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January 2016 – Law Practice Management, NWSBA Holiday Party, and Happy New Year

Before our schedules get ramped back up into high gear, the start of the new year is a great time to assess how your professional year went last year, and to plan for some ways to make improvements in the coming year. As Law Practice Management book author (and co-chair of the NWSBA committee of the same name), Kerry Lavelle said, most of us spend all of our time working in our business, and almost no time working on our business. And that is a big mistake, according to Mr. Lavelle, and NWSBA Law Practice Management co-chair, Jon Anderson. Make plans now to attend the regular committee meetings of our Law Practice Management committee, on the 4th Wednesday of the month at noon to learn how to make your law practice more profitable this coming year.

To get the ball rolling on the subject of improving your law practice this coming year, consider the following:

  1. Does your website need an update/remodel, and/or a commitment by you to regularly add new content to your site?
  2. Could you gain legal knowledge and make new relationships by joining and attending regular monthly meetings of a NWSBA substantive law committee? (See the list of meeting times and locations posted in Newsbriefs each month)
  3. Can you grow your network of referring attorneys by attending NWSBA social events this coming year?
  4. Could you give back by participating in a substantive law committee and help mentor newer/younger attorneys that could benefit from your years of experience and knowledge?
  5. Would building an email list help you stay in contact with your clients, friends and family?
  6. Could you extend your professional reach by becoming more active on social media? (And don’t forget to Like and regularly share posts with our NWSBA Facebook Page – contact NWSBA staff member, Paula Krueger with any questions).

Remember, unless we are constantly growing both as lawyers and business owners, we are probably sliding backwards.

Northwest Suburban Bar Association Updates

This year’s Holiday Party at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant was a night that I will always remember. We had 170 members and guests attend. The wine cellar on the lower level for the second year in a row made for a comfortable, albeit cozy, setting for fellowship, and merrymaking. The dining room capacity of 120 was maxed out, and our group overflowed into the bar area. The staff at Cooper’s Hawk could not have been more accommodating. Our members and guests were extremely generous in contributing $2,895 to our Holiday Assistance Program this year – NCH Foundation’s Be Healthy, Stay Healthy program. This program funds more than 1,000 annual in-home nursing and social work visits to local low-income seniors each year. Your Holiday Party chairs and committee members, Janet Maxwell-Wicket, Nichole Waltz, and Lenore Franckowiak, as well as our staff (Julie, Linda, and Paula) did a fantastic job planning and organizing this event.

At the Holiday Party, the NWSBA also recognized three members of our local legal community for outstanding service. Judge Ellen Mandeltort was recognized for Excellence in the Judiciary, and was introduced by past NWSBA president Don Cosley. Awards committee chair and NWSBA Secretary, Mimi Cooper introduced and recognized Shannon DePeresia, coordinator to Judge Riebman, as the recipient of this year’s Friend of the Bar award, and last, but not least, past NWSBA president Lee DeWald gave an in depth description of Joe Etchingham’s legal career, as he presented Joe with the Scales of Justice Award. Joe then took the podium and shared with us the challenges he is facing, as well as recognized and thanked many family, friends, and colleagues who have helped him achieve the successful legal career that he enjoyed, all of whom stand by him today. I am privileged to know both Joe Etchingham, his brother Judge James Etchingham (Ret.) and other members of their family, and it is easy to see why there is such great love and admiration for Joe Etchingham among members of the northwest suburban legal community.

Our holiday gathering this year was an example of good people coming together to socialize and enjoy each other’s company, from seasoned veterans, younger, newer members, judges, family members, guests, and loyal sponsors alike. I really think the most important benefit we all have to gain from being involved in the NWSBA is the contacts and relationships we build with other local dedicated professionals.

The chair of our new ethics committee, Scott Kozlov, organized and monitored a very informative and well attended ethics seminar last month as well. Many more CLE programs are planned for the coming year.

On a personal note, since both of our children live out of town, my wife Carol and I headed down to Indianapolis to spend some holiday time with our son Kevin, and his new wife, Jamie. While in Indy at the car show, I even had a chance to chat with my favorite Toyota spokeswoman, Jan. Ok, now on to 2016.

Happy New Year all!

R.F. Wittmeyer

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