January 2001

Barry L. Lippitt, Esq.
Nat'l Chancellor

Welcome to the revised Tau Epsilon Rho Law Society web site.  We’ve devoted significant time and effort to reworking the site to reflect a more modern look and feel, and to improve the services offered to our members through the web site.  Look in on us periodically to find important information about upcoming activities and current services and programs available now.

As the newly elected and installed Chancellor, I plan to devote significant time to serving the Society, in order to expand and strengthen our membership.  For those of you unable to attend our closing dinner at the recently concluded 80th Annual Convention in Florida, following I include the remarks I made to the Society and its guests at that dinner:

Members, family, & guests:

This is a special occasion for Tau Epsilon Rho Law Society – we are observing our 80th anniversary as an organization promoting the virtues of Truth, Ethics, and Righteousness in pursuit of our profession, and recognizing the benefits of diversity in our composition.  80 years ago, our brethren created an organization that offered an opportunity to forge professional ties, enable professional advancement, and provide social opportunities for lawyers sharing a common world-view  and a common set of values.

On the eve of the new millennium, as we enter our 81st year, we face the challenge of revitalizing our national organization.  In our fast-paced and pressured society, we often do not have the time to look beyond our own fences.  While those of us who have tasted the national experience recognize and welcome the benefits of new friendships and associations with people from around the country who have common backgrounds, points of view, and interests, the vast majority of our members have no experience with or knowledge of the National Society.  At the same time, we find our core membership – our members who have participated with and benefited from a national association of Jewish lawyers – to be aging, without a comparable number of new, younger members joining to keep our numbers constant.

As Chancellor, I will focus my efforts and energies in four areas, as we begin to address these concerns.

First, we will adopt a national mission statement.

While we have discussed our goals and aspirations over the last few years, we have not taken the final step of clarifying and crystallizing our sense of identity and our place in the legal universe.  After we finalize our mission statement, we will publicize it, both to our current members and our future members, so that they will know what TER is about.

Second, we will continue our efforts to revive local chapters. 

Our primary effort will be in South Florida, where we already have many members available to provide a core group.   Last year, we held a reception in Miami, hosted by a local member.  That was a start, but we need a strong follow up effort.  Promoting a TER chapter that starts with using our current members who will get together because they have TER in common.  This will provide a place where recruits can join us.  It’s important to start with existing TER members; otherwise, these merely would be gatherings of lawyers who had no reason to associate with TER any more than with any other group.    At first, content will not be as important as opportunity.  Even if it’s only a informal gathering, with no fixed program other than the opportunity to network with other lawyers, the important step in revitalizing our dormant chapters is to provide regular gatherings and publicize them, placing TER in the minds and thoughts of attorneys, again.  Local programs and agendas can be left to the particular interests of those who do meet, as they are in Philadelphia and Detroit, but the important first step is to begin meeting regularly and build from the initial numbers by work of mouth and tug of sleeve.

Third, I will recommend to the Council that we organize and promote law school chapters again.

As you know from the Detroit chapter reports at recent council meetings, among  our very successful programs in Detroit is a periodic breakfast cosponsored with the attorney division of Federation.  Most of the attorneys who attend either are current members of TER, or were members in the past.  Over this year’s meetings, I’ve spoken with many of these lost members about TER, and several indicated  interest in rejoining.  The common element to each was that they were members of TER in law school but did not continue after passing the bar; many did not know that TER was anything but a law school organization.  That’s not really surprising.  Look at our organization’s name and our logo; an outsider viewing them would think we were a collegiate fraternal association, because our name and logo correspond to those of collegiate fraternal associations.  For that reason, I think that the logical and natural recruiting ground for new members is in law school, so that we can take advantage of that perception.  Initial efforts should be in Philadelphia and Detroit, where our successful graduate chapters have members still connected with their law schools, and where local contacts will give us the opportunity to get off the ground.  I know that I joined TER, because it offered me an opportunity to meet and associate with other Jewish law students and Jewish attorneys, and I am optimistic that law students today will have these same interests and give us a chance.

As we know from the past, it won’t be enough to just recruit law students as members, so we will also need to work with chapters to develop programming, and, most important, to make sure that these students are welcomed into the graduate chapters after they graduate.  Another program we should initiate for law students is a mentoring program; as more graduates go into private or small practice, there is a need among these graduates to get practical advice on everything from courtroom demeanor to office economics.  While we cannot and should not function as a job bank for law students, we can offer the benefit of our collective wisdom to our younger members.

Fourth, we will launch our revamped web site this year. 

While it’s important to consider the organization’s future growth and survival, we cannot ignore our current members.  Over the past 6 months, the website committee has been working very hard on revising the web site, in both look and content, so that we can promote and offer our national services to our members.  The new web site should be unveiled by the end of January, awaiting only some technical arrangements as we change internet service providers.

The revised web site will offer the public the opportunity to find out about our organization’s history, and to search for members who may be able to provide legal assistance.  We will be putting up CLE articles from our Summons, and will also provide the opportunity for our members to “publish” other legal material for public consumption.  In addition, our members will be able to review their membership information, update their Lawnet listings, and, in the hopefully not distant future, use our site to host their own web pages.

In addition, we will be using the web site to provide information about upcoming meetings and conventions, and will be using email to send periodic reminders to our members about these events.

The most important professional benefits  that our national organization can offer our local members are the opportunity to network lawyer to lawyer, and the opportunity to make our members’ professional abilities and specialties known to the public, so that the public will look to our members when they need legal services.  Our web site, and the planned associated search engine, will provide these benefits to our members.

In conclusion, I truly thank our members for the opportunity to serve them.  I recognize the importance of the trust you have given to me, and I assure you that I will work diligently on your behalf, so that we can return Tau Epsilon Rho to its former grandeur and glory.  Our officers, the National Council, and I will embrace this challenge, so that when people ask us “Why should I join TER?”,  we will have a firm and confident answer for them.

Coincidentally, and reinforcing my thoughts about the public perception and identification of our organization, shortly after returning to Detroit, I received an unexpected package addressed to “Tau Epsilon Rho Fraternity.”  Its contents were targeted for a college fraternity to assist in preparing for a Super Bowl party.

To me, this demonstrates the need to make a priority of defining ourselves in our own minds and in the minds of the public.  As a starting point, the revised web site contains a more accurate history of the organization than the sanitized version on the old site.  Also, the web site will soon contain a newly written Mission Statement for the National Society.

Finally, one important purpose in designing this web site is to improve communications with our members.  This means we need e-mail addresses for all of you who are reading this paragraph.  Please forward your e-mail address to our Executive Director at   Soon, we will start sending out regular email notices to our members, and we don’t want you to miss out.

I look forward to this year with excitement and enthusiasm.  Join with me, the officers, the National Council, and your fellow members, to return Tau Epsilon Rho to it's former greatness.