The Peoria County Bar Association has been a strong and effective organization for all the many years I have been a member, but only because of the support and participation of its members. As I step into the position of President of your Association for the next 12 months, I urge each and all of you to be active in the Association.
There are many opportunities, from chairmanships of committees to regular committee members, from working on single events to working year-round on projects or committee work. And most of it takes relatively little time. We need your involvement, no matter how small or large your contribution.
The Association is about helping the members in the practice of law, through strong bench/bar relationships and incredibly good continuing legal education courses; but it is also about getting to know your fellow attorneys and working cooperatively to strengthen the justice system and the rule of law, and to help make the system fair and accessible to everyone.
A great way to help out is to sign up for some pro bono work, through Prairie State Legal Services; there is always a huge need for our assistance with that work, and in most cases it involves only a small time commitment that can be worth everything to a client without the financial ability to hire a lawyer privately. Please let Prairie State know that you would take a client or two (or more) each year, in an area of law with which you are, or can be, familiar.
Warm and sincere thanks go to our Executive Director, Stephanie Bitner, now and every day throughout this coming year, for her hard work and dedication to making the Association machine run smoothly. She is a gem, and you should all thank her as often as possible, throughout this year and beyond. Thanks also to our outgoing president, Emily Wilburn, for her leadership this past year, and to all those who have already volunteered as committee chairs, vice chairs, and section chairs, for 2022-2023.
Lastly, the Association changes and thrives because of new ideas and input from the members. Please contact Stephanie or me, or any Board member, at any time with any requests or suggestions (or complaints) you have, whether it be something relatively minor or a new and potentially major direction for us to consider. And let us know if you have questions about what you can do in the Association, or about particular committees or other positions.
I am honored to be president of the Peoria County Bar Association for this year, especially looking at the distinguished attorneys who have preceded me in this role. I will greatly appreciate your involvement in making this another successful year.
Michael A. Fleming