Sole practitioner and small firm: Bylaws
NAME AND PURPOSE
Section 1. This Section shall be known as the Sole Practitioner and Small Firm Section of the American Association for Justice (AAJ).
Section 2. The purpose of this Section is to promote the objectives of AAJ by educating the membership with respect to the practices and procedures used by sole practitioners and small offices in the practice of law, in coordination with and subject to the approval of AAJ's Board of Governors and Public Affairs Department, and to stimulate programs of continuing legal education in regard to the role of the lawyer and the staff of a sole practitioner or small law office.
This Section will provide opportunities for networking; provide information on pending cases of interest to sole practitioners; stimulate the preparation of amicus curiae briefs on behalf of AAJ on issues of importance to this Section; and coordinate activities in these fields and promote the views of this Section and AAJ with all pertinent public bodies.
Section 3. The Policies and Procedures published by AAJ for Litigation Groups and Sections as promulgated on December 19, 1990 and as duly amended by AAJ are incorporated herein by reference and the Section shall operate in full conformity with these policies and procedures.
Section 1. Every member of AAJ, including paralegals and law students, shall be eligible for membership in the Sole Practioner and Small Firm Section if they meet the definition of sole practitioner or employment in a small law office. Officers of the Section must be practicing lawyers.
Section 2. Every member of AAJ in good standing, upon making application by letter or other written communication and paying the applicable dues, may be made a member of the Sole Practioner and Small Firm Section.
Section 1. The officers of this Section shall be a Chairperson, a Chairperson-Elect, a Vice-Chairperson, a recording Secretary, and a Treasurer.
Section 2. The officers shall be nominated and elected in the manner hereinafter provided at such annual meeting of the Section to hold office for the term of one year and until their successors shall have been elected at the Section's meeting at the AAJ Annual Convention.
Section 3. No Chairperson of the Section shall succeed beyond a one-year term and shall not thereafter serve as Chairperson until at least two years have expired since his/her last one-year term as Chairperson. It is the interest of this provision that the principle of rotation shall be encouraged.
Section 4. The Chairperson shall appoint a Technology Liaison to serve as an officer of the Section.
Section 1. The Executive Committee shall consist of the officers of the Section, the immediate past-Chairperson, and one other person to be appointed by the Chair. The Chairperson of the Section shall be the Chairperson of the Executive Committee but shall only have one vote on the Executive Committee.
Section 2. The Executive Committee shall be the governing body of the Section and shall exercise general supervision and control of the affairs of the Section. The Executive Committee shall delegate to the Committees of the Section the power necessary to carry out their functions. The Executive Committee may delegate whatever additional functions it may determine to the officers of the section.
Section 3. The Executive Committee shall retain the right to authorize any expenditure of Section funds; upon prior approval of AAJ's Board of Governors, to approve any public statement to be made in the name of the Section on any subject; to create or abolish committees; to remove any officer, committee chairperson, or Section member upon a 2/3 vote of the entire membership of the Executive Committee; and to carry out such other functions as are necessary for the fair and efficient operation of the Section.
Section 4. The majority of the Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at meetings thereof. Because of distances which may be involved, the voting of the Executive Committee, other than the Annual Meeting, may be in person or by conference telephone call. Such conference telephone call votes will be recorded by the Secretary and duly entered upon the minutes, with a copy of such minutes being sent to the Executive Committee. Unless otherwise specified in these bylaws, the Executive Committee shall act upon the majority vote of the members present at a duly authorized meeting. The executive committee shall meet at least once each year prior to the annual meeting of the Section and during the Annual Convention of AAJ.
Section 1. Committees devoted to continuing issues related to the operation of the Section shall be established by the Section as needed by the Section chair.
Section 2. Membership in a committee shall be determined by the Chairperson of the Section except as otherwise provided in these bylaws. Except as otherwise provided in these bylaws, the committee membership shall elect its own officers for such terms and to perform such functions as each committee deems appropriate. However, the chairperson of the committee shall not serve for a term of more than two years consecutively and may not be reappointed chairperson of the committee until at least two years after s/he was last chairperson. This limitation shall not apply to those chairpersons who hold the chairpersonship ex officio.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Section 1. Election of officers for the Section shall be undertaken during the Annual Convention of AAJ in accordance with the AAJ Section Election Rules as directed by the Bylaws of AAJ.
Section 2. Only those members of AAJ who are in good standing and who have applied for membership in the Section sixty (60) days or more prior to the registration date of the Annual Convention of AAJ shall be eligible to vote at the Annual Meeting of this Section. There shall be no voting by proxy.
Section 3. The Chairperson of the Section shall have the power to fill vacancies among the officers by appointment, such appointee serving until the next Annual Meeting of the Section at the Annual Convention of AAJ.
The Executive Committee shall have the power to establish and set membership dues as necessary for the operation of the Section and the furtherance of its goals, subject to the approval of the AAJ Board of Governors and in accordance with the AAJ budget procedures.
DUTIES OF OFFICERS
Section 1. The Chairperson shall serve on the Executive Committee of the Section and shall be the chief executive officer of the Section during his/her term of office and shall preside at all meetings of the Section and the Executive Committee. The Chairperson shall appoint such committees as s/he deems necessary and proper to carry out the affairs of the Section.
Section 2. The Chairperson-Elect shall be responsible for the presentation of the Section program at the meetings of AAJ and at such other times and places mutually agreed upon by the Board of Governors of the Association and the Executive Committee of this section.
Section 3. The Vice-Chairperson shall be responsible for Section publications.
Section 4. The Secretary shall record and keep minutes of all Section meetings. The Secretary shall be the custodian of all books, papers, documents and other property of the Section, subject to the general supervision of the Chairperson of the Section and the Secretary of AAJ.
Section 5. The Treasurer shall keep appropriate records of the receipts of the Section and shall be responsible for such funds, together with such other funds as may come into the possession of the Section by allocation from the Board of Governors of AAJ or from any other sources. S/he shall be responsible for the depositing of such funds with such banking institution as may be designated to be the depository by the Executive Committee of this Section. S/he shall be responsible for the disbursements and records of the accounts of such funds.
Section 6. The Technology Liaison shall serve as a resource to the Section membership on all aspects of law office technology.
Section 1. These bylaws shall become effective upon approval of the Board of Governors of AAJ.
Section 2. These bylaws may be amended at the Annual Meetings of the Section, by a 2/3 vote of the members present, which amendments, however, shall take effect only upon approval by the Board of Governors of AAJ.
Section 3. All amendments must be offered to the Chairperson and Secretary of the Section in writing not less than sixty (60) days prior to the Annual Meeting of the Section and shall be circulated in printed form to those who register for the Annual Convention of AAJ at the expense of the person offering the amendment.