In brief A Periodic Newsletter of the Young Lawyers Section of the Arkansas Bar Association
Vol. 13 #2 Spring 2009
Editor of Inbrief
Tasha Sossamon Taylor
Young Lawyers Section Chair: Gwendolyn L. Rucker Chair-Elect: Tony Juneau Sec-Treas: Courtney Crouch Immediate Past Pres: Amy Freedman Executive Council: Central: Will Crowder (2009) Tasha Sossamon Taylor (2010) Brandon Moffitt (2011) South and East: Paul Bennett (2009) J. Edward (“Eddy”) Doman (2010) John Houseal (2011) Northwestern: Farrah Fielder (2009) Vicki S. Vasser (2010) L. Matt Davis (2011) At Large Representatives: Aaron Taylor (2009) Brendan T. Monaghan (2010) Cliff McKinney (2011) Law Student Representatives: University of Arkansas at Fayetteville School of Law: Sloane Morgan UALR William H. Bowen School of Law: Amber Elbert
in this issue YLS News
Arkansas Bar Association Annual Meeting
Remember Your Oath?---Young Lawyers’ Obligation To Render Public Service by Matt House
Tribute to Judith Ryan Gray by the YLS Past Chairs
YLS News YLS Meeting in Texarkana YLS had a joint meeting with the Texarkana Young Lawyers Section at the Texarkana Country Club on April 24, followed by its own Council Meeting. YLS Chair Gwen Rucker was the keynote speaker. That evening, YLS and TYLS had a joint reception at Timothy’s Grill. On April 25, YLS and TYLS participated in a community service project at the Runnin’ WJ Ranch, a therapeutic riding center for special needs individuals. A special thank you to Law Offices of Kelvin Wyrick for hosting us at the Texarkana Country Club.
Hats Off Dustin Dyer and Parker Jones announced the opening of Dyer & Jones, PLLC located at 113 Conway Street, Benton. Leonardo A. Monterrey announced the opening of Monterrey Law Firm, P.L.L.C. located at 400 W. Capitol Ave., Ste. 1700, Little Rock, with a focus on immigration law, family law, and criminal law. Derric S. McFarland and his wife, Tiffany, welcomed their daughter, Ava Claire, into the world on January 15, 2009. She was born in Texarkana, Texas and weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce. She was also welcomed by her big sister, Ashley. Chet Lauck III joined Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP on January 5, 2009. Wesley Lasseigne was recently appointed to the American Land Title Association’s RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) Implementation Task Force. Tessica Gibby is getting married on May 16th, 2009 to Price Dooley, a professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Central Arkansas. Courtney N. Little became President and General Counsel of ACE Glass, which has offices in Little Rock and Lowell. If you have information on YLS Members who deserve a “Hat’s Off” or would like to submit ideas for articles, please contact the editor of “In Brief,” Tasha Sossamon Taylor at email@example.com.
Amy Freedman at the Runnin’ WJ Ranch for the community service project.
Volunteer Event at Arkansas Rice Depot with the North Little Rock Youth Council Saturday, May 23, 2009 9:00 a.m. - noon We will give volunteer hours, talk to the students about the practice of law and eat lunch with them, and then
Courtney Crouch and Paul Bennett at the YLS Executive Council Dinner at Timothy’s following the joint YLS/TYLS reception. 2
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make a donation to the Depot. This will be a family affair for lawyers and their families and all are welcome to join for as long as they can.
