California Lawyers Association

Alcohol Policy

No Member Dues on Alcohol Expenditures

Policy of CLA on Alcohol: The policy of the Association, each Section and CYLA is that member dues shall not be expended on alcohol. Other funding sources may pay for alcohol, such as program and event revenues, sponsorships, in-kind or monetary donations.

Arguments in Support

  • If a member wants to join a section, s/he is compelled to pay mandatory dues, but other paid activities that could fund alcohol purchases under the policy are optional.
  • There is a history of scrutiny by the Legislature and legal media of alcohol expenditures by the Bar and the sections such that CLA may be scrutinized again on this issue – especially since our dues will still be collected by the State Bar.
  • We can fund alcohol purchases from non-member dues sources such as use money collected from programs, webinars, or sponsors (including in-kind).
  • Tracking of alcohol expenditures and ensuring that they are paid with funds other than member dues would not be onerous.
  • The proposed policy is responsible and yet is more permissive than the current State Bar policy, thus giving the sections an appropriate level of autonomy.
  • Notwithstanding the prior arguments in support of a more permissive policy as the CLA emerges as “the” bar association for all California lawyers, the central question remains the proper use of mandatory dues by a private, non-profit. This proposed policy recognizes that the use of mandatory member dues for the procurement of alcohol is not appropriate at the present time for the CLA and its Sections, including the CYLA.

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