Corporate Counsel Breakfast
April 17, 2014
Starting at 7:30 AM
2000 Town Center #2800
Trailblazers Awards Dinner
June 12, 2014
1500 Town Center
2014 Golf Outing
August 11, 2014
The Inn at St. Johns
44045 Five Mile Road
Welcome and President's Message
It is an honor and privilege to lead the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association this coming bar year as its 23rd President. Our theme this year is "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants." The D. Augustus Straker Bar Association was formed October 4, 1990, as a special purpose bar association recognized by the State Bar of Michigan. It was founded as a proactive organization of diverse attorneys, with a mission of promoting legal practice opportunities for people of color and facilitating equal justice for all citizens in Oakland County. We will carry on the legacy of David Augustus Straker.
From the founding of the Straker Bar Association, as an Affiliate Chapter of the National Bar Association, we have been on a mission of reaching back and giving back as we advance in the legal profession. We continue to strive towards our primary goal of increasing diversity in the legal profession and providing legal services to underserved communities. Our twenty-three year history illustrates a consistent and dynamic organization focused on these goals. My challenge to the Board and to the membership involves four objectives: re-emphasize our roots, increase our membership, increase our fundraising capacity, and provide public service, both locally and nationally, that is true to our mission.
We will strive to expand our legal outreach in Oakland County to low-income and underserved communities. In conjunction with the Oakland County Bar Association, we look forward to more pro bono activities this year. We will also work more closely with other affinity bar groups that have similar goals and synergies.
We will aspire to increase our membership by enhancing the services and benefits to our members. Our Membership meetings will focus on current issues in the law pertinent to lawyers with both civil and criminal practices. We will also focus on the development of alternative dispute resolutions in the legal system with programming to help our membership expand their talents and attract greater clientele.
Now in its 22nd year, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Oral Advocacy Competition was initiated by the Straker Bar Association through one of its founders, A. Kay Stanfield Spinks. We are saddened that we have lost Kay this past year but her legacy will live on through the newly named, A. Kay Stanfield Spinks Law Student Scholarship. The MLK oral advocacy event is now a marquee event of the National Bar Association and has been for some time, open to National Bar Association Affiliate Chapters in 40 States and culminating with the announcement of the winner at the National Convention.
Our other main programming includes the Bar Passage Program for the February Bar and the Corporate Counsel Breakfast. The successful Bar Passage Program has been chaired by our long time board member, Stanley DeJongh. The Bar Passage Program has expanded to all the local law schools and had record participation for the February 2013 exam. We have had and hope to maintain very good results. The Corporate Counsel Breakfast will assist our members in networking with corporate counsel partners. We hope to expand the scope of the event to attract in-house counsel from an even wider market of corporations.
I look forward to the new Bar year with great anticipation and pride in our membership, as I humbly carry the torch of our past presidents and founders. It is our mission of service to others, a commitment to legal education and professional advancement that distinguish Straker programming and members.
Rasul M. Raheem