YLS Kicks off Law Day 2009
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with new Legal Handbook for Young Arkansans — 18 and Life to Go Pre p Ark ared b a You nsas B y ng Law ar Ass yers ocia Sect tion ion
Check out handbook at www.arkbar.com/What’s New
Members of the Young Lawyers Section of the Arkansas Bar Association visited the Hall High Rights & Liberties class on Thursday, April 30, 2009. The class was presented with copies of “A Legal Handbook for Young Arkansans,” a publication that is hot off the press. This handbook provides young people with invaluable legal advice on important topics such as the management of credit and the various ways of settling disputes. It covers both civil and criminal legal issues. The visit was facilitated by Ms. Regan Gruber Moffitt, a recent graduate of William H. Bowen Law School who previously visited Hall’s Street Law class while she was completing her law degree. The young attorneys that attended were able to share information about each of their specialties,
which included legal education, criminal law, family law, oil and gas, insurance, and contracts. The Rights & Liberties class would like to thank Ms. Gruber Moffitt, as well as the following attorneys for the efforts they put into producing a useful handbook, and the time they spent sharing their experiences: Cory Childs, Erin Cassinelli Couch, Grant M. Cox, Matt House, Leslie Ligon, Cliff McKinney, Gwen Rucker, Amanda Wofford, and Wayne Young. Pictures and article by Sonja Williams, Hall High teacher and graduate of UALR Bowen School of Law. A special thanks to Regan Gruber-Moffitt for organizing the event at Hall High. Vol.13 No. 2/Spring 2009 YLS In brief
Arkansas Bar Association 111th Annual Meeting Joint Meeting with the Arkansas Judicial Council
June 10-13, 2009 Arlington Hotel Hot Springs
practicing law in the 21st century
Wills for Heroes Wednesday June 10th 11 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Central Fire Station, Hot Springs
YLS Hospitality Suite Wednesday evening Arlington Hotel Watch for location
A YLS event in affiliation with the Wills for Heroes Foundation. http://www. willsforheroes.org/index.html. Volunteers can serve in capacity as notary, witness or advisor. If an advisor, please provide the declaration page of your malpractice insurance showing current compliance to Barbara Tarkington by fax to 501-375-4901 or mail to 2224 Cottondale Lane, Little Rock, AR 72202 by June 5, 2009.
Friday, June 12th 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Venetian Dining Room Nine Steps to a Successful Practice in the 21st Century - In Any Economy Internationally known author of books and articles, Jay Foonberg presents steps to assuring a successful and profitable law practice. Whether a lawyer is just beginning practice or has been practicing for many decades, the basic fundamentals of excellent client relations must always be observed until they become habits on every occasion. Followed by a book signing on the mezzanine. Sponsored by Dover Dixon Horne PLLC and American Bar Associationâ€™s Young Lawyers Division and Fund For Justice and Education.
3:30 - 4:30 p.m. YLS Meeting Champagne and Strawberries Venetian Dining Room
YLS In brief
Remember Your Oath?— Young Lawyers’ Obligation To Render Public Service By Matt House, James & House, P.A., Little Rock, Arkansas As a follow-up to the announcement in the last Young Lawyers Section (YLS) Newsletter that Harmony Health Clinic, a charitable medical and dental clinic for low-income persons in Central Arkansas with no health insurance, had opened its doors and was seeing patients, Tasha Taylor (the editor of this publication) inquired whether I desired to write an article describing the Clinic in more detail. Because this is something that Amy Johnson, another member of the Young Lawyers Section, and I had co-founded and something of which we are very proud, I welcomed the opportunity. However, upon reflection I decided to write on something more general—each and every YLS member’s obligation to engage in public service. For those more interested in Harmony Health Clinic, by all means please contact Amy or me and visit our website at www. harmonyclinicar.org. We certainly desire and need your support. The notion of public service is something about which I had long contemplated but in which I had never really become very engaged. Like many of us, I never thought that I really “had the time.” I had always believed that some day, after I had married, had children, and become established in my career, “then” I could become more involved in public service. For a long time I kidded myself that occasionally buying a ticket to a fancy charitable ball or sending a few dollars to a non-profit organization in response to a mailed solicitation was fully discharging my public service obligation. In hindsight, it wasn’t. When we became attorneys licensed to practice in the state of Arkansas, we all took an oath to “not reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the impoverished, the defenseless or the oppressed[,]” and promised to “endeavor always to advance the cause of justice[.]” By taking this oath I submit that we all specifically pledged and obliged ourselves to engage in substantial public service of some kind. If you can honestly say that you are performing public service and substantively furthering the cause of social or economic justice in your community, then I salute you. If, like me, you historically have been deficient in this area of your life, perhaps tending to instead concentrate on making a living and climbing the ladder of success, please consider how you can immediately reverse this past reluctance to engage in public service. David Mellinkoff, a professor of law at UCLA prior to his death in 1999, once remarked that “lawyers as a group are no more dedicated to justice or public service than a private public utility is dedicated to giving light.” It pains me to think that my own past failure to engage in meaningful public service gave credence to those pessimistic words about our profession. Arguably there is no greater calling than serving the public. Personally, I have tremendous respect for our brothers and sisters in the Bar who have foregone higher salaries and the supposed “glamour” of private practice or in-house corporate positions and instead elected to serve the public by defending the accused, prosecuting the accused, and working in our courts. Those employed as attorneys
