Midyear Meeting Highlights

In Line to Lead

Lawyer H. Thomas Wells Jr. recognizes that he’s going to have less free time than ever now that he’s officially in line to become ABA president.

But it will still be painful if he has to give up the Alabama Auburn foot ball game for the next couple of years. Wells, whose bachelor’s and law degrees are from the University of Alabama, still loyally follows the Crimson Tide’s athletic fortunes.

Wells was selected as the ABA president elect nominee by the as­sociation’s nominating committee at the midyear meeting in February. The nomination essentially guarantees that Wells known widely as “Tommy” will be confirmed as president elect by the House of Delegates when it convenes in August during the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco. He will then automatically become president at the close of the 2008 annual meeting.

Wells, a past chair of the House and the Section of Litigation, says that in the coming months he wants to meet with as many groups as possible. But he adds that he doesn’t plan to do the talking.

“I’m really serious about spending the next several months listening,” Wells said in an interview.

While still formulating ideas for his presidential priorities, Wells told the House in Miami that three words cooperation, col­laboration and part­nership will shape his approach. “It’s easy to make a dollar. It’s harder to make a difference,” Wells said. “We need to stand up together and speak out.”

When Wells does start to feel the time crunch, at least he’ll be able to commiserate with some of his partners at Maynard Cooper & Gale in Birmingham who know what he’s going through.

One of those partners is N. Lee Cooper, who was 1996-97 ABA president. Another partner, Fournier J. Gale, now serves as president of the Alabama State Bar, and a third, Anthony A. Joseph, is president of the Birmingham Bar Association.

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