By President Jeremy M. Evans and
Chair of the Board of Representatives Ryan M.F. Baron
It is hard to believe that half a year has passed since we took the oath as President and Chair of the Board of Representatives for CLA. At this juncture, and with the strategic plan process moving forward, we wanted to update you on our progress.
Our first order of business was hiring a new CEO and executive director. We are thrilled that Oyango A. Snell joined us in December, bringing his significant association management and government relations experience.
When we ran for office, we promised to grow our membership. By building our ranks, we strengthen our brand as the bar association for all California lawyers. And we can better fulfill our mission of promoting excellence, diversity, and inclusion in the legal profession and fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law.
Here are five strategies we’ve used to grow our membership:
1. Creating more content through committees. Our new Membership and Engagement Committee (MEC) serves as a sounding board to offer suggestions to improve service to and communications with CLA’s members.
2. Rebranding the California Young Lawyers Association to the New Lawyers Section. We hope this arrangement will create mentorship opportunities and serve as a role in the personal, social, and professional advancement of those just finding their way in their legal careers. The rebrand is also an important part of the new membership structure rolled out in the fall.
3. Creating stronger relationships with the California Legislature. Our fourth annual Legislative Day coming up on April 6 is one of many ways CLA interacts with our state lawmakers. At this event, we will have an opportunity to meet influential players in all three branches of government and present the Legislator of the Year Award to Senator Thomas J. Umberg.
If you’d like to get more involved in our advocacy work, consider applying to the Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC), which advises the Board of Representatives on legislative issues and other governmental affairs matters.
4. Partnering with other bar associations. CLA hosts an annual Bar Leaders Conference to bring members of our profession together to work on issues of common concern.
5. Being the bar association we were meant to be—a voice for lawyers. We are boldly advocating for our members. In January, we submitted a letter to the State Bar of California’s Paraprofessional Working Group sharing our concerns. In November, we weighed in on proposed changes to the State Bar’s required MCLE competency credits and the State Bar’s recommendations for improving civility in the profession. Three of our members have been tapped to serve on the California Supreme Court/State Bar Joint Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of the California Bar Exam, which is set to make recommendations this year.
Of course, we could not do all these things without your support and involvement. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.