by legal aid organizations, the military, and nonprofit organizations deserve special recognition as well. But my aim in this article is to focus upon how we can render public service above and beyond merely performing the duties of whatever might be our regular “job.” There are innumerable ways in which we can engage in public service. It can be in a legal context, such as providing pro bono legal services to a battered wife and extracting her from an abusive marriage, participating in the “Wills For Heroes” program, or perhaps it could be volunteering to author or edit a section for the Young Adults Legal Handbook that the YLS has recently produced for distribution to high school seniors in Arkansas starting this year and into the future. Or, we can serve in a non-legal context such as volunteering to deliver groceries on behalf of our place of worship, regularly mentoring an impressionable student at a local middle school, or offering to help with fundraising for a charity of our choosing (Harmony Health Clinic comes to mind---excuse the shameless plug, but please do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 501-372-6555 if you are interested). As an aside, many attorneys and law firms annually pay money to the Arkansas Legal Services Partnership (consisting of multiple legal aid organizations such as VOCALS---Volunteer Organization of the Center for Arkansas Legal Services) instead of taking on actual representation of clients referred by these entities. There is nothing necessarily wrong with this, and it certainly helps provide much-needed funding for these groups. However, I would respectfully submit that there is no experience like that of actually helping someone and making a difference in their lives, and experiencing the joy and appreciation that you feel when you have literally changed a person’s future for the better. These legal aid organizations have great resources and attorneys available to you if you do not regularly handle family law cases or issues involving consumer protection, disability rights, landlord/tenant disputes, elder law, and the like. For more information please visit www.arlegalservices.org. The fact is that over time we (especially those of us practicing law in the business and commercial areas) often lose sight of helping “real” people, which is one of the reasons why we presumably attended law school in the first place. See also Rule 6.1, Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct (emphasis added) (“Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay. A lawyer should aspire to render at least fifty (50) hours of pro bono publico legal services per year . . . . In addition, a lawyer should voluntarily contribute financial support to organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means.”). Participating in these legal aid programs, in addition to financially supporting them, allows us to truly remain in tune with the needs of our friends and neighbors who are struggling to make it on a daily basis in the state of Arkansas. In sum, public service is like exercising, spending time with our Vol. 13 No. 2/Spring 2009 YLS In brief
family, and anything else of importance. In the midst of a busy law practice, we simply must make time for it even if we do not think there is enough time. It must become a priority in our lives. The fact is that we have an obligation to leave our community better than how we found it. I therefore encourage you to become more involved in your community through public service, both in a legal and non-legal context. You will experience joy, make new friends and come into contact with diverse people whose path you might never have crossed, and your community will be improved and enriched as a result of your efforts. Consider engaging in some form of public service tomorrow, rather than waiting until you “have the time,” although it is certainly better late than never as the late President Ronald Reagan quipped when noting that “I believe Moses was 80 when God first commissioned him for public service.” In closing, an excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Drum Major Instinct” speech (visit www.The KingCenter.org for a moving audio excerpt) warrants our reflection: If you want to be important— wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That is a new definition of greatness. And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You do not have to have a college degree to serve. You do not have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You do not have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You do not have to know Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to serve. You do not have to know the Second Theory of Thermodynamics in Physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.
