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President's Message

Generosity Deserves an Award

By Linda S. Thomas

I love being a lawyer. I’ve said this every chance I get this year. It’s true, and the OBA Annual Meeting reinforced my love for the profession and my fellow lawyers. If you were there, you know what I mean, and if you weren’t, you missed a great event. 

Reflecting on this year’s Annual Meeting, the word “generosity” comes to my mind. One definition of generosity is “the willingness to give others something of value in portions greater than is necessary.” Generosity goes beyond giving money or material goods to something much more meaningful. I prefer to think of generosity as “continuous acts of selflessness.” I’ve been so fortunate to work with remarkably generous leaders who selflessly give their time and expertise to the OBA. They’re models of inspiration, and while I’d like to share with you the thousands of acts of generosity shown by lawyers from all over the state, there are simply not enough pages in the bar journal. 

 Each year at Annual Meeting, the OBA president has the privilege of giving President’s Awards to a selected few. This year my President’s Awards went to six lawyers who fit my definition of generous leaders and selfless servants. 

Jennifer Castillo is not only the best vice president I could ask for, she was instrumental in the success of the Annual Meeting. Early this year, she volunteered to take on this task, and her classiness touched almost every aspect of the meeting. Her creative style turned the Thursday night reception into a magical evening at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, where we honored OBA section and committee leaders and our 50-, 60- and 70-year members.

Mack Martin did not hesitate to say “yes” when asked to chair the Task Force on Standards for Defense of Capital Punishment Cases. He and 10 other superstar lawyers devoted their time and expertise, studying all the related issues resulting in the passage of a resolution by the House of Delegates to send the recommendations to the Rules of Professional Conduct Committee for further consideration.   
Angela Ailles Bahm took over as chair of the Legislative Monitoring Committee after many years of dedicated service from Duchess Bartmess. Among other significant things, Angela created a new outreach to state legislators to aid in research on bills and other important matters, plus had the biggest turnout for Legislative Reading Day in known history.

Susan Damron, director of Educational Programs, is a master at putting on the Leadership Academy. Because of Susan’s expertise and commitment, the academy is developing future OBA leaders by giving 23 elite attorneys training in the core principles of effective leadership.

Jim Calloway, a familiar name in tech circles all over the country, serves every member of our bar as Management Assistance Program director. He blogs, he tweets, he posts, all to assist lawyers better organize and operate the business side of practicing law. He keeps us current on the rapidly changing technology that is reshaping the processes of the traditional law office. 

John Morris Williams, OBA executive director, I couldn’t begin to tell you all he does for our association. To sum it up in just a few short words, John’s dedicated leadership and selfless service to our members is the backbone of the OBA.

Thank you to these, and so many more Oklahoma lawyers, whose generosity of spirit makes the Oklahoma Bar Association an institution that works.

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal -- OBJ 88 pg. 2204 (Nov. 18, 2017)