California Lawyers Association

Deepening CLA’s Ties With the Judiciary

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By President Emilio Varanini and
Chair of the Board of Representatives Betty Williams

At CLA, we’re always on the lookout for ways to further our mission by collaborating with like-minded groups. We’re especially grateful for our partnership with the California Judges Association (CJA). The bench and bar must work together to strengthen the rule of law, advance the fair administration of justice, and foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession. 

We’re pleased to share a few of the ways that we’re deepening this vital bench-bar relationship beginning in August and September when we host a series of events that will bring together lawyers and judges from across the state who share our goal of cultivating judicial diversity. 

Judicial Diversity Summit

We’ll begin with a fireside chat on August 4th, where we will reflect on the progress that’s been made over the past 15 years, followed by a series of events each Wednesday of August at noon. In September, the Stronger Together: Judicial Diversity Summit 2021 — being held over three Tuesday evenings — will take a deeper dive into the current state of judicial diversity. Judges will share what is working well and help us all chart a path for the future. Affinity bar associations will supplement the effort with weekly educational sessions to tackle different aspects of the journey from acting as an advocate to serving as an impartial arbiter of the law. 

The summit has been held every five years since 2006 and this year is presented by CLA, CJA, and the Judicial Council of California, with support from the California Lawyers Foundation. Please mark your calendars and pre-register now. Sharing the link with your networks will draw even more participants, which means we can have an even greater impact. 

Another area of CLA’s collaboration between the bench and the bar is helping to demystify the judicial appointments process for applicants. On July 28th, leaders of the Fresno, Kern, and San Joaquin County Superior Court will join Gov. Gavin Newsom’s deputy judicial appointments secretary and the chair of the Judicial Nominees Evaluation (“JNE”) Commission at a special program for the Central Valley.  

Remote Proceedings Task Force

Finally, CLA recently teamed up with the CJA to form a joint bench-bar task force on remote proceedings in civil actions, which became an important option for keeping the courts open and ensuring access to justice during the coronavirus pandemic. The task force of esteemed members of the bench and bar thoroughly discussed the various issues involved with remote civil proceedings and issued a set of recommendations as to pending legislation. Those recommendations became the basis for a letter from CLA, urging the Legislature to preserve the option for parties in civil litigation to engage in remote proceedings. 

Many of the judges we’ve talked to agree that as we come out of the pandemic, we must resist the urge to return to business-as-usual and take this opportunity to explore new ways to operate consistent with serving the ends of justice and access. For example, if used correctly, remote proceedings create opportunities to avoid travel costs and significant time commitments associated with in-person court appearances. At the same time, we recognize that any solution needs to be carefully crafted so parties and the court retain the ability to pursue in-person proceedings, including witness testimony, and rights are protected. 

We’re excited about these recent opportunities to strengthen the bench-bar partnership and we’re proud that CLA is leading the way as we work together to promote excellence, diversity, and inclusion in the legal profession and fairness in this administration of justice and the rule of law.  

We look forward to seeing you at the Judicial Diversity Summit and hear your ideas for how we can further deepen our ties with the judicial branch. 

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