Governance & Membership

September 2019 President's Message

Good Things Happen at Annual Meeting

By Charles W. Chesnut

It was November 1983. The OBA Annual Meeting was being held at Shangri-La on Grand Lake. Ben Owens of Miami was president of the OBA. It was Wednesday night and the President’s Reception was in full swing in the ballroom. A young lawyer then, I was active in the Young Lawyers Division. My buddies and I were standing around talking shop when I looked up and a beautiful girl was walking across the ballroom floor toward us. She came up to me and introduced herself. We had met a year or so before and she wondered if I recalled the meeting. For once in my life, I was speechless. My YLD friend with whom I had been talking was about a foot shorter than I was. He immediately picked up on my not-so-quick reaction and announced that he was Chuck Chesnut and he remembered her. I called her the next day and asked her out. We were married three months later and are still married 35 years later.

Good things happen at annual meetings.

This year, the Annual Meeting returns to Oklahoma City. For the first time ever, it will be held at the Renaissance Convention Center Hotel. We have a number of entertaining activities in store. There are lots of reasons to come to the Annual Meeting of the Oklahoma Bar Association.

For me, the primary reason I started attending was to make contacts and see old friends. My father and I used to have a running debate about how you get ahead in life. He contended that it was who you know. I contended that it was what you know. Later in life, I resolved the issue – at least for myself. Who you know often gets your foot in the door. What you know – or more accurately, what you know and how you perform – keeps it there. In any event, the Annual Meeting is a golden opportunity to enlarge your circle of acquaintances and contacts.

Next, there is always quality continuing legal education sponsored by the OBA CLE Department or by the OBA’s various sections. Over the years, it has been a great way to keep up with the most recent developments in Oklahoma law. Great speakers, great content!

Finally, there are always lots of fun events and this year will be no different. As part of your registration, you can receive a full-day pass to Oklahoma City’s new streetcar system that serves Midtown, Downtown and Bricktown – good for Wednesday with unlimited rides. Use it during the day to take in the sights, visit one of the many museums or see the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Then, after the President’s Reception on Wednesday evening, use it to participate in a pub crawl in Midtown. What an opportunity to hang out with friends and colleagues! You don’t have to do the pubs; you can just ride, visit and people watch – that’s always entertaining.

The Annual Meeting is an opportunity to support your bar association, renew old acquaintances and make new ones, get educated on the latest developments in Oklahoma law, hear great speakers and – this year – to sightsee Downtown, Midtown and Bricktown from the comfort of Oklahoma City’s new streetcar. It’s going to be fun. Please make plans to attend. You won’t regret it!

On a different note, many of you are aware that the members of Supreme Court of Oklahoma, the Board of Governors and the executive director of the OBA have been named individually as defendants in their representative capacity in a lawsuit filed in federal court in the Western District of Oklahoma by one of our members. I think many are curious as to the details of the lawsuit and its current status. I know this comes as no surprise, but the defendants have been advised by counsel not to discuss the details of the lawsuit. However, if any of you are interested in knowing more about it, the pleadings are available on PACER, a service that provides online access to United States court records and documents.

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal -- OBJ 90 pg. 4 (September 2019)