California Lawyers Association

Cross-Section Collaboration at CLA

 At the December 5th meeting of the Board, Ellen Miller facilitated a discussion about possible opportunities for cross section collaboration. We have spent a great deal of time presenting the value of external collaboration with a focus on outreach to external groups and bar associations, yet that there were many unexplored opportunities for internal collaboration.

Internal collaboration among sections address a variety of issues and serve multiple goals:

  • Creates a multi-disciplinary perspective that members may not get from other bars;
  • Creates greater networking opportunities;
  • Addresses the fact that 1/3 of CLA members are members of multiple sections, so they also see the benefit of a multi section perspective;
  • The time famine for members means members have less time to attend events; bundling experiences helps address the time famine;
  • Allows CLA to effectively utilize resources;
  • Avoids duplication of efforts and ensuring the outside world sees that “the right hand is talking to the left hand” and is coordinated.

The following categories were suggested as ripe areas to brainstorm for possible cross section collaboration:

  • Networking
  • Mentoring
  • Education
  • Policy Advocacy
  • Technology
  • Law School Outreach
  • Initiatives – Access to Justice, Civics Engagement and Diversity Equity and Inclusion
  • Hot or emerging topics i.e. Cannabis, Privacy
  • Lawyer Wellness

The following is the list of ideas that resulted from the rich discussion. Attached is the visual map of notes from the meeting.

  • Cannabis
    • Possible sections/committees for collaboration: IPS, RPS, Tax, ELS, CLS, BLS, PLS, Ethics Committee
    • Ideas:
      • LPMT can also add a discussion of business generation and how to market long range planning in July and institute in October collaboration
      • Public law has a monthly discussion on cannabis issues
      • RPS doing a track at their Spring Conference in April on cannabis
      • Given all the sections that can address this issue, Cannabis could be a full day or multi day multi-day section conference
  • Technology
    • Possible sections/committees for collaboration: ALL
    • Ideas:
      • Topics:
        • Digital aspects of discovery/e-discovery
        • Data breaches/ data security issues
        • How best to use technology in each of the practice areas
        • How to use tech tools and tech platform training i.e. using trial director
        • Discounts for trial tech apps and discounts for members for trying a new program and combine it with webinars for training
    • Other Comments:
      • Young lawyers have a unique perspective with tech; useful to get their opinion and involvement
      • We need to be leading or we will get run over
      • Area ripe for a CLA-wide technology conference; tech focus at our annual meeting could drive up attendance
      • External partnerships have been successful: SSF partnered with LACBA on basic technology and LPMT partnering with SDCBA on an annual tech summit – both with positive feedback. This demonstrates this programming resonates with members
      • LPMT has a vendor page and working towards a CLA-wide page. But some lawyers are afraid of technology whereas young lawyers love technology too much and not thinking about security or ethical issues related to tech
  • Immigration:
    • Possible sections/committees for collaboration: ILS, Family, CLS
    • Immigration Committee in ILS and not well known. Should ILS be called International Immigration Section? Immigration lawyers do not find their identities with CLA. Immigration a ripe area for cross section
  • Lawyer Marketing
    • Possible sections/committees for collaboration: LPMT and any other section
    • Ideas:
      • CYLA building content for personal brands
      • Business development and how to drive business with networking
      • Attorneys might have great ideas on marketing–build on and drive more business for your firms
  • Policy/Advocacy
    • Possible sections/committees for collaboration: ALL
    • Ideas:
      • Look for topics that cross pollinate with other internal sections and possible external organizations specific to that topic (i.e. Family Law/Tax/Trusts issues; Privacy)
  • Networking
    • Possible sections/committees for collaboration: ALL
    • Ideas:
      • Need both CLA wide and joint section events
      • Local joint networking only events with 1-3 sections could create great opportunities for connection and demonstrate CLA value beyond educational programming
      • Receptions are a big hit; big firms are likely to sponsor
      • 2019 CLA receptions in SD, LA, SF and Sacto were big hits
      • Joint events with local bars and local specialty groups also a possibility
      • CYLA great at networking and a great way to partner with CYLA
      • Networking and mentoring with CYLA
      • Perhaps CLA could take the lead facilitating multi section networking events
      • Set a specific time to do a cross-section networking event (tried at AM but didn’t quite work out)
      • Focus on more culture diversity and develop a pipeline; connect with other organizations that are diverse (Langston, CABL, etc.)
  • Education
    • Possible sections/committees for collaboration: ALL
    • Ideas:
      • Have Education Chairs meet more often; be sure Section Coordinators are in the loop
      • Privacy can cross pollinate
      • Joint CLA webinars
      • Ethics content with the new ethics committee
      • More cross section collaboration on topics will be attractive to current and new members
      • ABA House of Delegates/resolution topics a great opportunity for cross-section discussion
      • CLA-wide programming for webinars (SSF and LPMT)
  • Law School Outreach
    • Possible sections/committees for collaboration: ALL
    • Ideas:
      • Law school outreach is a great component with Deans at UC Schools; deans were receptive
      • Participate in careers day at the colleges. “CYLA first-class”
      • Local programming at law schools and mentoring; i.e. SSF Solo Symposium will be presented at local law schools
      • Consider joint innovative mentoring programs like UCLA mentorship program all online
      • Law school students can connect with CLA members directly via CLA leaders coming to speak with law school students
      • Do more collaborations with law firms and share stories with current law school students; this is great encouragement/motivation for students of color
      • Note: CLA leading a law school outreach effort to find out what deans need from us so we are not piecemealing law school outreach; information will be shared with all
  • Initiatives
    • Possible sections/committees for collaboration: ALL
    • Ideas:
      • Sections could easily develop joint community service efforts i.e. diversity pipeline project to high schools and community colleges; we need champions and going out to affinity bar associations. Silo structure is not serving us well
      • Law Day (May 1) at high schools
      • Take advantage of the anniversary of the 19th amendment in 2020
      • Note- Civics Outreach Committee creating a curriculum for groups to use for both Law Day and Constitution Day around the 19th amendment
  • General ideas/opportunities to encourage greater x-section collaboration
    • Encourage section chairs to post ideas for possible collaboration to the section chairs listserv
    • Many sections, like BLS, have regular meetings with their Standing Committees to cross coordinate; consider additional ways to replicate this CLA-wide (note – currently Section Chairs meet monthly)
    • Litigation does a diversity or ticket exchange with other organizations (5 tickets to our programs/events – 5 tickets to your events); could easily be expanded to multiple sections
    • Create categories and a list of projects where sections can sign up to participate. Create a list of what works well for a section so another section can try i.e. Diversity fellowship programs template or ways to work with minority bar associations for their members to become CLA members
    • Partner with ILS who has developed relationships with Foreign bars (14 and counting): members of the foreign members join ILS, joint programs where our members go to other countries hosted by foreign bars.
    • We need to get a list of all subcommittees and standing committees from each section and share with each other
    • CLA Job board

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