President’s perspective: Dusting off the crystal ball

By Judge Patrick F. Fischer

In December, the Ohio State Bar Association Board of Governors voted to create a task force to examine how our governing bodies—the Board and the Council of Delegates—can be more responsive to the Association’s members. Then in January, the Board met for a facilitated strategic planning session. That session revolved around discussions on the future of the profession; how the OSBA can help members become and remain successful in their practices; technology; and how the OSBA can learn more about newly admitted attorneys and young lawyers.

As we discussed these and many other topics, I thought about my column, and in following with the tradition I have started of asking our members to respond, the one question that I kept repeating in my mind was, “What more can the OSBA do to help its members—now and in the future?”

The OSBA already maintains a variety of programs and services that are useful to the many different types of legal professionals in Ohio. But, in this time of economic uncertainty, lawyers are facing exceedingly difficult challenges: more competition, globalization, fewer clients that demand more, the outsourcing of legal skills, and many others. So, I ask you: How can the OSBA help?

In the past year, the OSBA launched several new practice tools, including the OSBA Report email and mobile app, the new CLE eBook Library, an updated website, and a new CLE studio that offers daily webcasts and has the possibility to offer more convenience and options for our members. I’ve even launched my own Twitter account! (Follow me @JudgePatFischer.)

I also want to ask: How can we adjust our governance structure to make OSBA membership relevant to both new and established lawyers? What types of governance structures do we need to remain indispensable to our members in the 21st century? And what more can the OSBA do to help you? Maybe it’s a new app that we have not discovered—an app that contains forms or templates to help you in your practice. Maybe you would like to have a membership directory app, where you could easily find colleagues and other members. Perhaps we need to think beyond technology; the economy is obviously an important factor to consider. Does the OSBA need to offer more help in career services? Do we need to offer more continuing legal education seminars on new practice trends, such as alternative billing, salary structure, client expectations and specialty firms?

Is there something more personal the OSBA can offer its members? Perhaps a legal match-making site or increased networking opportunities? There are endless possibilities, and we need your help.

So gaze into your crystal ball, look around your practice and examine the needs of your coworkers and colleagues, and ask yourself: How can the OSBA help?

Please let us know your thoughts and ideas on how we can better serve you as a member of our Association and what types of governance we need to be indispensable to every Ohio lawyer.

Judge Patrick F. Fischer is president of the Ohio State Bar Association.



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