OCBA UPDATE: Hello, Goodbye and Thanks for the Memories

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You say yes, I say no
You say stop, but I say go, go, go,
Oh no,
You said goodbye and I say hello.

Hello, hello,
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello,
Hello, hello,
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello.

I say high, you say low,
You say why and I say I don’t know.
Oh, no
You say goodbye and I say hello,
(Hello, goodbye, hello, goodbye)

Hello, hello, (Hello, goodbye)
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello,
(Hello, goodbye, hello, goodbye)
Hello, hello,
(Hello, goodbye)
I don’t know why you said goodbye I say hello. (Hello, goodbye)

“Hello, Goodbye”
(Lennon/McCartney)
Released: November 27, 1967

It is hard for me to believe that just 12 short months ago I was sworn in as the 83rd president of the Oakland County Bar Association. At that time, I had a chance to say hello to everyone and speak to you regarding my vision of taking the Oakland County Bar Association from being a good bar association to being a great bar association.* I believe our bar association is well on its way to achieving this goal. This being my last article, I want to take this opportunity to say goodbye as the president and to highlight the numerous accomplishments that have taken place over the past 12 months with the help of so many of our fantastic members.

In the months prior to becoming president, I attended several bar leadership conferences. I learned two important lessons from these conferences. First, incoming bar association presidents must realize their tenure is very short, and therefore they cannot change everything in their organization. Second, it is important for bar association presidents to identify and focus on several important projects during their presidency, accomplish those tasks, and leave the bar association better
than they found it. I have tried to apply these two lessons throughout my tenure.

On June 4, 2015, I had the opportunity to address the OCBA membership at the Annual Meeting held at the Shenandoah Country Club. I set forth my five-step plan for taking the bar association from being a good bar association to being a great bar association. I emphasized that this goal was not going to take place overnight, but rather this goal was unquestionably achievable over the next three to five years with every member’s help.

Two of my objectives this year involved increasing the number of members of our bar association and increasing the number of our sustaining members. I am pleased to report the regular membership count continues to increase. In January and February of 2016 alone, we welcomed 88 new members to our association. The OCBA Membership Committee and the OCBA staff continue to work tirelessly to keep our membership at a level that allows the organization to have financial
sustainability and the ability to offer the numerous events our members are accustomed to and so thoroughly enjoy.

In addition, I am pleased to report our sustaining membership has significantly increased from the previous year. The increase in sustaining members has resulted in the OCBA creating/launching a new website and providing for updated audio-visual technology in the OCBA’s CLE room and boardroom, to name but a few of the benefits derived from the additional revenue provided by sustaining members. I hope everyone who can remit the additional $100 to become a sustaining member in the upcoming membership renewal cycle will do so.

2015-2016 was undeniably a very active and fun year for the OCBA. In July 2015, we had our annual golf outing at the Oakhurst Golf and Country Club in Clarkston. In 2014, unfortunately, the golf gods did not smile upon our event at the Orchard Lake Country Club and a terrible storm canceled the golf outing and required us to reschedule it in September. In 2015, by contrast, the temperatures for the OCBA golf outing were in the 90s with blue skies and no rain, we had great attendance, and the golfers who participated had a super time.

In September 2015, we had the 36th annual Race Judicata as well as the OCBA Sustaining Members Reception. The weather was perfect for Race Judicata and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The Sustaining Members Reception was held at the Skyline Club in Southfield and we had outstanding turnout for this event. Hopefully with the increase in sustaining members achieved during the 2015-2016 year, the 2016 Sustaining Member Reception will be even larger and better.
Every other year the OCBA hosts a Diversity in the Legal Profession Dinner. In October 2015 this sold-out event was held at The Bird and The Bread in Birmingham. For those of you who have never been to an OCBA Diversity Dinner, I strongly encourage you to do so in 2017 when this event is held again.

In November 2015, the New Lawyers Committee met at the Detroit Zoo for their annual Novemberfest mixer with other new-lawyer groups. Throughout 2015 and 2016, the New Lawyers Committee met on multiple occasions to have fun, exchange career development ideas and become more involved in OCBA activities. Vickie King, this year’s chair of the New Lawyers Committee, has done an outstanding job in taking this committee to a new level.

