California Lawyers Association

The Power of Advocacy

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By Oyango A. Snell
CEO and Executive Director 

January 2023

What does advocacy mean to you, CLA? Historic Supreme Court cases, power positioning, proposed laws, heated debates surrounding public policy—no matter what direction we look, the law is central to every decision and discussion governing our everyday, and the power of our advocacy begins and stops with our members.

Take for example the sheer number of constitutional cases awaiting decisions from courts around the country, or the fact that our Sections, like the Business Law, Family Law, Trusts and Estates, and Privacy Law Sections are leading conversations that define new regulations never seen before. Look at the growing number of attorneys that have been elected to public office—we are the respected authority in moving the needle forward, on bettering the way lives are governed. We call this advocacy, and at CLA, this is OUR mission and commitment to the profession.

There’s a famous quote that you may have heard: “Advocacy is to change what is, into what should be.” And, if you don’t have a seat at the table, then you’re on the menu! 

A pipe dream for some but a reality for CLA, our history has only been as conveners of change, and designers of solutions. While relationships are key, our expertise through our Sections and member leaders is central to our success. Our DNA as attorneys drives our instinct to act, to create opportunities that ground our future in the law. And ultimately, our statewide advocacy is what elevates our association.

Together, we have collectively achieved a reputation as doers, as experts, as visionaries that utilize the law to ensure our state is the epitome of greatness, recognizing the power that our legal communities hold in achieving its reputation as the Great State of California.

Advocacy is what we do! But we can’t do it without our members. On April 19, 2023, CLA will gather in Sacramento, California for our Annual Legislative Day. This will be the time where CLA, through its member leaders, make our voices heard regarding significant issues that impact the legal profession. We need you to get engaged, and now is the time to get involved!

With 356 days left in the year, I challenge you to advocate in ways you have never done so before. Attend Legislative Day, register for the Inaugural Privacy Law Summit, and connect with your colleagues that are actively changing the course of our history the way you think it should be. Change begins and ends with advocacy and the role you play in our history is entirely up to you.

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