Edward M. Patterson
On May 10, at the beautifully restored Florentine Building in downtown Birmingham, Alabama State Bar Executive Director Phillip McCallum welcomed 80 guests to the 14th graduation dinner and ceremony of the Alabama State Bar Leadership Forum. ASB President Augusta Dowd, assisted by President-elect Sam Irby, presented certificates and gifts to the 28 graduates of Class 14. Before dinner, Hare Wynn Newell Newton LLP of Birmingham hosted a cocktail reception. J. Wilson Nash of Birmingham gave the invocation.
Dr. Nina N. Bass of Atlanta read a tribute in memory of John W. “Bo” Landrum, former executive director of the Birmingham Bar Association. President Dowd, as guest speaker, challenged each member to take what he or she has learned by looking into their soul to their passions and then leading from the heart. Catherine C. Long and Aaron Chastin of Birmingham gave remarks on behalf of Class 14. A lot of good-natured “pomp and circumstance,” earmarked by fun and light-heartedness, accompanied the evening–one this writer will remember.
The start of the January orientation session was delayed because of a crippling snow storm that blanketed Montgomery. Ten of the class members made it to Montgomery before the snow storm and were held captive at the Renaissance Hotel as the city shut down. They dubbed themselves “the frozen chosen,” and quickly bonded before other classmates arrived the next evening. Class 14 has been thoughtful and engaging, studious and reflective, warm and outgoing. Year after year, the forum brings together men and women who differ in every way, yet have a common desire to grow and change through new learning, application and experience. We balance a demanding curriculum with ample opportunity for social activities.
Class 14 statistics are mostly consistent with past classes. The average age for this group is 36 and admitted to practice an average of 10½ years, with 64 percent of the class being male and 36 percent female (cf: Class 13 was two-thirds female and one-third male). A total of 89...