I was fortunate enough to serve as a Co-Chair of CCJ from 2017 to 2019. I was asked to serve by Dave Stratton, whom I’d known for many years. At first, I tried to put Dave off. I wasn’t sure I really had time to take on the commitment. I had been a financial supporter of CCJ since my first years in the Bar, but that was the extent of my involvement. Dave persisted, and I’m glad he did. Serving as a chair was an eye opener for me. It helped me to focus outside of my narrow area of practice—corporate litigation—and gave me a chance to make a much bigger difference than my annual checks could ever do.
We tried several new fundraising methods during my time at CCJ. We participated in meetings with firm leaders where, among other things, we emphasized the need for Delaware lawyers to help CCJ help the poor in need of civil legal assistance. One year, we asked firms to consider specific targeted donation amounts. We reached out as strenuously as we could to the many firms with Delaware offices, but home offices outside Delaware. While not all of our efforts met with enthusiastic responses, most did and we raised the bar for CCJ fundraising. These were the years when, happily for us, Lisa Lessner and Molly McPheeters came onboard to help us with our fundraising. They were and are indefatigable advocates for CCJ and its clients.
We also established and funded the Holland Endowment, which honors Justice Randy Holland and funds in perpetuity an attorney position to assist victims of domestic abuse and violence. We raised over $2.2 million for that great cause in less than a year, without impeding our annual fund efforts. Sincere thanks to Chief Justice Strine, who envisioned the Endowment and was a constant source of encouragement.
So, I’m not sure I have a message other than to answer the call if you are asked to help in a great cause by doing something other than writing a check. Find the time if you can. I am so glad I did. Retirement is just a couple of years away for me, and I feel like my time at CCJ served to complete my career.
And, no matter what happens, please keep writing those checks!
Gregory P. Williams, Esq.
Richards Layton & Finger