It has been an honor to serve as Chair of the Business Law Section (BLS) during this challenging year. The BLS has a long and vibrant history going back to 1977, as part of the State Bar of California, and now as part of the California Lawyers Association (CLA). The BLS has around 7,000 members from across the state. The theme of the 2019-2020 CLA/State Bar year is Part of Something Bigger Than Ourselves.
We started the year with an in-person Fall Leadership Retreat in Orange County attended by over 50 leaders from BLS standing committees and the BLS Executive Committee. We were honored to have 3 federal judges attend the Fall Leadership Retreat this year to talk with Executive Committee and standing committee leaders about leadership and being part of something bigger than ourselves.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the work of the BLS has continued and the BLS has remained hard at work to fulfill its mission. At the outset of the pandemic, BLS leaders volunteered to film YouTube videos on legal issues related to the pandemic free of charge for the public. In addition, since the last CLA Annual Meeting, the BLS has published around 200 eBulletins on new case law and legislative updates, and has published the quarterly Business Law News publication. We also published a judicial profile on the Hon. Margaret Mann, Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of California. The profile on Judge Mann is the 12th judicial profile on federal judges in California published by the BLS. All of the BLS’ judicial profiles are available by clicking here. Over the past year, the BLS also published two books: the Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors Desk Guide (Second Edition) and the Agricultural Law Sourcebook. Even during the pandemic, the BLS’ standing committees have been hard at work publishing informative content and presenting webinars, including such varied topics as Data Privacy in California, Wine Law: An Introduction, the California and Delaware Annual Update, and the series on What You Weren’t Taught in Law School.
In addition to the substantive work of the standing committees, the BLS is proud to be a part of the CLA. Formed in 2018 based on California legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown, the CLA’s mission is promoting excellence, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law. The BLS promotes excellence by keeping lawyers up-to-date on new case law and other developments through eBulletins and MCLE events. The BLS promotes diversity and inclusion by making sure that each year our committees and section executive committee members better reflect the diversity of California, by partnering with other diverse organizations, and by meeting with law school and college students to encourage a diverse next generation of lawyers and judges. The BLS promotes the fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law by taking part in civics contests and by making sure that our position is clear that an independent judiciary is critical for our country and that equal protection under the law is a fundamental right needed for our country to fulfill its promise.
I encourage you to get involved in the BLS and its standing committees. Our standing committees meet on a monthly basis and work between meetings to prepare eBulletins on new case law and legislative updates, create educational programing for lawyers, draft proposed legislation, and engage in outreach to their constituencies. The application for BLS standing committees is available here and more information regarding the BLS and its standing committees is available here.
I was fortunate to follow a long line of BLS Chairs that have made the BLS an important part of California’s legal community, and have had the opportunity to work with many of our great past BLS Chairs on the BLS Executive Committee, including Monique Jewett-Brewster, Uzzi Raanan, Jim Hill, Rob Harris, Charles McKee, Donna Parkinson, Mark Porter, Paul Pascuzzi, Peter Bronson, Mark Moore, Tim Hoxie, Marie Hogan and Roland Brandel. Each of those past BLS Chairs has continued to serve the BLS by continuing on as advisors to the BLS Executive Committee. The continued service is part of what makes the BLS a family and a great organization. On behalf of the entire BLS, I look forward to the tenure of the BLS’ incoming Chair, Soyeun Choi, following the CLA Annual Meeting later this month. The BLS will continue to innovate and reach new heights under Soyeun’s leadership!
Finally, I would like to give special thanks to the BLS Executive Committee members and advisors, and to our BLS Vice Chairs this year: Soyeun Choi, Everett Green, Tal Grinblat and Elissa Miller; our Secretary, Val Hornstein; our Treasurer, Charles McKee; and our Immediate Past Chair, Monique Jewett-Brewster! I would also like to thank our standing committee officers, members and advisors for all of their hard work and leadership this year!
Thank you for your continued involvement in the BLS and looking forward to a great 2020-2021 CLA/Bar Year!
Corey R. Weber, Chair
California Lawyers Association Business Law Section