Bar Association Officers to Be Sworn in on January 13

THE JOURNAL RECORD, December 7, 1991 | Go to article overview

Bar Association Officers to Be Sworn in on January 13


Andrew M. Coats, Oklahoma City attorney, will be sworn in as president of the Oklahoma Bar Association at 10 a.m., Friday Jan. 13.

Oklahoma Cupreme Court Chief Justice Marian P. Opala will swear in Coats, other new officers and new members of the Board of governors in the Supreme Court Courtroom in the State Capital Building, Oklahoma City.

Other new officers and board members to be sworn in include:

Bob Rabon, Hugo, president-elect, who will automatically become president of the association on Jan. 3, 1993; Ronald Main, Tulsa, vice president; R. Forney Sandlin, Muskogee, immediate past president; and Governors Mona S. Lambird, Oklahoma City; Mart Tisdal, Clinton; Robert T. Rennie, Pauls Valley; Douglas W. Sanders Jr., Poteau; and Jack L. Brown, Tulsa, who will serve as 1992 chairperson of the OBA Young Lawyers Division.

Other members of the 1992 Board of Governors include: Mark W. Dixon, Tulsa; John A. Gaberino Jr., Tulsa; J. Duke Logan, Vinita; Michael C. Mayhall, Lawton; Alan B. McPheron, Durant; T. Walter Newmaster, Ada; Patrick M. Ryan, Oklahoma City; and Richard Woolery, Sapulpa.

Outgoing OBA board members whose three year terms will be completed 31, 1991 include: Michael Burrage, Antlers, 1991 immediate past president; Donald L. Benson, Alva; David R. High, Oklahoma City; Weldon Stout, Muskogee; John M. Stuart, Duncan; and Eric S. Eissenstat, Oklahoma City, 1991 OBA Young Lawyers Division chairperson. . .

The American Bar Association's Model Guidelines for the utilization of Legal Assistant Services adopted in August is a major step towards a unified definition of legal assistants-paralegals, said Connie Kretchmer, president of the Tulsa-based National Association of Legal Assistants. The guidelines, which use the terms legal assistant and paralegal interchangeably, note that this group of legal professionals works directly under the supervision of attorneys.

"At a time when the legal community is struggling with the divisive issue of licensure of non-lawyers, establishing uniform definitions of and guidelines for the utilization of legal assistants-paralegals takes on even greater significance," said Kretchmer.

The ABA's Model Guidelines are in keeping with those set forth by the National Association of Legal Assistants in July 1984 and clearly specify that legal assistants work under the direct supervision of attorneys.

Guideline 1 begins, "A lawyer is responsible for all of the professional actions of a legal assistant performing legal assistant services at the lawyer's direction. . ." "Legal assistants are defined by both the National Association of Legal Assistants and the ABA's model guidelines as working directly under attorney supervision," said Kretchmer, "thus the licensure issue is not applicable to this group of non-lawyer professionals as it is currently defined. To use the term `independently licensed legal assistants' is an oxymoron, which unnecessarily confuses the legal community and the general public.

The ABA's intent of the model is to assist states in adopting or revising such guidelines in order to provide lawyers with a reliable basis for delegating responsibility for performing a portion of the lawyer's task to legal assistants. As set forth in the preamble, it is the ABA's view that guidelines will encourage lawyers to utilize legal assistant services more frequently and more effectively and promote the growth of the burgeoning legal assistant profession.

"These guidelines outline who legal assistants are and what they do for attorneys who supervise them. By recognizing this group as professionals assisting professionals, a unified definition of legal assistants-paralegals has clearly emerged," said Kretchmer.

The National Association of Legal Assistants, with headquarters in Tulsa, is a national, non-profit association which represents over 15,000 paralegals through individual members and 73 affiliated state and local associations. …

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