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President's Column:
Principles important to the Board of Governors

By Bruce B. Weyhrauch

I believe that the following principles are important to the administration of the Bar Association and to working as an attorney on the Board of Governors:

  • Closer communication with all attorneys through local bar associations and a cohesive relationship among all the State's attorneys to maintain strength of representation on the Board.
  • Better recognition by the Bar of the efforts of local practitioners on Bar-related activities, sections, committees, and panels.
  • Efforts to obtain feedback from the bench and bar on Bar activities.
  • Sound management of Bar activities and administration to ensure the wise use of dues balanced against the need for the Bar to be present statewide and excel at representing the entire Bar and its sections.
  • A cohesive relationship between the bench and bar to promote the public's confidence in the judiciary and the legal system, and the continuation of an excellent and independent judiciary in Alaska.

Programs that the Bar Association already has, and that it should consider adopting or expanding in the future to implement these general principles, include:

  • Promotion and further development of the Bar Association's web site. Contact with judges, attorneys, and non-attorneys with mutual interests can be facilitated through use and improvement of the web site. Local Bar associations should be encouraged to develop web pages with links to the State Bar's web page.
  • An outreach program through the schools, civic organizations, and political institutions to inform the public about the judiciary, Alaska's system of judicial selection, and the critical need for an independent judiciary to maintain public confidence in our system of laws and justice.
  • The Board should insure that comments and communications from practitioners are carefully considered. Attorneys, lay persons, and judges who serve on Bar sections, committees, and panels must be appropriately recognized.
  • Our time is very valuable, both to clients needing our services and to attorneys who need their own personal time. The Board must make sure that when time is donated to the Bar, that we treat it as the valuable donation it is.
  • Attorneys in Alaska must belong to the Bar and pay dues. As a Board, we must insure the management of Bar activities, the Bar's administration is prudent, and that money we receive is used to meet the needs and requirements of the Bar.
  • The essential functions of the bar include (1) Fair and expeditious discipline, (2) Carefully considered ethical opinions, (3) Judicious and careful bar admissions, (4) Promotion of legal services for all citizens, (5) Quick and efficient responses to bench, bar, and public requests for information; and (6) High quality and timely legal education programs.

There is much to do. We will do as much as possible and hope to keep you informed as we do it.

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