In December 2015, the Holiday Gala was held at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. This year we set a new record for attendance. A special effort was made this year by the OCBA board of directors to bring new lawyers to this event. I issued a president’s challenge, asking my board of directors to purchase tickets for new lawyers who would not otherwise be able to come to this event and I would match their purchases ticket-for-ticket.

The board of directors stepped up to this challenge, purchasing 26 tickets for new lawyers. I matched the board’s generosity and purchased another 26 tickets, enabling 52 new lawyers the opportunity to attend the Holiday Gala who had never been to this event before. All of the new lawyers who received these tickets greatly appreciated the opportunity to come to this event and they saw firsthand how OCBA members care for one another. Hopefully this president’s challenge will continue for years to come.

In January 2016, 40 new OCBA members joined the Oakland County Bar Foundation. A wonderful Fellows Reception was held at the Townsend Hotel for this new group of foundation supporters. In April 2016, the OCBA District Court Bench/Bar Conference took place at Orchard Lake Country Club. This was another great event that allowed OCBA district court practitioners to meet with our district court judges, learn from one another and get to know each other better.

In May 2016, the OCBF Signature Event was held at the Oakland Hills Country Club. This was another sold-out event with OCBA members giving back to their community by making a financial commitment to the foundation. Last, the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Oakland County Bar Association took place at the Centerpoint Marriott in Auburn Hills, which was again an extremely well-attended event.

Suffice it to say, this has been a very busy and successful year in terms of producing quality events for OCBA members. These events appeal to new lawyers, mid-career lawyers and seasoned lawyers alike. I am also pleased to report the OCBA ended the 2015-2016 bar association year in the black.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t take time to thank all of those in our OCBA family who have made my tenure as OCBA president so enjoyable. I would like to thank my wife, Martha Anderson, for being so supportive and helpful to me throughout my 12 months as OCBA president. I would also like to thank Terri Ticknor Gilbert, our executive director extraordinaire, for all of her great counsel, hard work and creative suggestions in making the 2015-2016 bar year such a
resounding success. I would like to thank the OCBA staff for all of their great work in making this year a quality experience for me.

A special thanks needs to go out to all of the vice chairs and chairpersons of the OCBA committees. These individuals stepped up to the plate and made our committee program the envy of bar associations across the state. Without top-notch leadership in our committees, the committee structure that exists in the OCBA would lack direction and flounder. Our committee vice chairs and chairs have done an exemplary job in providing our members with a meaningful forum to discuss issues important to them, developing quality seminars and writing excellent scholarly articles for LACHES.

Furthermore, thanks goes to our Oakland County judiciary for all of its support of the OCBA activities this year. No other voluntary bar association provides more opportunities for its members to get together with its county judges than the OCBA does. One of the great values of being a member of the OCBA is the fact our bar association provides multiple opportunities in which its members and the Oakland County judiciary can meet with one another and get to know each other better.

I would like to thank my executive board and board of directors for the countless hours they have put into making this year the great success it was. The board of directors met during the fall of 2015 and charted both a short-term and a long-term strategic plan for the bar association. The emphasis of both strategic plans is to increase membership and develop a sound financial footing for the bar association in the years to come. The board of directors will prudently discharge its
responsibilities in guiding the bar association in the upcoming years.

As I told you in my August 2015 article, my presidency of the OCBA this year would be guided in part by my life experiences watching The Beatles develop and grow into the greatest rock and roll band ever. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” This was true with my Beatles-watching days and so it is with being president of the OCBA.

I thank everyone in the Oakland County Bar Association who has made the last 12 months for me as president of this stellar organization one of the truly great experiences of my life. The OCBA is the finest voluntary bar association in the state of Michigan and possibly the Midwest. With the short-term and long-term strategic planning goals that are being developed, the OCBA will continue to deliver the great value to its members that it has for decades.

The road of going from a good bar association to a great bar association isn’t easy. But our bar association and its members clearly have the ability and the resources to achieve this result. As your outgoing president, hello and goodbye for the last time and thank you for the great memories.
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*Inspired by the business management book “Good to Great,” by Jim Collins (HarperCollins Publishers, 2011).
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David Carl Anderson, of Law Office of David C. Anderson PC, is the 83rd president of the Oakland County Bar Association. Share thoughts about the OCBA or anything else with Anderson at 248-649-5502 or dcalaw08@att.net.