#CivilityChat with ISBA President David Sosin

david sosin

The Illinois State Bar Association / Illinois Judges Association Joint Midyear Meeting kicks off today in Rosemont. The annual event is an opportunity for Illinois lawyers and judges to consider issues of mutual interest, like achieving work-life balance and improving diversity.

We caught up with ISBA President David Sosin ahead of the meeting to get an update on his priorities halfway through his one-year term.

You’re well-known for honesty and professionalism. How have these traits served you?

It’s certainly not for any person to judge their own reputation. Certainly, the question assumes a fact not in evidence. I do believe that there’s little more important in life than your reputation for integrity and honesty. Reputations follow from the conscious effort to do the right thing. I make it a priority to address new lawyers at the induction ceremonies each year; that reputation matters and their word must be their bond.

One of your priorities as ISBA president is law-firm succession planning. Why is this important?

Succession planning has been a priority of the last three presidents of the bar. National surveys indicate that more than two-thirds of solo lawyers have no succession plan. The clear issue is the protection of the public. The less-pressing issue to those lawyers appears to be the protection of their families and assets.

You’re exploring options for an Association Health Plan. How would ISBA-sponsored health insurance benefit attorneys?

Health care is no less or more of an issue to lawyers and their employees than to any other small and medium-sized business. Group insurance was a great benefit to small firms in the 1970s, and it disappeared with government regulation thereafter. Newer opportunities have been acknowledged to be the most important new benefit to ISBA members in memory. The key is substantial participation by our member firms. With such participation, the prospects of quality and affordable insurance are enhanced. Stay tuned.

The number of attorneys practicing in rural Illinois is falling. How can the profession address this access to justice gap?

Rural representation in the country is a crisis. Student debt, young lawyers’ lifestyles and the aging and lack of rural lawyer succession planning all contribute to this crisis. The ISBA is pursuing a vastly expanded training program of Limited Scope Participation to provide enhanced access to legal services and affordable opportunities for otherwise pro se litigants and unrepresented legal consumers.

You’ve traveled across Illinois as ISBA president. What have you found most inspiring?

Traveling all over the state has been the most rewarding experience of my legal career. I’ve learned that the vast majority of lawyers are caring and committed to their clients. Whether a candidate for office, an officer or a president, both Janet and I have been treated with hospitality throughout the state. Simply put, I love being a lawyer and I love lawyers.

David Sosin is a founding member and partner at Sosin, Arnold & Schoenbeck Ltd. He currently serves as president of the Illinois State Bar Association.


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