Business Law Section (BLS) members and friends, Happy New Year and welcome to 2021!
Throughout the challenges of the past year, meeting with BLS members has always been a pleasure. This dynamic group of professionals keeps moving ahead of the curve and returns with guidance. With this constant vigilance, it is not a coincidence that BLS initiatives and programs address the major issues of the day. The following list is not exhaustive so, to learn more, please contact the BLS Standing Committee leadership.
• Corona-virus related responses from courts and government agencies were relayed directly to BLS, by liaisons to the judiciary from state agencies. In addition, standing committees developed practice updates for members through eBulletins and video programming. These updates were shared with BLS members, the California Lawyers Association (CLA) community and to the public at large.
• The long range BLS focus on diversity and inclusion in the practice has been a priority for years. BLS promotes diversity by implementing a variety of initiatives, including sponsorship and collaboration with diversity organizations, like the California Minority Counsel Program (CMCP). BLS Past Chair (2018-19) Monique Jewett Brewster organized CMCP presentations for the CMCP Annual Business conference, volunteered at networking events and the two of us attended the conference to invite attorneys to join BLS. Also typical of BLS activity is a co-hosted event, featuring four California Latina Judges, with statewide California Latino bar associations and organizations. BLS also organizes road shows directly with law schools and undergraduate institutions to meet with students to discuss the practice of law. This month we send a panel to the Santa Clara University School of Law. BLS also participates in all of the CLA committees on diversity, inclusion and racial justice.
• Issues in Privacy law continue to pose challenges to California businesses and, as the practice develops, makes demands on practitioners and professional organizations. The BLS Internet and Privacy Committee (IPLC) is responsible for developing programming and has co-hosted events with the Intellectual Property, International and Antitrust and Privacy Sections. Even before Proposition 24 passed in November, IPLC anticipated the growing demands on practitioners and collaborated in planning meetings on the development of the newly established stand-alone CLA Privacy Section; researched the potential benefits of certifying a privacy specialization; and has been an active participant member in both external and internal Privacy Working Groups. The IPLC also liaises with the California State Bar and the International Association of Privacy Professionals.
• The Corporations Committee monitors the many legal developments that pass through our state’s capitol and national agencies. Recently, an Affirmative Legislative Proposal was submitted on clarifying governance issues during a state of emergency. A comment was also submitted to the US Security and Exchange Commission. Subscribers to the Corporations Committee eBulletin benefitted from regular communications with the California Secretary of State’s office through the fires, civil unrest and the pandemic.
• Businesses are not only affected by social and environmental issues but also create change as well. The BLS Sustainability Working Group was created to operate among BLS standing committees to investigate the ways in which practitioners have been tasked with implementing change. A new working group, it has amassed a fledging library and continues to develop.
• This update would not be complete without a pointer to the BLS Insolvency Law Committee (ILC) which provides eBulletins several times a week. Given the major displacement of businesses nationally, practitioners would benefit from subscribing to the ILC and otherwise should reference its website here: https://calawyers.org/tag/business-law-insolvency-law-committee/
• Finally, BLS members participate in CLA-wide resources, including real time responses to national and state events, interdisciplinary events and thoughtful programming to assist practitioners find balance, community and fun. Most recently, a downloadable health matrix has been provided to provide some focus to healthy change: https://calawyers.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Wellness-Challenge-Matrix-Remediated.pdf
Any BLS success in keeping pace with modern issues is a direct result of our members’ work. It has been approximately two and a half millennia since the philosopher Heraclitus gifted us with the aphorism, “Change is the only constant in life,” and BLS is better for embracing this truth. Our members regard these inflection points as learning opportunities and furthermore, are determined to create community through sharing knowledge.
The year ahead remains uncharted but BLS continues to report from the cutting edge. To stay informed, visit our website, sign up for email lists and better yet, join us. Register with CLA and join the Business Law Section: https://calawyers.org/join-us/. There is room at BLS for you and your colleagues. We look forward to meeting you in the future!