By Ona Alston Dosunmu
C.E.O and Executive Director
The benefits of CLA membership are numerous and increasing every day. During the pandemic we recognized our members’ need for connection and launched online communities—there’s one for every Section plus a few open to any member. We began Zoom “coffee chats” which have since morphed into CLA-wide evening gatherings called “Coffee, Cocktails and Conversation”. Recent research has led us to an exciting new offering on the horizon—CLA’s first organization-wide publication.
This new digital publication will showcase the work being done in Sections, update the CLA community on our advocacy for the profession, and showcase the work in our three initiative areas of diversity, equity and inclusion; access to justice; and civic education and engagement. We have yet to name it, but in the next few weeks, we’ll begin publishing on a quarterly basis.
Over the coming months, our hope is to provide all of our members a glimpse into the diverse array of work being undertaken to educate the legal community and advance the mission of CLA. This work takes place in our 17 Sections and CYLA, in our Committees and at the Board and staff level. Until now much of this work existed in silos and unless you were in a Section or on a Committee, members did not have visibility into everything going on at CLA. The new publication along with enhancements and improved search functionality on our website are efforts to help remedy this and share the incredible work of the organization with the entire membership.
The new publication and website aren’t the only enhancements we’re making. Our Health and Wellness Committee has presented numerous opportunities to improve our mental and physical well-being. We recently hosted a CLA-wide trivia night. And any description of new, member-focused programming would be remiss if it did not mention the programing undertaken by our Racial Justice Committee—often in collaboration with other bar associations or our siblings on the bench via the California Judges Association. In addition to focusing on adding member value, we here at CLA are constantly seeking opportunities to showcase the incredible work being done across the organization—in our Sections, in our Committees and by our professional team and volunteer leaders.
Communicating the depth and breadth of our work, however, is an ongoing challenge, which is one of the reasons we’re launching the digital publication. We look forward to highlighting various members, inviting members to be guest authors, and hearing your feedback. Please let our Managing Editor, Brian Heaton, know what you think and send us your ideas (including any suggestions for a name!) at firstname.lastname@example.org.