Bucks County Bar Association President Adrian L. Meyer is looking forward to lending a helping hand in 2008.
As the association kicks off its 125th year, it is setting its sights on community outreach and member services, the veteran Doylestown attorney said.
“The function of the bar association is in large part to provide legal services to those who would not otherwise be able to obtain legal counsel,” he said.
Meyer, a Temple Law School graduate who has practiced law at the same address in Doylestown since 1975, was elected in November and is the association’s 68th president. He said continuing to provide pro bono legal services will be a major focus this year.
“We need to help those who need help,” he said, adding that he will work closely with the association’s executive director, Heather Martin, to expand the scope of its services.
This year, the association will once again extend its reach to assist people in areas beyond Bucks County, such as Waveland, Miss., where a number of attorneys have traveled every year since Hurricane Katrina to offer the community more than just legal services as part of the Bucks-Mont Katrina Project. There will be one last trip in 2008, and this time the group will help build houses.
Meyer has made the trip twice since the project began, once in April 2006 and once the following year.
“The experience was very, very rewarding,” he said. “Just to be able to listen and to help, to move something from one attic to another, was rewarding. And the stories we heard from people were heart-wrenching.”
Meyer said he’s not sure if he will be able to make the trip this year, but is looking forward to focusing on helping people here at home with projects like the National Safety Council-developed Driver Improvement Program, which seeks to teach young drivers about the importance of caution on the roads.
“Hopefully it makes the roads a bit safer,” Meyer said.
According to Martin, some local police officers and judges are now mentioning the program to young people who are pulled over on the road or who face driving-related charges.
Martin said the public is also starting to take notice.
“We’ve even had some random mothers and fathers call up to put their children in the program because Pennsylvania doesn’t require driver’s education,” she said.
In the realm of internal affairs, Meyer said the goal is, as always, to attract new members to the association and to provide a place for attorneys and judges to get to know each other on a personal level.
“It’s important that they build camaraderie with each other because if issues arise that affect both bench and bar, they’ll have the ability to communicate,” he said. “They’ll have that connection and ability to discuss whatever issues there are at that moment.”
Meyer also expressed interest in continuing to increase benefits for members.
“That is always our goal,” he said, but added that it was still too early to talk about any fully developed plans of action.
According to Martin, the association’s current benefits program, which was implemented last year, is fairly basic, but it covers a considerable array of services ranging from dry cleaning to Lasik eye surgery to life and health insurance.
“Through the program, we partner with businesses and give them free advertising in exchange for benefits they cannot or do not provide their regular employees,” said Martin. “It’s ongoing and continuously growing.”
Both Martin and Meyer said the association would continue to generate revenue primarily through advertising and fundraising, with a little help from membership dues, the driving school and continuing legal education enrollment fees.
Meyer said the association planned to filter a large portion of the revenue back into the community.
“As with any group organization, there’s always a need to supplement income and revenue,” he said. “There are various things that we can utilize to generate revenue so we can fund legal aid and pro bono services, as well as our own organization.”
Meyer said his presidential term will last about a year and will most likely end in early December 2008, at which point President-elect Christopher J. Serpico will take over.