January 2012 - Inspiration & Initiatives for 2012
by Dimetria A. Jackson
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams
My earliest mentors were my parents and the Honorable Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court justice and lead attorney in Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court decision that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for African American and Caucasian children unconstitutional.
As a young child, my parents explained the significance of the Brown v. Board of Education case, extolled the accomplishments of Justice Marshall and encouraged us to get involved in our community. I recall raising funds through my entrepreneurial ventures (a.k.a. lemonade stands) to support charitable causes, donating clothing and toys, and encouraged our neighbors to do the same when a neighborhood family was displaced from their home due to a fire. As a family, we participated in marches across the Brooklyn Bridge to protest civil and racial injustices in the New York area. During election years, I volunteered to make calls on behalf of our local politicians’ campaigns. Although we did not have a lot, my mother frequently proclaimed that there were people less fortunate than us, that we were committed to help. My passion to serve, to lead and my commitment to diversity and inclusion were fostered early in life. Thurgood Marshall inspired me to be an attorney; my parents inspired me to make a difference.
During the course of my presidency, I plan to implement a few initiatives including a strategic plan for the OCBA, launching a committee to address issues that pertain to mommy lawyers and focusing on technology and social media as it relates to the OCBA and its membership.
Technology & Social Networking
Technology has undoubtedly changed how we work, live, learn, communicate, and share information. Nowadays, social media is more than a tool to help us locate and reconnect with our college friends. It has altered the way attorneys are hired and potential clients (from individuals to corporations) identify and retain lawyers to represent them. Through the use of social networking sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, blogs, and content sharing sites, lawyers may connect with colleagues, market to potential clients and demonstrate expertise in their field through the dissemination of information. According to the ABA’s 2010 Legal Technology Survey Report, 56% of the lawyers surveyed maintain a presence in an online social network. The most frequently visited social networks were LinkedIn and Facebook. When the lawyers were asked whether their firms maintained a social media presence, 17% responded affirmatively.
One priority will be to ensure that the OCBA is in the forefront of technology. The OCBA is developing and intends to launch an OCBA app (e.g., iOCBA) so that information pertaining to our bar association and its members will be readily accessible from your smart phones. This year, I look forward to connecting with members through a new OCBA President’s Page on Facebook. Hopefully, you have visited and “Like” the OCBA’s Facebook page, connected with the OCBA on LinkedIn and/or are following the OCBA on Twitter. If not, please check out the OCBA through one of these social media sites. The OCBA will also host seminars to educate its members on the benefits (and potential pitfalls) of using social media, email communications, and blogs to promote their practice and provide content that engages and informs potential clients.
While I enjoy practicing law, negotiating deals, drafting agreements, and advocating on behalf of clients, when our son came into our lives, I realized how passionate I was about being a mother. Motherhood has been more amazing than I could have ever imagined. Whenever I meet mothers, at the playground, the museum, or at local mommy functions, I invariably gravitate towards the attorney mothers in the group due to the commonality that we share. Given the effect that motherhood has had on my life, I’ve frequently wondered if other lawyer moms (and dads) were experiencing the same issues, concerns, challenges, and joys of parenting and being an attorney. This past year, I have been exploring the idea of a new OCBA committee wherein mommy (and daddy) lawyers could share their challenges and joys and network with other similarly situated attorneys and law students who may be considering if and when to start a family and how motherhood may affect their partnership track or advancement. Ashleigh Aitken, our incoming Secretary, and mother of young children, introduced me to a small group of attorney mothers who meet bi-monthly, for lunch. What a dynamic group of women! In 2012, with the assistance of the mommy lawyers and others, we endeavor to formalize the meetings. We also plan to provide MCLE panels on issues pertaining to women lawyers and plan social activities that include our children.
In 2012, the OCBA will embark upon the implementation of a strategic plan to identify the OCBA’s long-term goals (generally 3–5 years), strategies, and tactics to guide the association. We intend to retain Bob Harris, CAE, to serve as the OCBA’s strategic planning facilitator, to assist the OCBA in reaching its objectives and using metrics to measure its success. The OCBA will begin working on its strategic plan once we have solicited input from the membership.
According to the OCBA’s historians (past Presidents and staff), it has been 14 years since the last OCBA strategic plan was created. Given the advent of social media, technological updates, and economic factors, it is time to plan and set new priorities for the future of the OCBA. Hopefully, the 2012 strategic plan will be reviewed annually, updated as needed and serve as a guide for future OCBA presidents and Board members.
Additionally, in 2012, the OCBA will institute networking opportunities with the business community, local chambers of commerce and other professional organizations. We will also implement social and community service activities that foster family involvement and based upon feedback from members, offer networking mixers in South and North Orange County.
I am extremely honored to serve as the 2012 President of the Orange County Bar Association. With so much to do, I hope I’ve inspired you to get involved.
Dimetria A. Jackson is 2012 President of the Orange County Bar Association, a freelance attorney with Montage Legal Group, handling corporate transactional matters, and the Chief Executive Officer of redBAMBINA.com. She may be reached at email@example.com.