Member Spotlights

Interviews with NABL Members from NABL News

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Allen G. Bass, West Bloomfield, MI

1. When and how did you first become involved in NABL?

I joined about five years  after it was founded.  I let my membership lapsed for 2-3 years when I was doing corporate and bank lending, but I rejoined when I returned to municipal bond work.  The “how” is rather simple.  If there is a professional association for your area of law, you should join it.

2. How has NABL membership impacted your career?  

It has made me a better lawyer.

3. What are the top reasons why someone should join NABL?  

To begin, one is practicing in a very specialized area of the law.  It has a state law component and national components: tax, securities law and national legislation.  State and local bar associations do not have the breadth of NABL.  The American Bar Association, while offering breadth, is heavily weighted towards corporate finance.  ABA membership is very useful, but it doesn’t  have the concentration of NABL.  So, the first reason is to gain exposure to legal developments relevant to our field.

The second reason is fellowship.  It is more than just networking — making acquaintances.  Friendships are formed, and ideas are exchanged.  Opportunities for “grapevining” are created.  “Didn’t thus and so say he/she had dealt with this issue?  Why don’t I call him/her.” 

Participation in The Workshops, formerly known as the Bond Attorney Workshop, is the third reason.  Not only are there fellowship opportunities, but there are two days of panel discussions on the most relevant legal developments. The Workshop offers the opportunity to rub shoulders with fellow professionals (often people you would not meet because of geographical dispersal) and the opportunity to crease substantive knowledge.

Not to be overlooked is the opportunity to teach professionals new to the industry at The Essentials (formerly known as Fundamentals) sessions.  Quite simply, NABL helps maintain the quality of our profession in terms of both attorneys and paralegals.

4. You’ve recently joined discussions on NABL Connect. What do you find useful? Why should members participate in NABL Connect?  

It’s the “grapevining” mentioned above.  Through NABL Connect, one has the opportunity to participate in the discussion of specific questions.

5. If you could have dinner with two famous people (from the past and/or present), who would you choose and why? 

The first name is G. Edward White, no doubt an unfamiliar name.  Professor White is a legal historian at the University of Virginia.  He has authored many highly acclaimed books.  I began reading him merely by chance when I began practicing.  His case analysis is superb.  We are often confronted with legal situations that require an extension of precedent.  His analysis of a Cardozo opinion, for example, show how the Judge read existing precedents to cover a new situation while at the same time showing that the outcome was within the precedential framework, just a little extended.  For the second name, the late Justice Scalia.  Whatever one thinks of textualism, Justice Scalia had a great mind.  Justice Ginsburg was a great friend and used his criticism of her draft opinions to refine her thinking.  It would be very profitable to hear a White/Scalia discussion over dinner.

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