a very special annual meeting for the Blue Ridge Bar Association.

At the Plenary Session on June 3, 2011, the Blue Ridge Bar Association will receive awards for the Best Law Day and Best Website. The Blue Ridge Bar Association competes for these awards with bar associations of the same side. In addition, the Blue Ridge Bar Association was selected to win the President's Cup. We compete for this award with every voluntary and local bar association in the state, regardless of size. That means, we beat out such organizations as the Gwinnett Bar, Cobb Bar and the Atlanta Bar Association. A very special thanks goes out to Laura Schuster, Will Carlan and John Early for all the work they have done with Law Day and the Web Site.

Also on the agenda for the meeting is Board of Governors where we will address the issues of the budget for the State Bar of Georgia as well as elect members to the executive committee of the Bar. The meeting will culminate Saturday night with the inauguration of Ken Shigley as the 49th President of the State Bar of Georgia.

Of course, the annual meeting is not all work. This year's meeting is being held at the Kingston Shores in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. tree will be plenty of time to hit the beach and attend some of the many social events that strengthen the camaraderie between the members of the bar and for families to have a good time.