By Anne M. Daly
In talking with people in the KCBA community and beyond, it is clear that KCBA is held in high regard for its incredible commitment to pro bono work. A good percentage of the annual budget and hard-working KCBA staff support our volunteers in this work. It is a hallmark of KCBA. The number of hours donated by KCBA volunteers is truly impressive and something we all should be extremely proud of. We are the envy of many legal communities and bar associations — and rightly so.
While our pro bono programs are often in the spotlight, there is also a group of volunteers working under the radar on the less glamorous, sometimes controversial and equally important tasks of KCBA: our section and committee chairs — the unsung heroes of KCBA. (Please see pages 16 and 17 for a listing of our section and committee chairs and other KCBA leaders.) They are the people who ensure the work of KCBA gets done. They act as liaisons to the Board of Trustees, keeping us informed of their work, issues, initiatives and challenges. Without the efforts of the chairs, much of what draws us to KCBA simply would not happen.
KCBA has 14 sections and 13 standing committees. Committees handle the work that is not practice specific, but is often tied to KCBA's mission statement, while sections are focused on practice areas and training. Our chairs represent a broad spectrum of KCBA membership and the legal community.
We have chairs who are new to the practice of law, chairs who are not so new to the practice of law, and members of the local bench. Chairs span a variety of work environments: small firms, large firms, solo firms, corporations, nonprofits, courts and government. The common factor KCBA chairs share is a passion for KCBA and its work. We are fortunate to have such a strong group of section and committee chairs.
Section chairs attend an orientation to learn the ins and outs of effectively running a section. Once armed with their member rosters and other forms, they begin their work by volunteering their time to schedule, attend and facilitate meetings.
Additionally, section chairs develop monthly CLE programs — about 10 a year — as well as any other events for the section. Committee chairs oversee the work of their respective committees, such as the Judicial Candidate Screening Committee, and often develop programming for KCBA and the legal community, such as the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon or the Public Policy Committee's Death Penalty Forum. The encouragement and effort section and committee chairs provide to members and the legal community are remarkable.
Our chairs also must sometimes respond to criticism, challenges and change. They do so with grace, integrity and professionalism. Our chairs are often the faces associated with KCBA and they do an excellent job representing KCBA in a variety of forums. These individuals are all leaders of KCBA.
It is my hope that those of you who are not active in a section or committee will take the opportunity to become more involved. I assure you it will be worth your while, interesting and engaging. It is also my hope that those of you who are active in our committees and sections will give some thought to taking on a leadership role at some point and encourage your peers to participate in a section or committee as well. Your ideas and energy are what will keep our sections and committees strong. Lastly, I hope that all of our KCBA members will take a moment to join me in thanking our hard-working committee and section chairs.
All of our section and committee chairs have the profound thanks of the Board of Trustees. We are proud of you and your accomplishments. Your commitment to KCBA and willingness to take on a leadership role within KCBA is invaluable. It is because of the work you do that KCBA continues to thrive. Thank you.