The Arkansas Bar Association presents:
Spring Webinar and Teleseminar Series May 13, 2009 Identity Theft: The Ethical Issues – Representing Holders of Protected Information Yan Ross 1.0 CLE Ethics Hour May 20, 2009 Exploring Durable Powers of Attorney L. Dee Davenport and Dan C. Young 1.0 CLE Hour May 28, 2009 How to Start and Build a Law Practice Jay Foonberg 1.0 CLE Hour Sponsored in part by the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division and Fund For Justice and Education.
June 30, 2009 Ethical Issues in Representing Financial Advisors Yan Ross 1.0 CLE Ethics Hour June 30, 2009 Arkansas Real Estate Review Lynn Foster & Cliff McKinney 1.0 CLE Hour June 30, 2009 Representing Seniors and their Families – Ethical Issues for Attorneys and Their Clients Yan Ross 1.0 CLE Ethics Hour Register at www.arkbar.com
YLS In brief
Past Presidents of the Young Lawyers Section of the Arkansas Bar Association Honor the Memory of Judith Ryan Gray Judith was without exception professional, friendly, helpful, concerned about doing her best and diligent. She was always prepared and knew her job. She helped me with advice, and warned me when I was about to make a mistake. When I didn’t listen and needed help in correcting an error, she was there. All of us who knew her and who worked with her appreciated her kind spirit and her sincerety. We have lost a friend. Carl A. Crow, Jr. (YLS Chair 1983-1984)
I imagine Judith Gray’s son identified with the old Irish poem that a son wrote to his mother: There’s a spot in me heart which no colleen may own, There’s a depth in me soul never sounded or known; There’s a place in my memory, my life that you fill, No other can take it, no one ever will. Sure, I love the dear silver that shines in your hair, And the brow that’s all furrowed, and wrinkled with care. I kiss the dear fingers, so toil-worn for me, Oh, God bless you and keep you, Mother Machree Every sorrow or care in the dear days gone by, Was made bright by the light of the smile in your eye, Like a candle that’s set in a window at night, Your fond love has cheered me and guided me right. I kiss the dear fingers, so toil-worn for me, Oh, God bless you and keep you, Mother Machree The Chairs of the Young Lawyers Section as well as Presidents of the Bar Association itself, know who “guided them right.” In the ‘82-‘83 bar year, when I was Chair of the Young Lawyers Section, I was full of energy and ideas. Many of the ideas had not been given enough thought and time to “cure out.” Sometimes I was, “all of the lion, but none of the fox.” Robert E Lee made this observation about his General John Bell Hood. Judith’s subtle, kind, quiet counseling supplied much of the latter. Judith was one-of-a-kind--a real treasure. Judge Bill Wilson (YLS Chair 1982-1983)
There are a select few persons which each of us can identify as having a life changing effect on our lives. Judith Gray has been that person to many individuals and I am proud to say that I am one of those so blessed. Judith chose to take me under her wing and mentor me as a law student. This continued through the Young Lawyers Division, Executive Counsel, House of Delegates and numerous other committees and projects. I was given the privilege of serving as an Annual Meeting Chair and cherished the opportunity to work closely with Judith on that project. I have always felt a significant personal bond and enormous affection for Judith Gray. Her personal influence on both my career and my life are immeasurable. It is not surprising to learn that she has had a similar influence on many people throughout the Arkansas Bar Association. I will not be surprised to find her seated by St. Peter at the main gate handling all of the arrangements in heaven. Judith will forever be in my heart and a part of my career. Michael H. Crawford (YLS Chair 1987-1988) Everyone that has been a leader in the Arkansas Bar Association was influenced by Judith Gray. She trained more young lawyers concerning the importance of leadership in the Association than can be counted. Judith shepherded me through the leadership track of the Young Lawyers Section in the mid 1980s. While she kept a tight rein on the young lawyers’ activities, she also encouraged new programs and allowed us to stretch our wings, within reason. There was a time in my life when I was “burned out” on involvement with the Bar Association. In her own way, Judith was understanding of that hiatus and, at the appropriate time, she gently urged me back into the fold. For that I will always be grateful, as Bar Association activities have been the most rewarding volunteer time I have ever spent. Judith had the unique ability to take pleasure in the success of others. She was often the source of those successes. However, she would never dream of claiming credit. She would simply be sure the task you were assigned as a volunteer ended with a good result. I am quite confident that I tested her patience on more than Vol. 13 No. 2/Spring 2009 YLS In brief
