The media tell us that 70 is the new 50, and 60 is the new 40. So KCBA launched its BOLD initiative a couple of years ago, recognizing that its seasoned members are still active contributors to the profession, even if some may be scaling back their practices. BOLD brings together members who have been in practice for 30 years or more for social interaction and free CLE credits.
The variety of programs over the last year and a half reflects the varied interests of BOLD participants. At the kick-off, regular Bar Bulletin columnist Karen Summerville gave attendees a tool kit for making their next career chapter satisfying and rewarding - with or without the practice of law. Discussions that began that day continued as interested BOLD-ers planned additional events.
BOLD-ers wanted to give back to the profession and the community.
So our second program presented attendees with a range of pro bono options to fit every interest. KCBA's Threesa Milligan addressed ethical issues that arise in pro bono work and WSBA's Catherine Brown described the "emeritus" status available for senior lawyers who perform pro bono work exclusively.
Three lawyers who had each found a particular pro bono niche described their experiences. Greg Abbott's pro bono work began with a single immigration case, and now he's hooked. Chuck Cohen, a longtime bankruptcy attorney, found a whole new area of interest at the KCBA Housing Justice Project. Dan Young sought out pro bono representation that gets him into court, his favorite setting.
In March, Joe McMillan and Charles Sipos gave a gripping account of their pro bono representation of Salim Hamdan, a Guantanamo detainee whose claims before the U.S. Supreme Court resulted in a ruling that military commissions for detainees were in violation of both the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Code of Military Justice. The sophisticated BOLD audience peppered the speakers with great questions and told KCBA that they'd like to see more programs on substantive legal topics.
The final program this year is set for early June, focusing on issues faced by lawyers considering reducing their active practice or even retiring completely. The topic purposely recognizes the varied options available for BOLD-ers who want to make their professional lives more satisfying.
My personal participation in BOLD has reaffirmed for me that seasoned attorneys are some of the most fun and interesting people I know. Many of us are in the same boat - still active and eager to contribute, but at the same time thinking about how to reorder our priorities to best enjoy the years ahead.
We may have more time now for pro bono work or to mentor more junior attorneys. We want to read more and explore topics that we haven't found time for in busier times. And we enjoy a great conversation with colleagues over a glass of wine at BOLD programs.
BOLD is the opposite end of the spectrum from the YLD, and I often get questions about what the "B" stands for. We're a highly individualistic group with rich experiences, so you get to decide what it means to you as a seasoned lawyer: brash, brave, bloodied, brainy, buddy-loving, beautiful, bodacious. BOLD members are all of the above. Please join us.