In a hallway off the lobby of the new courthouse in Hillsboro hangs a frame featuring dozens of smiling faces on members of the Montgomery County Bar Association.
Many of those smiling faces have since retired from the legal profession, and if all goes to plan, a new photo will take its place by May 1–Law Day.
“We want people to know that the Montgomery County Bars Association is still here, and we’re still active,” according to President Trent West.
The local bar still has over 40 members and meets monthly–virtually on Zoom for the past year. Like West, officers in the group epitomize the youth movement in the local legal profession: Chris Sherer is the treasurer and Andrew Billington is secretary.
West said the local bar association gets along well, and members will often refer cases to one another that more precisely line up with another attorney’s expertise.
“Our association is friendly,” West said, “not nearly as contentious as other associations. It’s important to have fellowship outside of the courtroom where you might have been at each others’ throats.”
Having three current judges and several retired judges as members is also important to helping younger members, the president said.
West is also proud that the Montgomery County Bar Association has more and more female members.
“For years, the only female member was Maureen Lober,” West said of the ground-breaking attorney who celebrated 65 years in practice in 2017. “Now we have several.”
Over the past year, much of the discussion at monthly county bar association meetings has been about the ever-changing court procedures during a pandemic. West said there are state supreme court rules, circuit rules, county rules, and each judge may have his or her own rules.
“I think we do it well here,” West said of the virtual court proceedings required by the pandemic. “Holly Lemon’s office has done a great job dealing with this. The judges have also made sure that those with limited tech access still have access to court.”
Even though television is now full of commercials in which city attorneys pitch for cases, West believes clients need not look beyond the Montgomery County Bar Association.
“County-wise, we pretty much have all the bases covered,” West said of the legal expertise among members. Plus, if the case is filed in Montgomery County, “we know the system better, we know the people, we have better rates, and most of the attorneys who are here were born and raised here. We care a lot about our clients- so we go the extra mile.”