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Reflections on My NWSBA Presidency

It has been my privilege and honor to serve this past year (2015-2016) as president of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association, which I believe to be a first-class organization for the legal profession in the Chicago region and for the community. The NWSBA shines in the community with its many pro bono volunteer legal help programs at the Rolling Meadows courthouse, showing students what legal practice can look like, and with philanthropy efforts. The NWSBA also provides its attorney members with the opportunity to excel as attorneys with many fantastic CLE programs offered through the organization, to excel as community members with volunteer opportunities, and to have some fun, let their hair down” (easy for me to say), and to get to know their colleagues. As we are nearing completion of our 56th year, I can tell you that I am proud of our history, proud of our leaders and staff, and I believe that the NWSBA’s future is bright and unlimited.

As I reflect back on all of the NWSBA programs and events this past year, it feels a bit like a whirlwind.  Looking back on the past year, I believe that this year’s leadership: the Executive Committee, Board of Governors, and fifty-two committee chairs should be very proud of their work on behalf of this organization.  Our accomplishments included:

  • As a result of the diligent and dedicated work of your substantive committee chairs, with oversight by 1st VP Nichole Waltz, attendance at our CLE programs increased significantly.
  • Our social committees also worked hard this year, putting on several major social events: Golf Outing, Fall & Spring Networking Nites, Holiday Party, and Judges’ Night.  Because of the work of your social committee chairs and oversight and leadership by 2nd VP, Jay Andrew, each of these events was well attended and were a lot of fun.
  • The chairs of both the substantive law committees and social committees have also been successful this year in continuing to diversify our membership, bring in more younger members, female members, and members of diverse backgrounds to match the diverse and excellent community of attorneys that serve the Northwest suburbs.  Hopefully, more of our newer members will seek leadership positions in the NWSBA in coming years, which will assure that this association continues to thrive in future years, and into future generations.

Expanding the NWSBA’s Footprint in the Suburbs

I believe that over the course of our history, the NWSBA has built a brand and culture of proactive leaders, members, and staff, who operate a first class organization, which is committed to helping its members, profession, and community. Over the course of this past year, I felt it was important to accept and attend as many outside event invitations as possible, as an NWSBA ambassador.  These included the National Conference of Bar Presidents, the Jewish Judges’ Association dinner, the Diversity Scholarship Foundation dinner, Derby Day at Arlington Park, and the Lawyers Assistance Program dinner, where the NWSBA and Past President Bill Kelley were awarded the Michael J. Howlett Award for promoting the good work of LAP.  Not that there isn’t more work to do, but getting out and visiting with other bar association leaders, judges, and others in our profession made me realize that the work of the past and current leaders and staff of the NWSBA really has created a brand – a brand of excellence, and of dedication to the legal profession and to our local community.

Dedicated Volunteers from the NWSBA

The selfless and tireless work by our members who volunteer their time performing over 500 hours of pro bono work at the Rolling Meadows courthouse each year showcase the best of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association.  The NWSBA also gives back to our local community by organizing our annual high school mock trial competition (for the past 20 years), as well as high school career day, senior law day, and the holiday assistance program. It was especially gratifying to see the efforts of our members over many years recognized by Chief Judge Evans and Judge Neil Cohen, in honoring the NWSBA with the inaugural Timothy C. Evans Public Service Award at this year’s Judges’ night dinner.  Also, at this year’s judges’ night dinner, the hard work of the NWSBA Foundation was evident, as law student, Erin S. Johnson, was awarded a $5,000 Foundation scholarship.

The work of our affiliated organization, The NWSBA Foundation, under the leadership of Steven Daday, took a big step forward this year.  The NWSBA Foundation held several fund raising events: The fall Racetrack outing, the Arlington Heights Santa Run, and a Wine Tasting at Tuscan Market.  First VP, Nichole Waltz, as the NWSBA Board liaison to the Foundation, has also been instrumental in the success of our Foundation this year.  As a result, the Foundation’s fund raising increased this year, which we hope will continue going forward.  It was enjoyable working with Steve and the other Foundation Board members and witnessing their progress this year.

My Thank You

As I leave the office of President, I am confident of the future success of our association because of our strong staff, and our incoming Board and Officers, President, Nichole Waltz, First VP Jay Andrew, Second VP Michael Rothmann, Treasurer Mimi Cooper, and Secretary Gary Newland.  Nichole has chaired, participated in, or overseen most of the committees of our association, and she has boundless energy and enthusiasm for this organization and the good of its members.  The other incoming officers are also just as dedicated to the continued success and improvement of the NWSBA – and accordingly, I believe the NWSBA is in good hands going forward.

I also want to give special thanks to our many gracious sponsors, both affiliates and members, for their continuing support and loyalty.  Their support allows us to better serve our members, our profession, and our community.  To all of our members, thank you for supporting the NWSBA this year.  I encourage you to be active in this organization, and I believe by your participation, you will benefit, as will your professional colleagues, and your community.

Stay safe and be well,

Ron Wittmeyer

NWSBA President, 2015-2016

R.F. Wittmeyer

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