By CLA President Jeremy M. Evans
and Chair of the Board of Representatives Ryan M. F. Baron
First, we would like to start with a thank you. We are privileged and honored to serve you as your incoming President of the California Lawyers Association (CLA) and Chair of the Board of Representatives of CLA. We would like to share a bit about ourselves and our goals to help CLA remain true to its brand as the bar association for ALL California lawyers.
We both came up through the ranks of the Sections when they were still part of the State Bar of California – Jeremy on the executive committee of the Solo and Small Firm Section and Ryan on the executive committee of the Public Law Section. After the Sections split from the State Bar of California in 2018 with the California State Legislature’s guidance to form CLA, we have remained in leadership.
We have been here as CLA navigated the initial startup phase and built the infrastructure and tools to transform into what it is today – a statewide nonprofit that serves as the voice and advocate for California’s 200,000 lawyers.
Along the way, the two of us have forged a great friendship, and we pledge to work together with each other to fulfill our shared goals.
One of our priorities will be recruiting a new executive director. Beyond that, our main goal is to chart CLA on a course of growth. By building our membership ranks, we not only strengthen our brand as the bar association for all California lawyers, but also fulfill our mission of promoting excellence, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law.
How can we grow our membership? We can start with what you have told us that you value. Through surveys and outreach, we have heard you want opportunities for education and to connect with other professionals. We want to make that happen by being a convener – bringing all facets of the legal community together, including people from bar associations, the judiciary, government, law schools, and law firms to educate and offer an example of the civil and honorable practice of law.
One example is our October 7 Roundtable of Hollywood Executives. A fundraiser for the California Lawyers Foundation, our charitable arm, the event is an opportunity to hear what is on the horizon in the entertainment and media landscape and meet new people.
Also, next month we will bring together bar association leaders. CLA will host the 2021 Annual California Bar Leaders Conference, done by the great work of CLA’s Office of Bar Relations.
We will look for new opportunities to combine education with local networking events, and make sure CLA is on the vanguard of hot and emerging practice areas. We see room for growth in the areas of entertainment, media, sports, health, tech, in-house counsel, government and regulatory, academic, and service industry areas like military defense contracting, beer, wine, spirits, and cannabis law. In 2021, we added a Privacy Law Section, added Immigration to our International Law Section title, and are finalizing a rebranding of our instrumental Young Lawyer members.
We see our Sections playing an important role in attracting new members because of the high-quality content, events, and publications they produce.
The organization’s strategic plan, which is in the final stages of drafting, also gives us a solid roadmap for growing CLA.
Finally, our new membership structure for 2022 will make it easier for lawyers across the state to engage with CLA in a way that best suits them. In the past, members had to choose a Section to join CLA. Now they can simply join CLA and still get substantial benefits, including our Solo & Small Firm and Law Practice Management & Technology Section content. This does not include our wonderful offer of free membership for law students (up to three Sections) and for those in their first three years of practice.
Thank you again for being members of CLA and for giving us the opportunity to serve as your volunteer leaders.