Dear Members of NACBA,
Together with my colleagues on the NACBA Board of Directors, I wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2017!
I am honored and privileged to assume the role of President of NACBA. I am deeply grateful to my predecessor, Ed Boltz, for his leadership and outstanding contributions to NACBA during his presidency. Ed led NACBA for the past four years through many difficult challenges, including the search for our Executive Director (Dan LaBert). For an extended period, Ed volunteered as and performed the work of both President and Executive Director, all while maintaining his own law practice. We owe him a debt of gratitude. Though his time as President may be over, his volunteer activity will continue. I have appointed Ed to serve as Co-Chair of NACBA’s Legislative Committee.
While 2016 was a challenging year, NACBA emerged stronger than it was in 2015. NACBA has addressed various technology issues to ease and encourage your engagement with the organization. From the new Communities platform to the Consumer Bankruptcy Journal to the Virtual Fall Workshop to increased Membership Benefits (professional liability insurance), the opportunities for ROI on your membership investment are abundant.
NACBA is in the process of creating additional committee opportunities. The more members who become involved, the higher the odds to impact change. Look for invitations to join various committees throughout this year. This is an area of priority for my time as President.
We had a professional and financial setback last Fall when our 2016 Workshop was cancelled due to Hurricane Matthew. The #1 priority will always be the safety of our membership. Despite the significant impact, all members were refunded their registration fees. Those who booked their cabins through NACBA also had their fees returned. Thanks to successful negotiations with Royal Caribbean, we have a credit with the cruise line for a future (2017-18) cruise workshop.
NACBA’s strength comes directly from the many contributions of our membership. Our members regularly offer their comments to our robust list serve and community platform, volunteer as presenters on webinars and seminars, and assist on briefs to the courts and communications with their federal and state representatives. We have members who dedicate a significant amount of time volunteering in many areas. This is truly an active organization with members who care deeply about our core principles: Educate, Advocate and Litigate.
2017 marks NACBA’s 25th Anniversary. In addition to an exciting convention (Silver Anniversary celebration) May 4-7, with ADVANCED Topics and more social events being planned in Orlando, Florida, this year will be extremely important for us to INCREASE our advocacy efforts with elected representatives about issues that affect our clients, including student loans, predatory lending and potential changes to the Bankruptcy Code. High priority will also be placed on identifying new and continued ways to further support the Amicus Brief efforts of NCBRC. Either via the Judicial system or the Legislative system, only an engaged membership can break through the gridlock and bring positive change on behalf of the needs of consumer debtors in bankruptcy.
I am confident that, together, we will successfully address upcoming challenges. We have a strong and dedicated Board of Directors. Our NACBA staff, including Executive Director Dan LaBert and Director of Events Rachael Hodgen, is the best in the country. Our membership includes more engaged members than any bar association – period. Together we will make 2017 our finest year.