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Staff News Update

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ABA Staff News Update is produced by the Division for Media Relations and Communication Services.  It is issued monthly to all staff members of the American Bar Association. Questions and suggestions are welcome and should be addressed to newsupdate@staff.abanet.org

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From the


Update on

Staff NEWS

Jack Rives joins ABA
as executive director

Jack L. Rives, formerly the judge advocate general, United States Air Force, joined the ABA as its new executive director on Law Day, May 1.

Everyone has praised our excellent and dedicated staff, and I look forward to learning from you and working together on the important issues we face,” said Rives in an e-mail to the association staff. “Together, we will fulfill the ABA’s mission and goals and further the core values of the legal profession.”

With budget and membership challenges to tackle, ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm shared her confidence in Rives’ leadership. In making the announcement of Rives’ new post, Lamm said, “We determined that Jack Rives’ exemplary service as the judge advocate general of the Air Force—including his experience leading a global organization of legal professionals and advocating for effective, ethical solutions to issues of national and international importance—made him the perfect individual to lead the ABA to increase membership, improve member service and address the global focus of delivery of legal services.”

Rives served as senior U.S. Air Force (three star rank) attorney and was responsible for managing some 2,600 active duty, reserve and civilian lawyers. He led a reorganization of the delivery of legal services at Pentagon Headquarters.

As a voting member of corporate-level U.S. Air Force Council, which is responsible for 670,000 employees and an annual budget of $120 billion, Rives steered resolution of critical issues to carefully balance priorities and ensure funding for those most significant.

“Jack seems to have an exceptional talent in bringing people together; advocating for changes when necessary, and standing up for core fundamentals on which this nation was formed,” continued Lamm.

As the judge advocate general, Rives served as legal adviser to the secretary of the Air Force and all officers and agencies of the Department of the U.S. Air Force, and oversaw an annual budget of $47 million. Rives previously served as chief counsel, Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va. During this time, Rives assured the full range of legal support within the United States and overseas following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Rives earlier served as the first chief of the Air Force Executive Issues Team, working directly for the secretary of the Air Force and chief of staff, on critical communications issues.

Rives has his Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. and Bachelor of Arts in political science, also from the University of Georgia, Athens. He is a member of the Georgia Bar Association and served on Board of Trustees of the Air Force Aid Society. Among his many awards and decorations are the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster and the Defense Superior Service Medal.

Rives has scheduled a series of meetings this week to give staff the opportunity to meet him. The schedule for those meetings is as follows:

Thursday, May 6
Chicago – 21st Floor Board Rooms
9:00 a.m. Staff with last names N - Z
10:00 a.m. Staff with last names H – M
11:00 a.m. Staff with last names A - G

Friday, May 7 – D.C. –
9th Floor John Marshall Room
1:00 p.m. Staff with last names K – Z
2:30 p.m. Staff with last names A – J
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Change agent, energizer and momentum builder: Amy Peebles keeps ABA on the MoVE

Quick link to the “MoVE” tab on the ABA Intranet and you’ll be introduced to Amy Peebles. Or at least you’ll see Amy Peebles’ work as the project director of MoVE (ABA’s Member Value Enhancement initiative). Her official title is director of strategy and programs, and since February, she’s been devoting a lot of her time to making sure all the moving parts of MoVE stay on track.

Amy Peebles

MoVE is an umbrella term for three simultaneous initiatives: Membership Growth, Website Redesign and Publishing Growth. “These three projects are so naturally linked, it makes sense to have collective oversight,” says Peebles, since “all of the pieces tie back to each other.” In her estimation, MoVE involves a “fundamental transformation of the organization” and by linking these three projects together, the ABA will experience a “much better outcome than if the projects were managed separately.”

Peebles’ responsibility throughout the MoVE implementation process is to look at risks, keep the timeline on track, and make certain that communication occurs among project leaders as well as to the rest of the organization in a clear and consistent manner.

In addition to her role with MoVE, Peebles works with the Financial Services Division, where her responsibilities include working on special projects within this newly reorganized and revitalized department. Specifically she works closely with new Chief Financial Officer Kathryn Shaw to provide her with context and background on the ABA.

A generalist with an in-depth background
Peebles has spent more than 17 years at the association, going from the Division for Policy Administration and Young Lawyers Division, to becoming the one of the youngest section directors, working for the Section of Antitrust Law. She later became a special projects director for the Professional Services Division, and then she was special assistant to the executive director, before working in Financial Services.

“I became a generalist very quickly,” she notes of her various experiences at ABA. Each job gave her “enough understanding of how it all worked” that she could then take a broad, association-wide view of projects affecting all or most of the organization, such as technology or business process innovation.

With an Master of Business Administration from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Peebles is grounded in finance and organizational behavior and also has expertise in project management—a definite asset as she oversees the three growth initiatives.

Her passion and energy for project management carries over to her personal life. The mom of two elementary school children, she has been knee-deep in the development of their school’s new website, formation of a parent group and organization of a spring auction fundraiser. Her “it-was-a-lot-of-work-but-it-was-a-lot-of-fun” reaction to the school activities could be applied to her passion for her ABA responsibilities, as well. “ABA is at an interesting point,” she observes from her unique perspective overseeing one of the most ambitious projects to come along in years. “The momentum and positive energy are very motivating.”
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Director Julie Strandlie on ABA Day: Getting heard on Capitol Hill

Director Julie Strandlie has been with the ABA Governmental Affairs Office for almost 13 years. She is the key coordinator of ABA Day, an annual three-day event in Washington, D.C., to lobby lawmakers on behalf of issues of interest to the legal profession. Last week hundreds of ABA members and bar association leaders came together on Capitol Hill for this year’s event.

