California Lawyers Association

CLA at the ABA Annual Meeting: the Power of Collaboration

image of CLA President Heather Rosing addressing the ABA General Assembly in San Francisco
CLA President Heather Rosing addresses the ABA General Assembly in San Francisco

By Heather L. Rosing, President
Jim Hill, Chairman of the Board

Proud to be a strong voice on issues affecting the profession, CLA played an integral role at the recent American Bar Association annual convention in San Francisco last month. The ABA Annual Meeting has long been an opportunity for bar leaders across the world to come together to share ideas and learn leading practices. At this year’s gathering, CLA leaders participated in the ABA House of Delegates, the National Conference of Bar Executives, and the National Conference of Bar Presidents, among many other meetings and engagements.

The ABA House of Delegates is the policymaking body of the ABA, meeting twice a year. The State Bar of California, CLA VP Emilio Varanini, and California Delegate leader Laura Farber worked together to transfer five seats to CLA this year. The CLA Board selected the delegates, who then had the opportunity to participate for the first time at this meeting in Northern California. CLA is proud to contribute to the dialogue and is excited to continue to recruit delegates from our membership. Please keep your eyes open for future opportunities to submit your application to participate.

We also had the opportunity to make opening remarks at the ABA Opening Plenary Session, along with outgoing ABA President Bob Carlson and the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Sidney Thomas. At the same event, civil rights icon Dale Minami received the ABA’s Metal for his groundbreaking work, including the case that overturned the Korematsu conviction. In making these remarks, we had the opportunity to discuss the power of our membership and our commitment to diversity and inclusion, access to justice, and achieving the highest standards in the profession.

As we have shared in other columns, CLA has been actively working with other California bar associations to develop synergies across the state. In this spirit of collaboration, CLA and the Bar Association of San Francisco held a successful joint reception to coincide with the events at the ABA Annual Meeting. Led by Director of Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives Ellen Miller, CLA’s Office of Bar Relations also offers opportunities to exchange ideas via monthly conference calls and cutting edge leadership training at CLA’s annual Bar Leaders Conference. 

At the San Francisco gathering, CLA not only had the opportunity to meet with bar associations across the country, but to brainstorm with several international legal associations, including the UK Law Society, the Barcelona Bar Association, and the Seoul Bar Association. Our own International Law Section has been extremely successful in developing friendship agreements across the globe, leading to these discussions about how we can support and learn from each other, for the benefit of our respective members.

CLA’s participation at the ABA Annual Meeting demonstrates the power of the organized bar. By working together, we become the voice of the profession and ensure the highest standards of practice. Through collaboration, we assist in making legal profession more diverse and in ensuring that all Californians have access to justice and legal services.

We are learning that bar organizations across the globe complement each other in unexpected ways. And we are using our collective voice in ways that we have not used it before—not only to advocate for positive change in the profession, but to advocate for positive societal change. That’s a powerful and amazing thing. By working together, we can amplify the good work we do.

We look forward to more opportunities to discuss, collaborate, and share leading practices at our upcoming Annual Meeting Oct. 10-12 in Monterey. Please make sure to register today for an amazing three day gathering!

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