one occasion. Her ability to guide you without stepping on your toes was a remarkable attribute. To me, Judith Gray was the Arkansas Bar Association. She was the model of consistency that made and maintained our organization as one of the top bar associations in this country. For that, we should all be grateful. Finally, and as we all know, Judith loved lawyers. She often wore a lapel pin that proclaimed the same. She truly loved the profession and the people in it. Ironically, it seems to me that if all people in this world were like Judith Gray, we would not need lawyers. Richard L. Ramsay (YLS Chair 1985-1986) Before I knew anything about the Arkansas Bar Association, before I knew most of the law I know today, and long before I became the lawyer I am today, I knew Judith Gray. I knew Judith because she reached out to me, as a brand new young lawyer - my first year - and took me in. Of all the important things she taught me, two I use daily, not only in my Bar life but in all of my life’s journey. First, listen to the members... listen to people ... you may learn something and become a better Association leader, a better lawyer ... a better person. Second, we are a team ... we move forward and backwards together. If we work together, we will limit the moments we regress and greatly increase the momentum and miles we progress forward. I am grateful for Judith and her leadership, work and love among us. She has led us over many wonderful, successful miles! Rosalind Mouser (YLS Chair 1989-1990) The Arkansas Young Lawyers Section was always a priority for Judith. She wanted us front and center on the local, state, and national level. One of my early experiences with Judith was an unexpected call asking if I could attend a national meeting on behalf of the Arkansas YLS. The current chair had an unanticipated conflict as did the vice-chair and, by working down the list of board members, Judith had reached me. Luckily, I was available and was shortly winging my way to Portland, Oregon, to represent Arkansas at the conference. I was hooked from that point forward. Judith’s constant encouragement and promotion of YLS and its members has created generations of lawyer leaders. It was my privilege to serve with her. Lucinda McDaniel (YLS Chair 1992-1993) I first met Judith Gray at the Annual Meeting in 1988. I wanted to become involved in the Young Lawyers’ Section. I met Rosalind Mouser who told me to come to the YLS meeting and I could run and be elected to the Executive Committee. She promised no one from South Arkansas would run to oppose me. As you could guess someone did run and my first try at doing volunteer work for the Association was quickly sunk. Feeling dejected Rosalind came up to me and said she knew I wanted to be involved and said “I will find something for you to do.” Judith Gray was listening and said “Rosalind you could use someone to edit the upcoming Senior Citizen’s Handbook.” This would be the sixth edition. I had my 8
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first task in the Association thanks to Judith Gray. This began a friendship over many years that included, Chair of YLS, Annual Meeting Chair, and too many committees to count. As Chair of the YLS in 1994 I inherited an idea from former Chair Lynn Williams about a minority recruitment program. I felt a need for the Association to be more open to all persons. This was before “diversity” was a popular term. I expressed this to Judith Gray. She wholly supported me. We (probably Judith told me and made me think it was my idea) came up with a conference for minority high school students where we would have African Americans with different employment backgrounds talk to the group and tell them their stories and the sacrifices they made. I enlisted the help of my law school classmate, Lisa Mathis Peters. I wanted to try to get members of the W. Harold Flowers Law Society involved and work with them on this project. Judith asked me if I had ever heard the story about Wiley Branton joining the Association. I had not. Wiley Branton passed the bar in 1952. He received his dues statement from the Association and paid it. The following year he did not receive a statement. He inquired on the amount and sent in the money. His money was returned in a plain white envelope with no comment. This is an example of how Judith had the ability to let me know what a big mountain I was trying to climb with one project, but not discourage me from trying. We had the conference and it was a success such that Lisa Peters and I received a Golden Gavel. Judith can keep a secret. In December of 1997 the Executive Committee of the Arkansas Bar met in Pine Bluff. I was madly in love with a girl named Karen Wineman. On Saturday after the
