Governance & Membership
President's Message - February 2024
We Want You!
By Miles Pringle
Whether or not you take advantage of everything, you get a lot out of your OBA membership. The CLE Department puts on high-quality programming. The communications team and Board of Editors create and curate high-quality publications. The practice management professionals negotiate discounted rates on great services that can help you run your law office. Just to name a few.
First and foremost, however, admission to the OBA grants the privilege of practicing law in Oklahoma. Perhaps we take it for granted from time to time, but that is an awesome and time-honored opportunity we all have worked hard to earn. It benefits us, our clients, our families and hopefully our communities and our systems of justice and governance as well.
Hard work goes into administering the practice of law. The OBA general counsel and her team investigate all matters of alleged misconduct or incapacity of any lawyer reported. The MCLE Department maintains members’ continuing legal education records. The OBA ethics counsel answers ethics questions for members and monitors the Diversion Program.
Bar associations are an integral part of the legal system in the United States. In the mid-1800s, bar associations were formed to help eradicate unprofessional attorney behavior, address local government corruption and create higher educational guidelines for lawyers. Our Oklahoma Bar Association was originally created in 1904 by the merger of the Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory bar associations.
While the OBA has talented employees to run day-to-day operations, the OBA has always needed the help of its members to effectively carry out its mission. Remember, the OBA is much more than a recordkeeping entity or a prosecutor’s office. As set out by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the OBA has many more obligations, such as maintaining the practice of law, high ideals of integrity, learning, competence and public service.
Those tasks need the participation and support of OBA members. So, I ask you, are you contributing? In exchange for your ability to practice law, are you actually working to improve the practice of law for the public interest?
I will note that this does not necessarily mean participation in OBA groups – although I hope it does to some extent. The Supreme Court was clear in its rules creating and controlling that part of the OBA’s mission is “to encourage the formation and activities of local bar associations.” This is one of the reasons the OBA Board of Governors endeavors to visit with local bar associations around the state. I also believe this includes organizations like inns of court or helping in other capacities.
The OBA does need your participation. There are so many ways to get involved. There are more than 20 committees and 30 sections. We would love to see you at an event – particularly the Annual Meeting this July 9-12 at the Embassy Suites in Norman.
Perhaps it is your time to join the Board of Governors. There are four governor positions open as well as the role of president-elect, which must be filled by a lawyer from Tulsa County. Please note that because the Annual Meeting is moved up this year, leadership nominating petitions are due earlier – Wednesday, May 8.
In sum, the OBA wants you. Your voice and your talents are being requested. Are you going to answer the call?
Miles Pringle is executive vice president and general counsel at The Bankers Bank in Oklahoma City.
Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal – OBJ 95 Vol 2 (February 2024).
Statements or opinions expressed in the Oklahoma Bar Journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Oklahoma Bar Association, its officers, Board of Governors, Board of Editors or staff.