CBA presents awards at annual meeting
By Sara Wexler, writer for the Hamilton County Herald
The Chattanooga Bar Association held its 109th Annual Meeting Wednesday, January 17. The group of attorneys, judges, and their friends and family met for a luncheon, during which awards were given and the 2007 president was sworn in.
The CBA established a new Zealous Practice of Law award this year in honor of Harry Weill, who had served as chair of the bar’s memorial committee since 1998. He did so with the same grace and respect as he’d conducted relationships among the bench and bar all his life,” said outgoing CBA president Joe White. “He was a worthy advocate, and I’m glad I got to know him. I’m proud that the bar association has chosen to honor him with this new award that will be presented annually.” The recipient of the newly created award must, like Weill, be a worthy advocate and a member of the bar association whose energetic and enthusiastic service to clients is worthy of praise. The individual should have a polite and dignified manner even in the most pretentious situations, providing a model of civility that is worthy of emulation.
“We came up with this description with the help of Harry’s daughter Flossie, and I’m sure the ones of you who knew Harry would agree that it describes Harry,” said White. The first Harry Weill Zealous Practice of Law Award went to Paul Campbell, Jr. “He is obviously worthy of praise, and I think all of you will agree that his polite and dignified manner, even in the most contentious situations—which he has been involved in a few—I have never seen this man act in an unprofessional manner,” said White. “I believe he is a model of civility who is worthy of emulation.”
The next presentation was for the Albert L. Hodge Volunteer Award, which is given to an attorney with exemplary volunteer service to the CBA and the legal community. “This person also gives a lot of his free time to the Chattanooga Bar Association,” said White. “That’s not an easy thing to do in a world where we’re measured, it seems, by our professional accomplishments rather than our charitable or
volunteeraccomplishments.” This year’s Albert L. Hodge Volunteer Award went to Bill Hannah.
White gave the President’s Award, for the person or persons who have most helped the bar’s president during his year in office, to Lynda Minks Hood and Wanda Paschal of the Chattanooga Bar Association. The Chattanooga Bar Association’s support staff, which includes CBA Executive Director Lynda Hood and CBA Administrative Assistant Wanda Paschal, provides a substantial service,” said White. “They perform their jobs commendably. I met with Lynda and Wanda regularly, I talked with them over the phone regularly, and they are always there when the CBA needs them. They do a great job.”
The Honorable Marie Williams presented the 2006 Ralph H. Kelly Humanitarian Award. “All of us who remember Judge Kelly know that he was a remarkable man,” said Judge Williams. “This is an award that speaks to the kind of attorney each of us should aspire to be and what we should do in and about out community for others.” Virginia Anne Sharber received this year’s Humanitarian Award. “I can’t begin to tell you what all
Virginia has done for this community,” said Judge Williams. “Her work is not about her—it’s all about what she can do for others, be it in her community, her church, her children’s school, her work in the community, her family in general.” Sharber is the immediate past chair of the board for Allied Arts of Chattanooga and vice president of Junior League. She also works with the Women’s Leadership Institute, the Partnership of Family, Children and Adults, and
St. Paul ’s Episcopal Church.
Each of the prize recipients received a crystal statuette and a $100 donation given in their name to a charity of their choice.
Next the Honorable Harry S. Mattice, Jr. swore in Jim Haley as the 2007 CBA president. “I want to thank the board of governors for its work over the last year and in particular Joe White for his leadership,” said Haley. “I am beginning to get a feel for some of the demands that are placed on the president, and Joe has carried those out so well, so professionally.” Haley discussed his two main objectives for his year as CBA president. “Studies show that approximately 40 percent of graduating law students are depressed,” said Haley. “That number grows as those students begin practicing law. “Apparently, as a profession we have the highest rate of major depressive disorders of any of 104 occupations studied, and rates of anxiety and phobia that are five to 15 times higher than that of the general population. We also have high levels of suicide and depression and substance abuse. “I believe that an unfortunate characteristic of lawyers is that they deal with their own problems last. Therefore, the bar association this year will continue to highlight these concerns for you, because I believe these problems are insidious. “But fortunately, as I have learned, there are things that can be done and assistance that is available, and we will try to keep your attention focused on those.” Haley also plans to ask the Board of Governor’s to place a special emphasis on public education during 2007. “Public education is not a new area of emphasis for the bar association, as we have several ongoing programs,” said Haley. “But I really believe that this is the right time for the bar and, hopefully, for you, to place special emphasis on this issue. “None of us need more demands placed on our time, but hopefully we can find some non-burdensome opportunities for each one of us to participate and make a difference. “I want you to know that I consider this position an honor and a privilege, and more importantly a responsibility,” said Haley. “With your help, we’ll have a great year and, hopefully, will have some fun along the way.”
Jim Haley Speech at 2007 Annual Meeting of the Chattanooga Bar Association
Judge Mattice and Judge Payne, I want each of you to know how much I appreciate your participation today. Judge Payne tries to retire, and we keep pressing him into service. Judge Mattice will recall that because Joe was out of town on the day of Judge Mattice’s robing, I had the privilege of performing that honor on my former law partner, and I remarked that only for such an occasion would he trust me behind his back.
