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Legally Speaking

 

Issue: December, 2009
Author: William L. Hiser

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From the Top . . .

At the end of each year it is customary to take a look back at what has been accomplished, take stock of the lessons learned, discuss ongoing activities and express future plans. This article will be similar to other holiday messages you may receive—it brags a little, informs a little and hopes much.

The Wyoming State Bar had an extremely active, and dare I say, successful year. Due to conservative budgeting and a careful eye on expenditures coupled with a very successful Bar Convention in Evanston, the Bar ended the year well in the black. In light of the successful year and the fact that interest rates on our investment accounts were very low, the Officers and Commissioners felt it wise to use some of our “low return” investment funds to pay off the higher interest mortgage on the new bar building in Cheyenne. We paid off the mortgage in October. In retrospect, the timing of our transition from the old facility to the new facility could not have been better planned. We hit the right time to sell our old facility and we built well and efficiently within our building budget. We have now transitioned from an old facility of 3,260 square feet to a new 5,160 square foot facility without any debt. Great work Bar staff and Officers and Commissioners!!!

Of course, the Bar Association has faithfully and dutifully carried out its Court mandated functions of administering the lawyers and judges of the state. Additionally, the Bar undertook to proactively promote the image of lawyers throughout the state in its televised “Legally Speaking” segments and with a radio call-in show in Cheyenne. Many lawyers and judges actively participated in these promotions and the image of the legal profession and justice system is certainly enhanced by providing positive and helpful information to the public. Thank you to all who helped last year, and we are actively looking for new presenters for next year.

The coming year brings two significant opportunities—an opportunity to help ourselves and an opportunity to help others. First, the Bar is working hard, with the assistance of ALPS, to develop the best possible health care benefit plan for attorneys in Wyoming. We are in the process of determining the best organizational mechanism to administer the plan and will be beginning plan development and actuarial studies in the very near future. Thank you to all who have expressed interest and financially pledged to assist in this effort. I remain optimistic that we will be able to develop a plan that will work to provide a significant benefit to our members in need of an effective health care program.

Secondly, the Access to Justice Commission is completing it survey process and formulating plans to bring real change to the access to justice challenge in the state of Wyoming. The Bar Association has also established an ad hoc committee on access to justice to identify and recommend roles for the Bar Association to fill in the efforts to achieve access to justice objectives. I am convinced that a prerequisite for Peace on Earth is the ability of all citizens to have access to justice. Without it, the most commonly used remaining alternative is violence. Providing for the just resolution of disputes reduces violence. I believe this is true on all levels. It worked to stop physical altercations among my children, and I believe it also holds true in reducing violence in homes and schools to reducing wars between nations. Lawyers are trained in the art of justice and we must take a leadership position in developing and maintaining a “user-friendly” justice system. If we truly want to see Peace on Earth, justice must be accessible to all.

I hope for each of you that you had some successes this past year; that you can be proud of what you do; and that others hold you in high esteem. I wish you all a Happy Holiday Season, a Happy and Healthy New Year and may we all do our part to achieve Peace on Earth.

Copyright © 2009 – Wyoming State Bar

     

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