Governance & Membership
President's Message - February 2022
Esprit de Bar
By Jim Hicks
This year, I would like the OBA to commit to what many of us have long been committed to – esprit de bar. A feeling of pride, fellowship and common loyalty that is shared by the members of our association. When a group, whether it's a team, club, class or scout troop, gives its members a sense of cohesion and support, it has esprit de corps. If you've ever been on a sports team that had great morale and team spirit, you've experienced esprit de corps. The term is French, and it literally means "the spirit of the body," with body in this case meaning "group."
Over the years, many attorneys who have been and remain committed to working together to strengthen our legal profession have experienced esprit de bar. I look forward to working with all of you toward the continued advancement of our profession. And it is our profession and our organization. Every single Oklahoma attorney is included when I say this, although I recognize there are some members who might doubt or disagree.
At Annual Meeting, many attorneys were recognized and applauded by their colleagues for their contributions to the various projects, sections and committees of our organization. Groups recapped the year and began to plan for the future. I have been a volunteer in the organized bar for many years. At first, my involvement was negligible. But as I became more interested and believed there were places where I could make a difference, I became more involved. This is the simple version for many attorneys – there was a need, a lawyer responded to that need and as that lawyer saw more need, the volunteer time became greater. The vast majority of volunteers want to make the legal profession and bar better for lawyers, our clients, the public and Oklahoma.
I hope that any lingering negative sentiment toward our bar changes. As with any organization, there are many aspects we can improve upon or, perhaps, do differently. Recognition and identification of needed change are what enable progress and growth. We have dedicated board, committee and section members and hard-working volunteers who put their best foot forward as practitioners impacting our community. I want to create a spirit of solidarity – a sense of pride and honor among all our membership. Working together, we can identify areas of improvement and work toward solutions. I am at the helm for only one year. Perhaps this year will only be the beginning of the next great progression of the bar. But it is not just up to me. It is up to all of us. Are you in?
President Hicks practices in Tulsa.
Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal – OBJ 93 Vol 2 (February 2022).