I also want to thank the Board of Governors for its work over the last year and, in particular, Joe White for his leadership. I am beginning to get a feel for some of the demands that are placed on the President, and Joe has carried those out so well, always so professionally. I especially appreciate, Joe, the way you presided over our meetings, you were always prepared, usually more prepared than the rest of us, but no one ever felt that his or her opinion did not count. In that vein, one thing I have learned from Joe is that it is important to have at least one judge on the Board as that tends to insure appropriate deference in deliberations and to keep egos in check. Joe, from a selfish standpoint, thank you for insuring that Lynda is here to help me as I begin my year. You know you have more duties ahead of you as you stay on the Board, and I will be calling on you. If you will come forward, we have a small token of our appreciation.
I would like to thank some folks for being here. First, my wife, Margaret Anne; my sisters, Janice and Joan; and my brother-in-law, Archie Fortune, who, I am sure, would much rather be on the golf course, and if truth be told, but for the weather, would be. I want to congratulate all of the award winners. On a personal note, it is great for me to have my office next door neighbor, Virginia Anne, receive such a fine award, and Mr. Campbell, I want you to know how special it is for me to be installed at the lunch at which you are being honored. One of my earliest memories is of being in Mr. Campbell’s yard, which, as I recall, had a lot of weeds, because even then, Mr. Campbell worked seven days a week. I believe that I was scurrying to get out of the way because Mike had done something bad again. Seriously, Mr. Campbell you have been a great friend to me and my family for my entire life and I am very happy for you and your family on this occasion.
I want to thank all of you for being here, particularly my colleagues at Miller & Martin. Of course, I have to admit my gratitude is somewhat tempered by knowing that if I drone on too long, one of my partners will not be bashful about giving me the “cut it short” signal.
As I alluded to earlier, I want to thank Lynda, Wanda and Annette. Ladies, we know that for many of the people here today, you dedicated folks are the bar association and you do a great job of representing us. Let’s give them a round of applause. Finally, I want to reiterate Joe’s recognition of all of our sponsors without whom we could not operate at the level that we do. Hopefully, we are supporting them. I thought I would conduct a little test to see how we’re doing. To gauge that with respect to our sponsor, EPB, please raise your hands if in either your home or in your business, you use electricity. There you go. And certainly, our publishing partner, The Hamilton County Herald and First Tennessee Bank, led by my long-time golf partner, Frank Schriner. Frank, I want all of your business associates to know and if Arch would get the word back to
Memphis , that based on the number of strokes that you require me to give you on the golf course, you certainly are spending most of your time working hard for the bank.
This coming year, we will work on many things, including the customary things that you have come to expect, but I will ask the Board to place a special emphasis on a couple of things. You know, I do believe that we are members of a great profession. We were reminded of the importance of that profession recently as we repeatedly saw the clip of Gerald Ford speaking from the Oval Office and proclaiming that we are a nation of laws and not of men. Apparently, President Ford thought it was important for us to be reminded of that. I agree, and lawyers and judges are the foot soldiers, if you will, who make our system of laws work, on a daily basis. However, as I learned recently, the burden of that responsibility appears to be weighing on us.
As has become my recurring bad habit of obtaining much of my CLE at the end of the year, in December, I attended a quality of life presentation by Dave Shearon, who, as you know, heads the state’s CLE, and some of the statistics that Dave quoted really surprised me. Apparently, and I’m quoting from Dave’s materials, studies show that 40% of graduating law students are depressed. Apparently, that number only grows as those students begin practicing law. Apparently, and again, I’m quoting, as a profession; we have the highest rate of major depressive disorders of any of 104 occupational groups, and rates of anxiety and phobia 5-15 times higher than in the general population. We also have high levels of suicide and substance abuse. When you step back and look at what we do, spending most of our waking hours worrying about someone else’s problems, which aren’t easily resolved or the client wouldn’t have hired us in the first place; constant anxiety about performing at a very high level and not making a mistake; and in the last several years, technology that has made it possible, even mandatory, to stay connected to those problems on a 24/7 basis literally anywhere you go in the world; and it’s no wonder that there are a lot of us who don’t exactly have a skip in our step.
I believe an unfortunate characteristic of lawyers is that they deal with their own problems last. Therefore, we will continue to highlight these concerns for you because I believe these problems are insidious, but fortunately, as I have learned, things can be done and assistance is available.
On a community level, and we are a community organization, I am going to ask the Board to place a special emphasis this year on public education. I believe that people everywhere are realizing the importance of this. You may have noticed in the Times Free Press that a recently conducted survey showed that for Tennesseans, education is right behind health care as their top concern. I recently read Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat and to me, it was a wake-up call about the face of business in the 21st century and the need to educate our children to compete globally for that business, and of course, locally, as our Chamber of Commerce and County and City leaders try to attract new businesses to Enterprise South, you know that the education that is available for a prospective employer’s workforce and their families has to be at the top of their priority list. Public education is not a new area of emphasis for the Bar Association as we have several ongoing programs, but I really believe that this is the right time for the Bar and hopefully for you to place special emphasis on this issue. None of us need more demands upon our time, but hopefully, we can find some non-burdensome opportunities for each of us to participate and make a difference. We will be reporting to you on this in the coming months.
Finally, I want you to know that the Board of Governors takes seriously that this is a voluntary organization. Each of you undoubtedly is a member of several organizations. No one has to belong to this one. We will work hard to see that we are responsive to your needs and to represent you well in the community.
I also want each of you to know that I consider this position an honor and a privilege and, more importantly, a responsibility. With your help, we will have a great year and hopefully, also have some fun along the way. Thank you.
The Chattanooga Bar Association would like to acknowledge all the business
that have supported us in 2006.
Please let them know how much you appreciate
their continued support of your Association!
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