Staff News Update recently met with Strandlie to learn more about ABA Day and her role in organizing it.

Julie Strandlie

How did you come to work on the planning committee for the big day?
I joined the ABA in March 1998, just three weeks before the second-ever ABA Day, and senior legislative counsel for the Governmental Affairs Office, Kevin Driscoll, told me “you’re in charge!” A rather daunting experience!

ABA Day has grown since then, in size and importance to the ABA and the organized bar. Our entire office works extremely hard on this event. We don’t mind because we know that we’ve made a real difference in the administration of justice.

How long of a process is it to plan ABA Day?
ABA Day is a significant part of our year-round, ongoing grassroots outreach. We’ll reconvene shortly after ABA Day to debrief, then jump right into contracts with venues for the next year. Planning for ABA Day 2011 actually began before this year’s event happened!

What are some of the major changes you have made from last year’s ABA Day?
We are always working to improve the training, organization and materials for our participants.

Two years ago, I started organizing pre-ABA Day training webinars. This year we held five of these webinars—one for our state captains who organize Hill visits, and three for all the participants, covering “how to lobby” and the substantive ABA Day issues.

We have received compliments from several outside experts on the quality of the materials and training opportunities we provide to our participants. This year, we also taped our webinars and will tape the opening session so we can continue to share these training materials with ABA entities and bars who were not able to attend in person—the lobbying doesn’t stop on the Thursday of ABA Day week. It’s just the beginning.

Tell us about the main objectives and legislative focuses of ABA Day?
The main objective is to build and maintain relationships with all Members of Congress. During ABA Day Hill visits, we try to focus on two to three issues; this year’s issues are Legal Services Corporation reauthorization and funding, the Civil Rights Tax Relief Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.

What do you want attendees to take away from the experience?
We want them to have fun while making a real difference in the lives of their fellow citizens and the justice system.

We regularly hear that the activity they enjoy most about the ABA is ABA Day in Washington. Many ABA members have attended every year since the inaugural ABA Day in 1997.

Besides your work on ABA Day, tell us about your other responsibilities.
In addition to organizing ABA Day, I lobby on certain issues including civil legal services and the perennial ABA Day grassroots issues, as well as Legal Services Corporation funding, and now, this year, the reauthorization of LSC.

For more information on ABA Day issues, visit the ABA Grassroots Advocacy Center.
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Ask Customer Care
Customer Care handles your technology needs at the ABA. E-mail your technology-related questions to
Larry Schmidt

Can I borrow a laptop for my business trip? The business center at my hotel is always so busy.
Yes—if you do not have an ABA-issued laptop and you travel on association business, you may borrow a laptop from Information Systems for your next trip. With a loaner laptop, you’ll be able to avoid that busy business center altogether. You can manage your e-mail remotely and have full use of Word, Excel and other software from the Microsoft Office Suite. To reserve a loaner laptop, contact Customer Care. We recently added several laptops to our loaner inventory that have wireless capability. You will be given the computer and everything you need to use it, including a battery charger and carrying case.

Why does my laptop boot up so slowly when I hook it up to the ABA network every morning?
You do not need to worry that something is wrong with your computer. When you take your laptop out of the office overnight, you miss the nightly computer virus scan that we run on all ABA computers connected to the network. When you bring your laptop back into the office and connect to the network, this scan begins immediately and will slow down your computer for 10-15 minutes. These scans are necessary for the protection of the ABA network. Thanks for your patience and understanding.
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New hires
Please welcome these new employees to the ABA:

Erin Wellin
Bar Services, Program Assistant
Vanessa Allmon
Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Program Associate
Tiffany Tanner
Continuing Legal Education, Administrative Assistant
Lee Boyce
Sponsored Programs, Accounting Supervisor
Jonathan Weber
Rule of Law Initiative – Europe Eurasia Council, Domestic Program Officer
David Kupferschmidt
Rule of Law Initiative – Latin American Council, Panama Director
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Transfers and Promotions

Cheryl Zalenski
Legal Services, Chief Counsel 2
Paula Cleave
Membership and Marketing, Division Director
Jeanne Gray
Public Services, Senior Director
Najia Alouane
Sponsored Programs, Senior Grant Specialist
Jennifer McQuillan
Young Lawyers Division, Associate Director
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Service anniversaries for
May 2010

Please recognize our colleagues for their many years of hard work and dedication:

Carol Rose
Criminal Justice, 30
Mary Anne Kulchawik
Design, 25
Sharron Jones
Service Center, 25
Leanne Pfautz
International Law, 20
Elizabeth Derrico
Bar Services, 15
Renee McClendon
Operations Support, 15
Monica Buckley
Publishing Administration, 10
Paul Ruppe
Database Marketing Analysis, 10
Kimley Grant
Center for Professional Responsibility, 10
Faye Dillon
Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice, 10
Jennifer Renne
Center for Children and the Law, 10
Anne Nicholas
Taxation, 5
Taliaferro White
International Law, 5
Jack Hanna
Criminal Justice, 5
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