California Lawyers Association

In-Person Events and Activities Policy

To: CLA Board of Representatives
From: Ona Alston Dosunmu
Re: Proposed Resolution Temporarily Prohibiting In-person Meetings and Events Due to COVID-19
Date: September 17, 2020

In March 2020 when the first “shelter-in-place” orders were announced, CLA canceled all in-person events and activities until further notice. As the pandemic drags on and we all yearn for the company of friends and peers and, in particular, as many CLA committees and Section executive committees welcome new members, we thought it prudent to revisit the decision and set forth an organization-wide policy for the foreseeable future. We did not reach our recommendation lightly and considered multiple factors, including:

• The sincere and heartfelt desire on the part of many of us to fellowship with one another in person;
• The continued spread of the virus in our state, and indeed, the country; and
• The reality that CLA is a statewide organization with members in various geographic areas; and
• The variability of guidance about gathering1—both by geography and over time;

After conferring with CLA’s outside counsel, and in consideration of the safety of our members, volunteers, staff and those with whom they may come into contact and to help prevent contributing to the spread of COVID-19, we are recommending the Board adopt the following policy regarding all in-person meetings and events.

Until further notice, CLA will not support, sanction or host any in-person gatherings, including Section executive committee or committee meetings, continuing legal education or networking events or other activities, nor will CLA reimburse the expenses for such meetings.

We will continue to monitor announcements regarding the permissibility of gatherings, particularly in the major urban markets where CLA most often hosts events and activities and we will revisit whether the policy can be amended or discontinued as conditions evolve.

Again, we understand the important role that in-person gatherings play in helping volunteer leaders bond with one another and develop loyalty to CLA as well as the understandable desire to connect in real time. We will revisit this policy as circumstances change.

Motion: BE IT RESOLVED that the CLA Board of Representatives approves the policy outlined above prohibiting in-person meetings, events and other activities (including not reimbursing for expenses) until further notice. This policy is meant to be revisited periodically as circumstances change.

[1] See https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/.

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