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California Lawyers Association

Officer Elections FAQ

When will CLA’s Officers be elected?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019.

The meeting will be held at the San Francisco Airport Marriott from 10:30-4:00 p.m.

The winning candidates will have the opportunity to join the out-going Officers for dinner after the meeting.

When will new CLA Officers officially take office?

Noon on the second day following adjournment of the Annual Meeting. This year, that’s October 14, 2019.

Who is eligible to run for office?

The general requirements for holding office are set forth in the Bylaws (Article IV, Section 4. (a)) and include:

  • Admission to the practice of law in California and being in good standing with the State Bar;
  • Having been admitted to practice law in California for at least five consecutive years;
  • Having been a member of one or more Sections for at least five consecutive years (the Board may waive this provision for candidates for President and Vice President with a 2/3 vote);
  • Having been a member for at least three consecutive years of the Section the Representative represents (this provision does not apply to candidates for President and Vice President); and
  • With exceptions for newly-formed Sections, having served at least one full term on a Section Executive Committee (the Board may waive this provision for candidates for President and Vice President with a 2/3 vote).

The Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be elected from among the incumbent Representatives—those Representatives that are continuing their two-year terms and those Representatives who will be re-elected for second terms and who were on the Board previously. Individuals who are completely new to the Board are not eligible to run as they don’t take office until after the Annual Meeting in October.

The offices of President and Vice President may not be held by individuals on the Board of Representatives. Further, unless waived by a 2/3 vote of the Board, the President and Vice President may not come from the same Section as any of the other Board Officers.

How do I express my interest in running for an office?

Submit the 2019 CLA Officers Application to the Nominating Committee.

Applications and candidate statements of up to two pages may also be submitted via Nominating.Committee@CALawyers.org or directly to Executive Director Ona Dosunmu at Ona.Dosunmu@CALawyers.org.

Completed forms and statements will be shared with the CLA Board and Section Chairs no later than September 3, 2019.

What are the duties for each office?

A general description of the duties that accompany each office is included in the Bylaws (Article VI, Section 8-13).

May I run for more than one office?

Yes, provided that you complete an application by the deadline for each office for which you wish to run.

May I submit a written candidate statement in addition to the application?

Yes. All candidates are encouraged to submit a brief candidate statement along with their application and may answer the questions asked in the application in further detail in the candidate statement. These statements will be distributed to the Board and Section Chairs. Please limit your candidate statement to two pages. You may attach supplemental material, such as letters of reference.

How much time does serving as a CLA Officer take?

Because CLA is new and continues forward in its start-up stage, the time commitment to serve as an officer can be quite substantial.

Generally, officers participate in phone calls about CLA business multiple times each week (often daily), respond to emails multiple times each day, and spend a minimum of two full days every other month on various in-person meetings and activities, including in-person Board meetings.

Officers are encouraged to attend CLA signature events such as the Annual Meeting, the Solo and Small Firm Summit, and membership receptions, and often invited to attend events and meetings with partners and stakeholders, which can include the State Bar, the legislature, judicial partners, Bar Association partners, and other groups engaged in work in the diversity, access to justice, civic education, and legal education arenas. Further, certain Association officers are automatically on the board of our affiliated charity, the California Lawyers Foundation, which also meets regularly.

Because CLA is the statewide voluntary bar association, officer positions, and President and Vice President in particular, require a fair bit of travel, and most frequently to Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Your duties and role as a CLA officer are in addition to your duties and role as a representative to your Section and its activities. By applying and running for office, you are implicitly agreeing to commit the time required to serve as an officer of the organization.

Are there any other responsibilities associated with being an Officer?

Yes. From time to time you may be asked to ask your firm and/or other firms to sponsor various events and activities such as receptions or CLA’s participation in certain governmental relations activities.

Reasonable expenses associated with your service to CLA will be reimbursed pursuant to our travel policy. If you’d like a copy of the policy, please ask call or email Jen Navarro at 916-516-1713 or Jennifer.Navarro@CALawyers.org.

What should I expect at the election meeting?

It’s possible that the election meeting will take the full time allotted and candidates should plan to be there for the full meeting. Our operative CLA Elections Procedures provide that elections happen in the following order:

  • Board Representatives (there is a general assumption that the Board Representatives (“Nominees” in our Bylaws) put forward by the Sections (Nominators) will be approved as a slate. If a full slate does not pass, then each must be voted on individually.
  • After electing the Board Representatives, the Board Officers are elected in the following order: Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and Secretary.
  • Finally, the President and Vice President are elected in that order.

Each candidate for each office will be allotted up to five minutes to address the Board and to answer questions (questions and answers do not count against the five-minute allotment but may be limited by the Chair at his or her discretion). Only Board Representatives, the CLA President and CLA Vice President will be permitted to ask questions of the candidates. Elections for each office will be held by secret ballot. The Election meeting will generally proceed as follows:

  • Any other Board business on the agenda will conducted in open session.
  • Candidates for Chair and Vice Chair will make their oral statements in open session.
  • The meeting will go into executive (closed) session with all Board Officer candidates present.
  • All Board Representatives will vote for the slate of 2020 Board Representatives.
  • Candidates for Chair and Vice Chair will then be excused.
  • The Board will discuss the candidates for Chair and Vice Chair, vote by secret ballot and the results will be announced.
  • The meeting will re-open and candidates for Secretary and Treasurer will make their oral statements.
  • The meeting will go into executive (closed) session and candidates for Secretary and Treasurer will be excused.
  • The Board will discuss the candidates for Secretary and Treasurer, vote by secret ballot and the results will be announced.
  • The meeting will re-open and candidates for President and Vice President will make their oral statements.
  • The meeting will go into executive (closed) Session and candidates for President and Vice President will be excused.
  • The Board will discuss the candidates for President and Vice President, vote by secret ballot and the results will be announced.

If there are more than two candidates for an office and no single candidate gets a majority of votes, there will be a run-off election. If there is a tie, then further discussion is called for. Finally, if there is a tie that cannot be resolved, “then the tie shall be determined by lots in a manner determined by the Officer Election Chair” (in this case, the Board Chair).

During the discussion, the Chair may limit statements by Board Representatives to two minutes. In the interest of moving the meeting along expeditiously, Board Representatives are encouraged not to repeat comments with which they agree and in selecting people to call on during discussion, the Chair will likely favor those who have not spoken or who have spoken less.

If I win, then what?

If you win, there will be an immediate opportunity to meet with the outgoing officers and senior executive team over dinner after the Elections Meeting. In October, you will be sworn in by the Chief Justice at the Annual Meeting and you will officially take office two days after the Annual Meeting adjourns.

In addition, if you are new to the CLA officers’ group, the current officers and senior executive team will work with you between now and then to make sure you’re up to speed and poised to have a successful leadership year!

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