The TBA 'Family'

We can all relate to the wonderful feeling we get when someone compliments us on a family member's accomplishment or thoughtfulness. I get that wonderful feeling all year long, thanks to the outstanding performance and fantastic attitude of our dedicated Tennessee Bar Association staff members. Their work on behalf of your bar association is critical to our mission and to our success.  

As TBA president, I frequently ask lawyers if they are members of the TBA and non-members ask me why they should join the TBA.   I can and do deliver a speech about:

  • improving the legal profession and administration of justice
  • professional development
  • advancing the rule of law
  • substantive work in many areas of the law through Section, Committee, Task Force and Commission opportunities
  • scholarly publications
  • pro bono commitments and opportunities
  • access to justice initiatives
  • use of our wonderful Bar Center
  • three hours of free CLE
  • free unlimited legal research with Fastcase
  • TBALink, TBAToday, TBAConnect, TennBarU, TBA JobLink
  • networking, and
  • great marketplace discounts (FedEx, Office Depot, First Tennessee, CompuPay, GEICO, i365 and personalized insurance advice through Member Insurance Solutions).

There are many reasons why lawyers and law students should join the TBA.   But one of the primary reasons in my opinion is the quality of TBA member benefits and the superb delivery of those member benefits by our TBA staff, who are there to assist our great volunteers. In fact, the TBA staff members represent a huge member benefit.  You do not have to take my word for it " just read some of the testimonials TBA members take the time to send me.

  • CLE:  "TBA's Mid-Winter CLE Blast is an unusually valuable component of the Association's exceptional TennBarU CLE program.  The TBA Bar Center is a comfortable and hospitable venue, and the staff is unsurpassed in its professionalism, dedication and commitment to TBA members and guests."  (CLE Staff:   Therese Byrne, Mindy Thomas-Fulks, Britt Simonson, Kaisha Bond, Angie Bianchi and April Schmitz.)
  • SECTIONS AND COMMITTEES:   "I have been handling personal injury and criminal cases for about 40 years. For some reason, and I do not know why, I never joined any of the Sections, but last year I decided to do so, joining two sections.  I called the TBA and I told (her that) dealing with her and getting the information from these two sections was like finding a gold mine and I was very serious when I said that ... I just want you to know what an asset she is to the TBA and what a good person you have running these committees and sections.   It seems like she goes out of her way to accommodate the members, or she certainly has me...". (Programs/Committees and Sections/Access to Justice/YLD/Teen Court Staff:  Lynn Pointer, Christy Gibson, Anjanette Eash, Stacey Shrader, Alexanderia Honeycutt and Sarah Hayman.)
  • TENNESSEE BAR JOURNAL:   "I was interested in your article in TBJ ("An Odd Combination," September 2009)...It is hard to reason with many people about the death penalty.   They want simple and easy solutions to complex problems... I enjoyed your insights."   (Publications Staff:   Barry Kolar, Suzanne Craig Robertson and Landry Butler.)
  • INSURANCE:  "One thing that impressed me more than anything else was the fact that Insurance Solutions realized that time is a valuable commodity for lawyers, and they were very respectful of mine.   They also did not try to sell me something that I didn't need." (Membership Staff:  Colleen O'Connell and Graham Swafford III of Capital Financial Group.)
  • TBATODAY:  "TBAToday is a really terrific service.  No matter how busy I am, I read the headlines and selected articles from TBAToday every day.  In fact, this is the only thing other than the daily newspaper that I read every day.  Your staff does a superb job of selecting the statewide news of interest to lawyers, and keeps our membership plugged in.  Thanks to you and your staff for providing this invaluable service to the members of our Bar." (TBAToday Staff: Barry Kolar, Suzanne Craig Robertson and Stacey Shrader, also media relations coordinator.)
  • PAYROLL SERVICES:   "I use the PowerPayroll service from CompuPay.  This online feature is quick, convenient, and user friendly.   After completing payroll, I usually have our reports and payroll advices delivered to our office within a couple of hours. Their support staff is friendly, professional and attentive." (Membership Staff:  Colleen O'Connell and Pam Johnson, financial administrator.)
  • TBA LEADERSHIP LAW:   "What an awesome Opening Retreat!  Thank you for all of your time and effort to make TBALL such a valuable experience for me." (TBALL Director:  Monica Mackie and Barry Kolar, TBA assistant executive director.)
  • AWARDS: This comment is from me. Our staff members and our bar association are repeat winners of state and national awards from the National Association of Bar Association Executives (NABE), Tennessee Society for Associations Executives (TSAE) and the ABA. TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur and I will soon accept a 2010 Grassroots Advocacy Award that is being awarded to the TBA by ABA President Carolyn Lamm at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. during ABA Day on April 21. This national award recognizes the TBA's long history of successful grassroots advocacy on behalf of our members and the citizens of our state. Our executive director and the members of our Governmental Affairs Committee are very effective and respected advocates year in and year out both statewide and nationally.

Allan Ramsaur, members of the TBA Board of Governors, House of Delegates and our Tennessee Legal Community Foundation (TLCF) trustees will also be the first to tell you how much we rely on the help of his wonderful administrative assistant Jenny Jones and our knowledgeable and gracious receptionist Sharon Ballinger to answer all of our questions and take care of visitors to our Bar Center.

So when non-members ask me why they should join the TBA I always tell them about all of the above, but particularly the great member benefit of having these talented, professional, polite, positive, dedicated staff members there to work for them because they are a very important resource for the TBA.  Keeping that positive attitude is a tribute to Assistant Executive Director Barry Kolar who leads with sensitivity, good humor and great example. To see them and read more about what they do for us, just go to http://www.tba.org/staff-directory.  The TBA staff members are an important part of our TBA family — please join me in thanking them for their great work.