From the President

Congratulations to the Mock Trial teams from Green and Hoban High Schools who are advancing to the state mock trial tournament. Obviously, a great deal of credit goes to the students who have given up many evenings to practice and prepare for this competition, but we cannot forget the volunteer coaches, judges and court personnel, many who are members of our Akron Bar Association, who gave of themselves to make this program work. 

The Mock Trial Committee Leadership of Thomas Bown, Keith Malick and Jennifer Venables did an exceptional job. Akron Bar Association Staff also contributed a great deal of time and effort into making this a success. Special thanks to Lawyer Referral and Information Service Director, Matthew Albright who heads Mock Trial for the Akron Bar and Thomas Petropoulos. Read more....
Friday, March 29
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
The Hartville Kitchen

Hosted by the Akron Bar and Stark County Bar Associations

Registration fees include CLE, electronic materials, continental breakfast & lunch.

Register prior to 11:59pm on 3/22/19 to avoid $25 late registration fee

Yes, there will be pie - It's the Hartville Kitchen, after all!

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.
Virginia Panel Scraps Mental Health Question After Law School Student Push

Bar applicants in Virginia will no longer need to answer questions about any mental health issues thanks to a decision of the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners that took effect January 1, 2019. The move, which had been under consideration for some time, was pushed forward by input from law students from around the state. Their primary concern? That students would fail to get help for mental health issues, fearing that to do so would keep them from being accepted into the Bar.

Emoji are Showing Up in Court Cases Exponentially,
and Courts Aren’t Prepared

Unless you've been living off the grid, you are aware that we live in a time of new-age hieroglyphics that provide a work around for the tone and body language we can't hear and see when communicating with others online. We've learned that :) is happy and :( is sad, but now emoji have far surpassed the simple happy, sad, and other emoticons to the point where entire sentences can be made up of these little cartoon images.

While the intent of these hieroglyphs is clarification, do they offer clarity in court? What exactly did the defendant mean when he texted that "angry" emoji?

From Community Legal Aid

Taking the first step: Reflecting on Dr. King’s legacy

By Steven McGarrity
Executive Director
Community Legal Aid Services

As the head of a nonprofit, I hear the word diversity about as often as I breathe -- that is, constantly.

Funders, board members, staff (including myself) are always talking about the importance of diversity, how we measure it, why it’s important. And at its core, it seems pretty basic: in order to make an impact, affect change, and truly transform our clients’ lives, we must genuinely understand where they’re coming from and how they got to where they are. So we should, as an organization, mirror our client base.

But with the other part of my brain, the part that’s an American citizen and consumer, I find myself wondering...amid the challenges we face as a society, is diversity emerging as the “great divider?”

There has been so much rhetoric in the past few years about the divisions that exist among us: racial divisions, ethnic divisions, socioeconomic divisions, political divisions, gender divisions… We regularly see diversity threatened and even disgraced in the news and events of our times. Many of us have even gone so far as to start identifying ourselves by what (or whom) we’re “against.” And it seems it’s always someone who is different from us.

As humans, we find comfort in the familiar. We identify with others based on what we have in common with them. And when we look at diverse groups and cultures, there’s an element of the unknown that comes into play.

The unknown isn’t bad. But fear of the unknown - that’s what can be toxic.

Fear causes us to put up walls. It enables us to blame our shortcomings or bad luck on others. It magnifies our differences from each other and minimizes all we have in common.

It pits us against each other, and it breeds hate.

We seem so focused as a country on fearing and hating those who are different from us, those who think differently or feel differently or even look different, that we are overlooking a fundamental principle - that as Americans, our greatest commonality is our diversity.

Diversity doesn’t only bring a wealth of new ideas and perspectives. It also brings with it a rich history of challenging the status quo, improving our society by standing up for what is right, and further defining the ongoing experiment that is our democracy.

This month, as we celebrate African American history and heritage, we remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the ideals he held dear - equality, cooperation, justice. But we would do Dr. King a disservice if we didn’t acknowledge his most important premise: that we can only achieve these ideals together.

At Legal Aid, we respect diversity as a core value, and we recently called this out as part of our new strategic vision. It’s fitting, because in the legal field, we see the law as the great equalizer, the path to Dr. King’s goal of justice - for all .

We have only just started to examine our organization’s diversity, and I admit that we have a long way to go. But by recognizing its importance and defining it, we’ve at least taken the first step. And to quote Dr. King, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.”
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