To The Readers of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:
As of July 1, 2012, I became President of the Allegheny County Bar Association (Pittsburgh, PA). It is an honor and a privilege to lead one of the most respected organizations in the legal profession. Attorneys and leaders throughout the country know about the ACBA’s innovative programs and our commitment to the legal needs of our members and our community.
Our tag line is “Raising the bar on legal and community service,” and we chose it because it is our ongoing mission. According to an American Bar Association survey, “7 out of 10 households may need a lawyer this year and only about half of those will seek one out due to costs or not knowing where to turn.” We are committed to ensuring that in every community program we hold, in our marketing information and our publications, we provide legal information to assist the general public.
The ACBA presidents who have come before me have raised the bar high with their leadership and programs they have helped implement, so I plan to follow that lead and raise the bar even higher on programs that are critical to the success of not only our local legal community but the legal profession nationally.
We are committed to improving diversity and gender equality in our profession and are putting our money where our mouth is. Through our unique Institute for Gender Equality, as well as our divisions and committees, our diversity and gender equality director is creating CLE programs and goals for our bar association to ensure we continue to raise consciousness of the issues and effect meaningful change in the profession for women and minorities. We would love to share strategies that are working.
Our attorneys dedicate thousands of hours to pro bono services to benefit those in need. As attorneys, we feel this is part of our mission and our personal duty, and we are proud of the work we are doing.
I am among the 65 percent of our members who practice in small firms, and half of those are sole practitioners. I want to reaffirm our service to and support of those members. That includes protecting the availability of affordable and high-quality professional liability and health insurance, networking opportunities, and our newest service, online practice area listings on Pittsburghlawyerfinder.org.
The ACBA exists, first and foremost, to serve its members and provide value for their dues dollars. I want to assure that we maintain the financial stability of the organization and grow our non-dues income streams so that we can continue to keep our dues reasonable and provide outstanding services.
I have great respect for the accomplishments of this organization, not just for its long and distinguished history, but even more for what it is today and where I believe it is headed in the future. I am honored to have the privilege of serving as President, and I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Mark T. Vuono