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Passing the ISBA Gavel

Jun 16th, 2005 | By | Category: Public Service

Passing the Gavel: Farewell Remarks of an Outgoing ISBA President
June 2005

Angela Marie Chiodo, my maternal grandmother, used to say to me, “Nicky tell me who your friends are and I will tell you what [kind of a person] you are.” Grandma Chiodo was an Italian immigrant, as was my mother Maria Concheta. My father was the youngest son of Italian immigrants. I grew up in a large Italian-American family. Needless to say, when you grow up Italian, your extended family and their friends are a large part of your life. As my successor J. C Salvo will verify, Italian sons are expected to properly represent their family at all times. The worst thing an Italian can do is to “embarrass the family.”

This year as president of The Iowa State Bar Association I again have felt as though I was a part of a large family. I hope that I have met your expectations, as well as each of you has met mine. This year our Board of Governors, committees, sections and our general membership gave generously of time and resources to further the goals of the ISBA. I wish to share with you a few examples of this year’s memorable moments.

In August, lawyers from every part of Iowa came to the State Fair in Des Moines to help staff the ISBA booth and provide useful public information. I know that those volunteering were there for reasons other than the free fair ticket and the “limited edition polo shirt.”

The Dubuque County Bar Association welcomed the ISBA Board and officers to their fabulous city, in October. We were surrounded by beautiful scenery, rich history and gracious hospitality. I am sure that everyone who attended the meeting was awe struck by the collegiality of the Dubuque County lawyers and how we were welcomed into their numbers.

In the fall and again in the spring, Iowa lawyers gave thousands of hours of their time to coach and judge the junior high, college and high school mock trial tournaments. These lawyers were not compensated for their services, unless you choose to count the joy which they received from positively influencing the public view of the legal profession. We are now admitting to practice lawyers who were first inspired to join the profession as junior high school mock trial students. This is certainly a testament to the quality of lawyers who annually participate in the program.

Hundreds of lawyers from across the state came to Des Moines to attend the December Tax School. Drawn together by the commonality of their practices, these lawyers gathered to share knowledge and discuss changes and developments in the law. Come to think of it, the same thing happened at every CLE held in the state this year. So much for the myth that lawyers are greedy, self-serving and think only of their own profit.

During the legislative session, I had the pleasure of observing Jim Carney and his excellent staff work unfalteringly as they represented the ISBA. I am proud of the work Jim does for our organization. He is well respected and personifies the attributes and qualities of the ISBA.

National news events spurred the ISBA to action. Elizabeth Kennedy stepped up to the plate and agreed to chair a special Task Force on Courtroom Security whose task is to provide quality, uniform security procedures in our courtrooms. Almost at the same time we had to call upon our Health Law Section to take action in the area of Living Wills. Section Chair Sally Reavely made ISBA history by holding a teleconference seminar with little more than 48 hours notice. Over 250 Iowa lawyers participated. She then immediately did the same for the press and media.

I could fill this entire volume of The Iowa Lawyer with anecdotal examples of the quality of the work and effort of ISBA during my term as president. Suffice to say that in all of my travels, I have never found a better bar association than the ISBA.

I owe a special debt of gratitude to three very important people whose contributions have been discrete and unnoticed. They prove the truth of the proposition that a good leader is the sum of those who support him or her… and I had the best: my wife Lylea Critelli, my son Tre Critelli and my loyal secretary for the past 33 years Mary Jo Gamble.

I wish J.C. Salvo the best as he begins his term as president. The ISBA is in good hands and J.C. will find himself surrounded by good quality people. I think that Angela Marie would be proud of me for surrounding myself with my fellow ISBA professionals. I am proud to have been called upon to represent you. I am more proud that I have the privilege of calling all of you my friends.



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