My sisters and brothers of the IATL,
When Carol Ann and I were afforded the privilege of becoming the First Lady and President of the Academy in Austin, it was – and will always remain – one of the greatest honors we have ever received. Thank you for the confidence that you have placed in me. I am encouraged and inspired by all that is to come.
The year ahead is full of great opportunities for you and your family to experience the Academy in some great places: The Mid-Year Meeting in Colorado Springs, CO at The Broadmoor, July 18 – 22, 2018, the International Meeting Danube Cruise, September 22 – 30, 2018, the Annual Meeting in London at The Dorchester, April 10 – 14, 2019, and the Mid-Year Meeting in Whitefish, MT, July 24-28, 2019. We look forward to sharing these experiences with each of you. Mid-Year Meeting registration will be available online at the end of next week but please reach out to our Academy staff if you need additional assistance. New Fellows, jump in and make the most of these travel experiences. I think you’ll find, as so many of us have, that you’ll make some of the best friends you can imagine through the Academy.
When you read the history of this organization, you see common threads that run from its creation in 1954 through today. Character, integrity, professionalism, and excellence, woven together, form the very fabric of this Academy.
In my remarks in Austin, I mentioned the challenges we face as a profession and an Academy, and the criticisms we must necessarily confront as we address those challenges. One only needs to refer to Aaron Podhurst’s 1987 Dean’s Address to find sage guidance on dealing with criticism:
“Criticism to the legal system is like fuel to the engine, milk to the newborn baby, and sunshine to the budding rose petal. We, as trial lawyers, cannot shy away from criticism; nor can we afford to ignore the winds of change.”
As a body, we must turn towards the winds of change. Working together, this Academy can handle any and all challenges it faces.
Our Academy and its members are wildly fortunate. We are fortunate the Academy selected a great Executive Committee. I am honored to serve as your President this year alongside President-Elect Cliff Edwards, Vice-President Roman Silberfeld, Dean Paul Sreenan, Secretary-Treasurer Karen Burgess, and Secretary of International Relations Howard Scher. They will be serving along with Admissions Chair Kathleen Flynn Peterson, State, Country and Province Committee Chair Bobby Jones, Budget and Finance Committee Chair Sandy Dibble, and Past Presidents Richard Burbidge and Joseph Matthews.
We are fortunate to have a Board of Directors that is committed to the Academy’s goals and purposes.
We are fortunate to have the finest Executive Director and Executive Office team to support and lead our efforts.
We are fortunate to have undertaken unselfish international initiatives in Ireland and Africa that will advance the Rule of Law throughout the world.
We are fortunate to be taking on human trafficking with the Human Trafficking Coalition and the youth restorative justice initiative to keep kids in school, out of the justice system, and on track for success. These will truly serve those with the least opportunities but who deserve the most opportunities.
What I hope you will do in appreciation for your great fortune to be a Fellow in the Academy is to nominate others to be considered for membership by the Admissions Committee. You know only too well what we seek in our members - character, integrity, professionalism, and excellence. Perhaps the most important way you can contribute to the continued well-being of our Academy is to sponsor qualified individuals for membership.
Thank you for the honor and privilege of service. We look forward to the year ahead.
J. Mark White, President
Carol Ann Hobby, First Lady