Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, January 12, 2018

CBA membership a vital investment

Hello, 2018! When I consider what’s come across the director’s desk in my 24 years with the Chattanooga Bar Association, I don’t have to wonder where all the time has gone. Looking ahead, 2018 will be another banner year for us.

To express the excellence of this association, I want to reflect on a quote that often comes to mind: “Quality … [starts] with the people in charge, with their absolute dedication to an idea and their willingness to do all things necessary for attainment.”

Our current Board has this quality, and there’s strong leadership in the committee chairs and our members as well.

The CBA is an extension of your law practice – and to preserve the excellence we have achieved in our 121 years, we need to maintain the active support of our members. Being an active member in the CBA can be valuable both personally and professionally. In fact, your annual membership dues will probably be the safest investment you’ll make in yourself and your career.

I often ask myself, “What if there was no bar association?” Let’s take a look at what your CBA does for the legal community.

A place to network

The CBA is a great place to get to know people and be known. Through our social events, we offer opportunities for camaraderie with your fellow practitioners. Some of the events we host include robing ceremonies for new judges, portrait unveilings for retiring judges, an annual golf tournament, an annual Law Day celebration and an annual meeting.

This year, the Tennessee Supreme Court and the Chattanooga Bar Association will also bring the SCALES Program to Chattanooga for high school students.

The SCALES project is a Tennessee Supreme Court initiative designed to educate high school students about the judicial branch of government. SCALES, which stands for Supreme Court Advancing Legal Education for Students, gives students a unique opportunity to hear oral arguments for an actual Supreme Court case in a nearby community.

“The Tennessee Supreme Court believes educating young people about the judicial branch is paramount to creating productive citizens,” Justice Cornelia Clark says. “The SCALES project is a great opportunity for high school students to get a firsthand look at the Supreme Court in action while also developing an appreciation for the rule of law and the role it plays in our society.”

Since the creation of the program in 1995, the SCALES project has given more than 25,000 Tennessee students from more than 460 high schools the ability to see the judicial branch in action.

A place to develop professionally

We offer low-cost continuing legal education seminars on many topics. Last year, we offered over 22 seminars that provided the opportunity for over 60 hours of professional hours – all at a discounted member price.

If you’re a young attorney and would like a mentor, our mentor program is made up of the past presidents of the association, all of whom are willing to help.

A place to give back

The Chattanooga Bar Association is also a place to make an impact in the legal community. This could range from responding as an association to an issue with the Legislature, to you making proposed changes to the rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court, to you being the voice on judicial bar polls.

Other ways to be involved in your association include volunteering for the annual high school mock trial competition and helping the Young Lawyers Division with its CASA project.

We also always need committee members to serve as panel members of fee dispute arbitrations or to assist the attorneys-in-crisis committee with the distribution of their client files.

A place to increase business

As a member of the CBA, you can join our Lawyer Referral Service. The LRS is the way we connect consumers to local attorneys in a straightforward and friendly manner.

Some of the comments I have received from participating attorneys are: “Participating in the LRS (or CLIPS) has provided the extra income to pay private high school tuitions for my children.” Another attorney said it’s helped them boost their income well into the six-figure range. And several have said, “It’s an excellent way to obtain potential clients to grow my practice.”

As you can see, we are an active and strong association. And as more changes lie ahead as we continue to meet the needs of the membership, we need your continued involvement and support.

Let’s keep the “dedication to ... attainment” and make 2018 another banner year for the Chattanooga Bar Association!

Happy New Year to all.

Benfits of membership

The CBA provides:

  • Quality CLE seminars (at member prices)
  • Referrals to build your client base
  • Fee dispute arbitrations
  • Member benefits from area business
  • Mentor program for new attorneys
  • The annual memorial service
  • The annual membership meeting
  • The Law Day celebration
  • Networking and social events
  • Relevant weekly news and information via the Hamilton County Herald and bi-weekly email newsletters from the executive director.

The CBA also:

  • Assists in protecting the public from the unauthorized practice of law
  • Provides assistance for those experiencing drug, alcohol or mental health issues
  • Provides funding to assist attorneys in financial need due to illness
  • Provides a lawyer referral service
  • Provides a printed pictorial directory of the bar
  • Honors and recognizes attorneys for outstanding service to the legal community
  • Provides committees and special sections
  • Provides a conference room for use by members
  • Provides investiture ceremonies and retirement celebrations
  • Provides the Chattanooga legal placement service to assist in staffing
  • Provides the annual high school mock trials
  • Provides the “When You Become 18’’ booklet to all high school seniors
  • Provides the Charles A. Noone Sustaining Fund to assist those in financial need due to illness
  • Has a Young Lawyers Division
  • Has a 501 (c) (3) charitable arm – the Chattanooga Bar Foundation