Traps for the Unwary: ABA Bar Leadership Institute 2014


I have the honor of presenting the workshop “Traps for the Unwary” at the American Bar Association Bar Leadership Institute in Chicago on March 13:

Leaders of bar associations need to be particularly attentive to risks related to the governance and operations of their organizations and how to identify and mitigate such risks. This program will explore some of the most common and noteworthy risks, including those related to board oversight, delegation of authority, conflicts of interest, contracts, employees, social media and fraud. Sound policies and plans and heightened attention to risk management will allow bar associations to better advance their missions, and bar leaders to better fulfill their roles.

Some issues I’ll address with bar association leaders:

  • How do you and your board establish the tone at the top?
  • Are you delegating responsibilities and authority with due care and oversight?
  • Do you have, implement and enforce policies regarding signing contracts and checks?
  • How do you mitigate risks of employee-related liability?
  • Are you aware of the risks of fraud and your organization’s weaknesses in preventing fraud?
  • Do your policies regarding social media use reflect thoughtfulness and care in utilizing this powerful and increasingly important vehicle?
  • Did you know you could have antitrust risks related to price-fixing or boycotting?
  • What’s UBIT and why is that important?
  • How much overlap can we have between our 501(c)(6) bar association and 501(c)(3) affiliated foundation?

My presentation materials are available online on the ABA website here.