meeting was over I stopped at Sissy’s Log Cabin to look at engagement rings. While picking out a ring I ran into Judith Gray. I was busted. My surprise would be out. I said “Judith don’t tell anyone you saw me here.” My brother, Bennet, had a wedding in April 1998 in Washington, D.C. I did not want to show him up with my announcement. At the Annual Meeting in June 1998 Judith saw Karen and never mentioned the ring. I held the ring until July 1998 when I recreated our first date. No one ever knew I had the ring for 6 months. Judith kept my secret. My last story is one some have heard. I have a garden of 50 roses. In 2004 I Chaired the Annual Meeting Committee. This means Judith Gray does the work you help and then she gives you all the credit. I wanted to thank Judith for all she did. I decided to cut two dozen roses, carry them in an ice chest and then arrange them in a vase and have the Arlington staff put them in her room. I wanted to brighten Judith’s stay and I felt it worked. Judith’s fiancé, George Purvis, decided to paint on a canvas my roses. I often thought poor George was bored at our meeting, but he just loved to paint. Judith shared his painting with me at the end of the meeting. I thought that was just too neat and now she had this to remind her of my gesture. About two weeks later I received framed the painting with one of Judith’s classic handwritten notes on what a good job I did planning the meeting. The painting hangs in Karen and my bedroom today. Judith was a mentor and a dear friend. I was blessed to have worked with her and to have wonderful memories. She is missed. Brian H. Ratcliff (YLS Chair 1993-1994) The overriding memory I have of Judith during my tenure as YLS Chair was not her unbelievable institutional knowledge of the Bar and YLS section, but her always pleasant personality, manner and wonderful smile. R. Scott Morgan (YLS Chair 1997-1998) Being a “bar brat,” I had the opportunity of knowing Judith from a fairly young age and have had the opportunity to observe her interact with many individuals, always with grace, patience, professionalism and dedication. When I became active in the Young Lawyers Section, I was pleased, and honored, that Judith would be the staff person to serve as the liaison between us and the “big bar.” Of course, she exhibited all of the traits that I had come to know and expect. I do not remember a project that we discussed on which she could not provide guidance, historical perspective, and constructive thought. She was always proud of our many accomplishments. I was so pleased that the friendship and working relationship that we had developed, lasted past my time with the Young Lawyers Section, and past Judith’s retirement. I will miss her dearly. J. Baxter Sharp III (YLS Chair 1999-2000) Judith was a great friend to several generations of young lawyers in Arkansas. She had a knack for channeling our enthusiasm into workable projects. She was the institutional memory for the
Young Lawyers Section. She gently prevented us from making the same mistakes over and over again. She was a delightful person to be around. She was the consummate professional bar association staffer. And she will be sorely missed. Tim Cullen (YLS Chair 2001-2002) Judith was a wonderful, nurturing figure in the Arkansas Bar Association. From the time I was first licensed as a lawyer, she made sure to meet me and bring me into the fold of the Young Lawyers Section. In time, I came to see her as the “Guardian Angel” of the YLS. She truly loved each and every one of us, and she was so devoted to the Young Lawyers Section. She went to bat for us time and again. Like a loving parent, she guided us through our many projects and ideas and would help us weigh the pros and cons of each endeavor. Judith had a phenomenal memory and was like an encyclopedia of the Arkansas Bar Association. She was such a resource to the young lawyers. She knew how certain projects had progressed through the years, and she was a roadmap for us in trying out new ideas. Without being overbearing, she guided us. Yet, she was always encouraging and patient with us. She truly loved the young lawyers of Arkansas. Personally, she steered me towards Bar leadership and was a mentor to me in so many ways. I was heartbroken to learn of her passing. She will be honored and remembered for her love and devotion to us all. In truth, Judith Ryan Gray was and will always be a pillar of strength for the Arkansas Bar Association. Judith, with deep love and respect, the young lawyers of Arkansas bid you a fond farewell. Amy Freedman (YLS Chair 2007-2008) Vol. 13 No. 2/Spring 2009 YLS In brief