President's Message

Posted by: Christopher Lam on Jan 1, 2020


Notwithstanding the headline, you are not required to read the rest of this column in the voice of Barbara Walters.  Likewise, if you do read the rest of the column, I hope you will not channel John Stossel and say, “Give me a break!”

The start of a new year causes most of us to think about what lies ahead and make resolutions or goals for the next 12 months.  These resolutions may be both personal and professional and may be motivational or broken in the first few hours.  But this new year – 2020 – presents a great opportunity to take stock of the prior year and let the “hindsight” of 2019 inform and influence how you will tackle the new year.

For example, how did you do with respect to your 2019 goals?  Did you surpass them or fall short?  If the former, think about what you can do continue your positive momentum and how you can challenge yourself to attain even greater heights.  If the latter, try to identify the challenges or obstacles that may have kept you from meeting your goals and consider what needs to change in 2020 to yield a different result.

As lawyers, January 1 means the rock is back at the bottom of the hill.  No matter how high you pushed the rock in the prior 12 months, everything resets to zero as soon as the ball drops in Times Square (or as the possum used to drop in Brasstown).  So how will 2020 be different?  Let me humbly suggest and recommend that the proverbial stone can be advanced not just by the billable hour and origination dollar, but also by non-billable contributions and service to our profession and community.

Challenge yourself to connect with your colleagues in the Bar in a way that is different from the past.  Could you join a committee? Become more active in your section?  Plan or speak at a CLE for the MCB?  In addition to the intrinsic benefits that come from contributing to the professionalism of our Bar, you will strengthen your professional network and likely find yourself with some extra hands to help move the rock.

The MCB is also doing some new things in 2020.  

I invite you to download and listen to The 26th, a new podcast by the MCB for the MCB.  There are seven episodes, each featuring a conversation with a different member, that will be released each week starting in January.  Give us your feedback and let us know what topics we should cover next.  Thanks to MCB member Rob Ingalls and LawPods for getting this launched.

The Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) has also been re-launched as a web-based service in which participating lawyers pay a monthly fee and receive even more referrals than before. Under the new program, potential clients are guided through a system that uses artificial intelligence to refer them to up to three lawyers who may be able to serve their unique legal needs. The new model eliminates the client consultation fee, allowing participating lawyers to set and collect their own fees. Lawyers are no longer required to pay commissions to the LRS or report status updates. Since launching the program in its pilot phase, LRS referrals have increased by more than 50%.

We will also start planning for the next three-year strategic plan in 2020.  While the MCB will be affirmatively seeking input from our members, you don’t need to wait for us.  Let us know what is important to you and how the MCB can better support and serve our members and community.

Finally, it’s worth stating and remembering that not all goals need to be different.  For example, the MCB remains the best place to get your CLE. MCB CLE will continue to incorporate member value programming in 2020 that is included with your membership. The self-paced on-demand catalogue will be updated to bring members relevant and comprehensive courses that can easily be accessed from your desk or handheld device. Lastly, the MCB is working to bring CLEs to our members throughout the county. Look for trainings in 2020 to reach MCB members who practice outside the uptown metro area.

So, use your hindsight to set your focus on 2020 and may your vision for your personal and professional lives be perfect.