ACBA Leadership: The perfect New Year’s resolution

December 31, 2021

President’s Message By Joseph R. Williams

We survived 2021! As we embark on 2022, many of us will contemplate our resolution for how to be better in the year ahead. Diets and exercise. Learning a new hobby or resuming an old one. Working more or working less. These are all common resolutions. This year, however, is the perfect year to make your resolution becoming a leader in the ACBA.

Article 6 of the ACBA By-Laws governs our Association’s process for nominations and elections. As President, I have the responsibility of forming a Nominating Committee, which has the task of evaluating applicants for bar-wide leadership positions to establish a proposed slate for the upcoming election cycle. At the November 16, 2021 Board of Governors meeting, I presented my proposed 2022 Nominating Committee to the Board, which was approved by resolution. This year’s Committee consists of 25 members of the ACBA. They included representatives from all three Divisions, as well as leaders of various Sections and Committees. There are young lawyers and seasoned lawyers. Backgrounds include private-practice attorneys, in-house counsel, public interest, government workers and members of the judiciary. Some members have previously served on the Nominating Committee, but for many it will be their first tenure.

The 2022 Nominating Committee will be chaired by ACBA President-elect Erica Laughlin. Under Erica’s leadership, the Committee will hold an orientation on January 7, 2022. Thereafter, you come into play. Anyone desiring to run for a leadership position must submit a resume and completed ACBA Nomination Application Form, which can be downloaded from or obtained by contacting Executive Director David Blaner at 412-402-6601 or The Nomination Application Form and resume must be received by 4 p.m. Wednesday, February 9, 2022. Once all applications have been received, the Nominating Committee will convene over a series of weekly meetings to evaluate applicants and form the slate. Individuals seeking an officer position will be interviewed by the Committee.

So where can you serve? There are opportunities available to members looking for various types of commitments, with several terms scheduled to commence with the new bar year on July 1, 2022. This year’s vacancies include the following:

President-elect. The future leader of our Association who will be writing this very column during the 2023-2024 bar year. In order to seek this position, you must be a current or former member of the Board of Governors of the Bar Association. One seat is available for a one-year term, with the individual automatically ascending to the position of President and, subsequently, Immediate Past-President.

Treasurer. The one who keeps us within budget and leads our Finance Committee. To seek the office of Treasurer, you must have served as a member of the Audit or Finance Committee for at least the year prior to taking office. One seat is available for a two-year term.

Governor. A seat at the Board table where all executive and critical decisions are made regarding the Association. A candidate should have a history of active participation in one or more of the ACBA Committees, Divisions or Sections of the ACBA. Five seats are available for three-year terms.

Judiciary Committee. A voice in the room where candidates for judicial office are rated, one of the most important endeavors of the ACBA. This election will be the second year of a three-year evolution to the new Judiciary Committee structure that will ultimately consist of 33 members representing various practice areas and diversity amongst our membership. Specifically, there are two at-large seats available, three diversity seats available, one YLD seat and one each for the following practice areas: appellate, civil, criminal, family, and probate and trust.

Applicants can submit for more than one position for consideration by the Nominating Committee and will be asked to prioritize their order of preference.

It’s an exciting time for the ACBA and our local legal community. The bar association is completing its strategic plan to identify goals for the ACBA in the years ahead. Our next round of Officers and Governors will have the opportunity to oversee the implementation of some new models that will enhance the organization’s success. Additionally, we just witnessed history with the election of ten new judges to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, bringing more diversity to our bench. With another busy judicial election race anticipated in 2023, members of the Judiciary Committee will have the privilege – and responsibility – of the process that continues to shape our courts.

In addition to the bar-wide elections, the three Divisions and our many Sections will be conducting nominations and elections for their own officer and council positions.

Have I convinced you yet? If I have at least piqued your interest, feel free to contact me, or President-elect Erica Laughlin, at any time to discuss these leadership vacancies in more detail and how you can best serve the ACBA. Happy New Year!