President’s Message: Mark Johannessen, December 2022

President’s Message: Mark Johannessen, December 2022

By Mark Johannessen

These last few years have been challenging for the bar association. I started my Presidency entering the second year of the pandemic. Under the leadership of past President Eric Nelson, we made the necessary organizational cuts to allow the association to survive financially, during the time other bar associations in the state closed their doors. This included eliminating a physical office and moving to a virtual office in the home of our former Executive Director. In October 2021 we hired, on a part-time basis, our new Executive Director Lori King, and were financially able to open the physical office downtown on Locust Street.

During my tenure as President, we continued to make the organization more efficient, including moving our data to cloud services, simplifying our accounting services, consolidating and simplifying our IT, and going paperless where we can include scanning our paper files. Even though the local economy was still struggling this year, we were able to maintain and improve member benefits including frequent virtual MCLE events and social events, as well as maintaining the Lawyer Referral Service. Exiting this year, we have a leaner more efficient organization that will help continue to lower our overhead yet still allow the organization to provide the services our members expect and want. In addition, our Executive Director will become more involved with state issues as the incoming President of the ECLA.

The bar association has a great board that all donate their time to make this organization work. Unlike many other bar associations, our board is a working board with members who work together to provide member services and which allows our Executive Director to be more effective with her time.

I had a great time as President and look forward to continuing on the board as the Past President and working with incoming President Aaron Mohamed. I would like to thank Lori and the members of the board for their ideas, contributions to the organization, and the effort they put in to keep this organization financially strong and to continue to provide benefits to our members, and their confidence in my leadership.