From the President

This week, Akron was the site for the Ohio State Bar Association's District 11 meeting. Over the last year, great strides have been made to solidify the relationship between Ohio’s large metro bar associations and OSBA. Much of that effort and success is attributable to our executive director, Allen Nichols. His efforts have been instrumental in the formation of a statewide company that will educate and test future notaries and is wholly owned by the OSBA and the metro bars. 

Law Week - April 29-May 3, 2019

Don't miss the Law Day Luncheon on Wednesday and Red Mass on Friday! See below for links to register for those events.

Monday, April 29, 2019
WAKR Ray Horner Radio Show - Call-In Ask an Attorney
7:30 am - 10:30 am

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Street Law Student Summit
9 am - 1:30 pm
Oriana House Training Center

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Monthly Meeting for Legally Breakfast
7-8:30 am
Akron Family Restaurant

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Greystone Hall

The luncheon will include the presentation of these awards and recognitions:
  • Liberty Bell Award: Judge Thomas Teodosio
  • Public Service Award: James Lawrence, President/CEO of Oriana House
  • United Way Wendell Willkie Award: Roetzel & Andress
  • Community Legal Aid Volunteer of the Year: Billie Copeland-King
  • Diversity Award: The Well Akron Community Development Corp.

We will also recognize our new 50- and 60-year members, and all other 50+ year members in attendance.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Ask-An-Attorney Community Event
3 pm - 6 pm
Akron-Summit County Library - Main Library

Friday, May 3, 2019
Noon - 1 pm
St. Bernard’s Catholic Church
Join us in celebrating this year's Sir Thomas More Award recipient Jeffrey T. Heintz.

Wednesday, May 8
11:30 am - 1 pm
Rosemont Country Club

Wednesday, May 15
5 pm
The Tangier

Friday & Saturday, May 17 & 18

We're on the Strip again this year! (Bally's Hotel & Casino)

Seminar Moderator & Program Planner Extraordinaire: Richard L. Williger, Esq., Brennan Manna Diamond LLC. (Who says, as he has any number of times in the past, that this is the honest-to-goodness LAST Vegas seminar.)


Don't forget that we also offer online CLE 24/7/365! Click here to view the catalog and to register.
Announcing the Newly-Updated Member Office Computer and Software

While we do have some members who make regular use of the Member Office at the Akron Bar, perhaps this is a benefit that many of you didn't realize is available. The Member Office is a great place to meet clients, a quiet place away from your workplace, and a place to set up a temporary base camp within easy distance to the courts.

This week, we had the computer in the Member Office completely overhauled and updated. Installed software includes Best Case Bankruptcy; FinPlan Divorce Planner; Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; Adobe Acrobat; and Workshare. We thank the Law Library Committee of the Akron Bar Foundation for purchasing the specialized legal software.

The Member Office is available by reservation. Please call the Akron Bar at 330.253.5007 to schedule your time.
New Ohio Law Allows Remote Online Notarization

There are a lot of bells, whistles, and nuances involved in the new Ohio law that overhauls the way in which people become notaries public. Part of that new law includes the ability to notarize remotely. Attorneys at Thompson Hine have provided a thorough summary of the new law that seeks to clear up any confusion or concern about the coming changes. 

From Community Legal Aid

Steven McGarrity, Esq.
Executive Director
Community Legal Aid

In the trenches: Leading with empathy

Last month, I had this crazy idea.

It all started last year, when a strategic planning consultant we worked with told me that our organizational structure was borderline dysfunctional.

(I’m paraphrasing. He didn’t use those words. But I can read between the lines.)

See, nonprofits tend to grow organically. They develop out of some critical gap or need in society, and they branch off as funding expands. Then, inevitably, funding constricts, then expands again - each time creating structural cracks that could rival our roads after a long Ohio winter.

Our organization is no different. We are the product of multiple mergers and years of piecemeal restructuring, because when you’re serving people with boots on the ground, who has time to think about effectiveness, anyway?

So our consultant wasn’t wrong. And he wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t already know.

But what I didn’t know was how to fix it.

So last month, while scheduling a meeting with staff members to discuss this very issue, it dawned on me: how was I, years removed from handling cases or screening client calls, supposed to determine the best way for us to structure those activities? (Hint: I couldn’t.)

I didn’t have perspective. I didn’t understand the complexities each of our team members dealt with on a daily basis. I couldn’t relate to what they did for 8 or 9 hours every day.

That’s when I decided I was going to spend the next month “in the trenches.”

I took a dive into the front-line services our team provides the community: I spent a day taking calls on our HelpLine and screening clients; I stood in front of a crowded room of addicts in various stages of recovery and answered their legal questions; I sat with veterans at an outreach center and helped them fill out their legal paperwork; I spent a Saturday alongside our volunteers, offering free legal advice to anyone who walked in the door; I accompanied staff members on house calls to clients; and I listened in on calls our attorneys made to clients waiting on a triage list for domestic violence help.

It was a crash-course in all things Legal Aid - and I mean that literally. More than once, I had to call on my team members to bail me out on any number of activities.

I learned a lot. But my biggest take-away was this: Nothing that we do means anything without empathy.

It’s in the voice of our intake paralegal as she gently tells a caller we aren’t able to assist them.

It’s in the humble step our staff make by removing their shoes upon entering a client’s home.

It’s in the detailed instructions and reassurance our family law attorney gives to a domestic violence victim over the phone just hours before going to court to face their abuser in order to get a protection order against them.

It’s in the eye contact and diligent attention a volunteer attorney gives to a complete stranger who needs help getting utilities turned back on.

Empathy is pervasive in all we do as an organization, because without empathy, you can’t really help someone. How can you provide legal advice or hope to make an impact in someone’s life if you aren’t willing to put yourself in their situation and see the world from their eyes?

We’re just now starting to talk about what structural changes we need to make to be an effective organization. I’m not sure what it’s all going to look like in the end, but I do know this: it will be intentional, it will be what our staff needs to feel like they can do their jobs, and it will be designed from a place of empathy - for our clients and for each other.
Scanlon/Bell Inn of Court Accepting Applications for 2019-2020 Term

The Charles F. Scanlon and Judge Samuel H. Bell Inn of Court is accepting applications for membership for the 2019-2020 term, which begins in September 2019. The Inn, which was founded over 30 years ago by leading members of the Bar, including Federal District Judge Sam Bell, in collaboration with the Akron Bar Association and the University of Akron School of Law, provides members of the judiciary and bar an opportunity to learn from one another, both through CLE presentations and by sharing dinner in a relaxed atmosphere. 

Practice Builders

Freelance Attorneys Benefit From Growing Demand

Could this be the answer to life/work balance? Sure, you'd have to manage your home office and maybe be your own support staff, but think of the benefits including choosing your assignments. This article from the ABA Journal April issue explores how freelancing could be just the right fit for attorneys, while also improving efficiency at the firms that hire them. 

Don't Forget the "Clothing for Indigent Defendants" Service
The Akron Bar, in partnership with Goodwill Industries, has completed the protocols and procedures for giving defense counsel access to courtroom-suitable clothing for their indigent clients. Click here for the procedure to obtain clothing....

Thanks to all who have been cleaning out their closets and contributing to the "Fill the Closet" Drive! We're almost ready to send another van full of clothing to Goodwill. Please donate today!
Akron Bar Association
57 South Broadway, Akron, OH 44308
Phone: (330) 253-5007
Fax: (330) 253-2140