Friday began nice and early at 8:30 a.m. There was a panel on the Arkansas Supreme Court Historical Society. Justice Brown and Nick Patton were panelists on that program, as well as Prof. L. Scott Stafford of UALR Bowen School of Law. It was a very interesting program. Nick Patton spoke about the life and work of Dean Leflar, so I was very glad that I was able to attend that panel.

From 8:30-10:30 a.m. there was a concurrent panel on pro bono service, so once the historical panel was over at 9:30 a.m., I scooted up to the pro bono program put on by Justice Annabelle Clinton Imber and Dean Chuck Goldner. I want to tell you all about that a little bit because it was really interesting. One of the things we learned is the extensive work that Legal Services has done on its webpage to enable attorneys to be able to easily and efficiently perform pro bono service. If you sign up as a volunteer attorney with Legal Services, you will be given a password. Using that password, you can log in to the website and see what kind of cases are there that need attorneys. The program also has every type of form, paperwork, pleading, and draft letter you might need. It walks you through all the information you need to ask of the client and then plugs that information into the forms for you. It was such an exciting thing to see because there is so much information available. And lawyers who are experienced in the particular substantive areas (i.e., domestic practice, landlord/tenant) have walked through all the forms to make sure that they are accurate and that they provide the most assistance as possible to someone like me who might be coming to a matter without much experience in that area. I was so impressed by that work and their Webmaster is such an amazing young man who is a graduate of the Bowen Law School and is doing that work full-time. I hope to one day be able to volunteer in that way and give my services. Of course, now you know that would mean passing the bar, but at this point that doesn’t seem like a deterrent. That seems like a wonderful way to spend the years post law teaching, giving back to the community in a much-needed capacity. That was a wonderful program and it’s always good to see Dean Goldner and Justice Imber.

From 12:30-1:30 p.m. we had our Law Alumni Society Board meeting and that was a wonderful meeting as well. For lunch, we had very good club sandwiches on croissants with potato salad and cole slaw and potato chips as an option and iced tea. The 2007-08 Law Alumni Society Board of Directors are Kala Rogers Dean (Chair), William C. Adair, Jr., Earnest E. Brown, Jr., Gregory B. Graham, Don M.

Schnipper, Kathy W. Searcy, Deborah Gilbreth Segers, James A. Simpson, James William Smith, John F. Stroud, Jr., Dan C. Young, and D. Malcolm McNair, Jr. Angela Monts from the University of Arkansas Alumni Association attended as well to give our board members an overview of how the Alumni Societies are being restructured. We shared with them about how we will be restructuring the board, the new committees we will be establishing and what we envision that those committees might help us with in terms of developing our alumni program. We proposed adding four committees to our Awards and Memberships committees that board members and other engaged alumni can serve on: Scholarship, Events, Mentoring/Recruiting, and Board Development. The Scholarship committee would identify areas in which our students have needs, especially financial needs, and attempt to meet those needs through the creation of scholarship programs. This would include identifying and cultivating potential donors. The Events Committee would help envision and plan events that would bring law school alumni together throughout our state and across the nation. The Recruiting/Mentoring Committee would help identify students who would make outstanding law students, organize alumni efforts to recruit these students to the law school, and ensure that these students are mentored and supported from Orientation through Commencement. And, finally, the Board Development Committee would decide when and where the board meets. In addition, the Committee would identify alumni leaders who would make excellent new board members and help develop a program for training new members. It was a great meeting.

After the meeting with the Alumni Society, I went to a program entitled “You Gonna Order Me to Mediate?” which was a panel with a number of judges and lawyers, both defense and plaintiff’s lawyers, sharing their experiences with the audience regarding mediation. The judges talked about when they thought mediation was appropriate and when or whether they would actually order mediation or merely suggest it. That was a lively discussion as you might imagine, given the variety or viewpoints on that issue.

That afternoon was our reception sponsored by the U of A Law School, the UALR Bowen School of Law, and the Arkansas Bar Association and it was held in the lobby of the Arlington. It is a wonderful event.It was a well-attended reception and it was great to see a lot of our alums there. Again, it’s a wonderful opportunity. It was bittersweet because of course it was the last time to co-host with Dean Goldner, but Acting Dean DiPippa was there and it was fun to host with him this year as well. The PLUS program students from the Bowen School of Law were there as well. These are young people who are undergraduates interested in attending law school and who come from very diverse backgrounds. It was fun to chat and visit with them.

After the reception and seeing and meeting and greeting our alums as well as many members of the bar, it was time to head over to the President’s Dinner, which I was delighted to be able to attend at the invitation of outgoing President of the Arkansas Bar Association, Rick Ramsay. The dinner was held in the Mountain Valley Water building, which is a beautiful old building that has been restored. The appetizer was colossal shrimp cocktail with wasabi cocktail sauce, followed by a main course of pecan and goats cheese crusted beef fillet on pesto mashed potatoes with Cabernet sauce and baby vegetables. And for dessert there was vanilla bean crème brulee, bittersweet chocolate orange cake, and coconut tuille cookie with grand marnier soaked strawberries.

At the President’s dinner, outgoing President Ramsay recognized many of the officers of the bar, including incoming President Rosalind Mouser as well as President-Elect Donna Pettus. It was a delightful dinner and a wonderful way to end the day. Afterwards, there was a little bit of dancing back at the Arlington Hotel featuring Donna Massey & The Blue Eyed Soul. It was then time to get some rest to head back to Fayetteville.