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May 2016 – Quarterly Reports and Networking Nite

From the outset this year we have been focused on getting more of our members involved in our programs and events. That is because we remain convinced that active members gain more benefit from their NWSBA membership. So, at the start of this year we worked with our Executive Director, Julie Barth, our administrative assistant, Linda Hamann, and our CLE coordinator, Paula Krueger to devise several reports that would show us where we stand, and help us track our progress on this and other important initiatives. These reports are now being reviewed by your Board of Governors on a quarterly basis. I would like to share some highlights from our most recent reports with you. Remember the Association operates on a fiscal year – 7/1 thru 6/30. As a direct result of the hard work of many of your committee chairs, membership attendance at both our paid CLEs and our paid social events has increased over last year in each of the first three quarters so far this fiscal year, with an average increase of about 50%. Progress, yes – more room to improve, for sure.

Another focus this year has been to strengthen our substantive law committees, resulting in more free CLE and networking opportunities for our members. Currently, eight substantive law committees are holding regular monthly committee meetings, compared with five such committees last year. The efforts of your substantive law committee chairs is paying off in delivering more free CLE to our members. Membership attendance at monthly committee meetings was up 55% in the second quarter, and increased year over year in the third quarter by 90%. Nice work, substantive law committee chairs. So, if you haven’t already done so, join and participate in a substantive law monthly committee meeting soon.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS Networking Nite – Last month’s NWSBA Networking Nite was attended by over 80 members and guests, and sponsored by 14 supportive businesses and professionals. Membership chairs, Bob Boszko, Erin Calandriello, and Natasha Adler were instrumental in organizing, and hosting this event, and in recruiting our gracious sponsors for this program. Our special guest, ISBA President, Umberto Davi, and his wife, Jan Davi were gracious hosts, and spent the evening renewing old friendships and making new ones with members of our group. ISBA President elect, Vincent Cornelius (an NIU College of Law alum – go NIU!), also joined us for Networking Nite, as did our own President Elect, Nichole Waltz.

It was refreshing and encouraging to see so many younger members and guests in attendance – a bit of a glimpse into the future of our Association. I believe that as the next generation of lawyers join and become active in the NWSBA, they will begin to see what I think is a tremendous opportunity for them to improve as lawyers, gain leadership skills, and grow their law practices. The NWSBA membership includes many talented veteran lawyers who are more than willing to share their expertise and experience, and contacts with the next generation of NWSBA members. Many senior members of our Association see it as their duty to help those who are new to the profession, just as someone once helped them. So, to you younger NWSBA members – don’t just join the NWSBA, get involved with a committee! Talk with President Elect Nichole Waltz now about co-chairing a substantive law or social committee next year. And if you do, I bet you will find that the more you give, the more benefit you will receive from this Association. Special thanks to our 14 sponsors for making Networking Nite an enjoyable night for all.

Women’s Law Committee – Other successful programs last month included the first meeting of our new Womens’ Law Committee, chaired by Board Member, Joette Doran. Over 25 women attended the lunch meeting for a presentation by Nichole Waltz, and her two partners, Millie Palmer, and Susan Dawson on building a successful law practice. By all accounts, this luncheon was a great event, and a nice opportunity for the women of our association to get to know each other. Over the past several years more women have joined the NWSBA, and have become active in leadership roles as well – and that’s a very good thing for all concerned.


NEW MEMBERSHIP DRIVE – GOAL – 30 in 3! – For the final three months of this fiscal year we are on a mission to add 30 new members, by June 30, 2016. So please reach out to your colleagues and help recruit them – the more new members who join and become active in the NWSBA, the better for everyone – so please bring a friend to our next event!

JUDGES’ NIGHT – We are returning again this year to Café La Cave, in Des Plaines, after being treated very well there last year. Please join us in spending time with our Cook County judiciary in a social setting. We will be awarding the 2016 Public Service Award to Judge Neil H. Cohen, and a deserving law student will also be awarded the Honorable Timothy C. Evans Scholarship. Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans is scheduled to be in attendance to present this award. I have talked with Judge Evans at a number of events I have attended as NWSBA President over the past year, and I can tell you that Judge Evans is always very complimentary and supportive of the NWSBA and our programs.

DERBY DAY – RACETRACK OUTING WITH DCBA AND ISBA – The DCBA has put together what should be a stellar afternoon on Derby Day – the first Saturday in May! This event takes place in the Governor’s Room at Arlington Park Racetrack, which is a beautiful private hospitality suite at a grand race track. There will be great food, open bar, live racing, and highlighted by the simulcast of the most famous horse race of all time – the Kentucky Derby! So, find yourself a Derby hat, and come on out!

R.F. Wittmeyer

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