California Lawyers Association

Thankful for a Remarkable Journey

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September 2023

By Jeremy M. Evans

Jeremy Evans

Godspeed, my friends, and thank you! 

What a journey it has been! Over 100,000 miles traveled since the start of my California Lawyers Association Presidency in September 2021. It was a dream turned into reality. Dreams are but realities yet to happen, if only we just believe. What started with a swearing-in ceremony with the Chief Justice of California on our screens ended soon after at a Gala in tuxes and dresses. Something impossible but for Providence, time, hard work, and wonderful people. 

After two years, I have only one regret—that we only had more time to serve and accomplish and see more. Then again, every earthly journey has an end, which is a blessing and a beautiful thing. We accomplished what we set out to complete. I love California and the relationships we have maintained, created, and developed with bar leaders and beyond.  

Hitting Our Goals 

We wanted a more prominent brand presence for CLA. The CLA brand is now well-known and growing with the help of each of you and our terrific communications team. 

I began my presidency with the initial task of leading the hiring committee for a new CEO and Executive Director to run operations for CLA, which started in September of that year and ended soon after in December. It resulted in CLA hiring the excellent Oyango A. Snell, Esq. Working with him and the leadership of CLA and the California Lawyers Foundation (CLF) has been a pleasure these past two years. 

We wanted to increase membership. We saw just over 2% growth—remarkable in a business and legal environment where people join organizations less frequently. 

We wanted to travel to meet other bar leaders and associations and grow CLA’s legislative influence, friends, and programs. I spoke and traveled all around beautiful California, to many cities, north, south, east, and west, to at least 15 states and multiple foreign countries to establish, maintain, and grow relationships for the organization. Many of you joined me on this journey. Many also shared countless screen or phone time in the virtual part of the journey. Thank you to the staff and bar leaders around the state, America, and the globe!  

We established the Bar Friendship Program with rural communities and all bar associations to offer similar member benefits and discounted yearly dues. We held branding seminars to help attorneys build their influence and businesses. We advocated for the legal profession relentlessly and zealously, with class and imprimatur, on the Civility Task Force, Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of the Bar Exam, and in countless legislative affairs discussions. 

We started the President’s Gala with the California Judges Association (CJA) to celebrate the legal profession and judiciary. It was the first of its kind in California for CLA, bringing together the legal community to highlight professionalism, camaraderie, and community by awarding and recognizing the best of the best. As I continue my service to CLA, we will also look to add a golf-mentor outing for all at next year’s Annual Meeting. 

The relationships with the CJA and our partnership cannot be overstated. CJA Presidents Byrdsong and Rosenberg, CEO and Executive Director Nicole Bautista, and countless others on the Bench-Bar Coalition have been wonderful friends and allies. We look forward to continue working together to serve the legal profession and the community. Thank you for your trust and guidance. 

Lastly, but most importantly, we started the Health and Wellness Committee through Sara Rief and many others, with a focus on attorney mental awareness and support at the heart of building a better legal profession. A healthy profession is one that is wise, attune to self, family, and client needs. We must stay vigilant to be strong people to be a stronger profession.  

Together, We Rise

Most of all, through my presidency, I met all of you. Your wonderful personalities and stories. Your big hearts, quirks, and laughs. We all have them if we just use them more willingly and often. You showed me your beautiful true colors. Thank you for being you and sharing a piece of you with me. It was rewarding to share in our mission together.  

It has been one of the great honors of my life to serve you. It has been the highest honor of my legal career to serve you and the legal profession in a state with 190,000 licensed attorneys. As we embark on the next journey, I will reach 40 years of age this October. To be honest, I never envisioned life at 40, maybe because I had never been there before, but more importantly, because I lived for the moment—wanting to cherish every aspect while also planning for the future, expecting life’s inevitable changes. 

Now, as the sun sets on this two-year journey but rises again with new leadership, I can reflect on the “friendship agreements,” or “best friend agreements,” as a colleague once quipped, with bar associations across the United States and the globe as a lasting mark of the impact made in growing and serving the legal profession towards a healthier future with programming, cooperation, friendship, business, and ideas. The International Law and Immigration Section has done terrific work to put together thirteen additional friendship agreements over the years, which we will continue to cherish and develop collaboration and relationships.

During my term, not counting the existing work and agreements, I signed friendship agreements with the Guam Bar Association, Ilustre y Nacional Colegio de Abogados de México (INCAM) (Illustrious National Bar Association of Mexico) (founded in 1760, it is also the oldest bar association in the Western Hemisphere), which complements the existing friendship Agreement with the National Association of Business Lawyers in Mexico (ANADE), Chisinau Bar Association (Chisinau being the capital of the Eastern European country, Moldova), Virgin Islands Bar Association, and the New York State Bar Association, which was preceded by a terrific joint Metaverse conference focused on the future acceptance and delivery of legal needs and services. There were also many adventures with friends and colleagues in the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates, where we fought for foundational principles in attorney ownership of law firms and providing a pathway for student loan relief for attorneys practicing in rural communities where clients needed more services. Thank you for your friendship and contributions, fellow bar leaders! 

Next Step in the Journey

I look forward to continuing to serve each of you, the legal profession, and the broader community. I am serving on the board of directors for CLF, the charitable arm of CLA, launching and chairing the forthcoming CLA Task Force on Artificial Intelligence, and helping to showcase the vision and members at the Annual Meeting in September in San Diego, the place where my legal career began during and after law school. I will also continue my service on the Executive Council of the National Conference of Bar Presidents (NCBP), continuing to learn and share lessons from bar presidents across the country. 

Lastly, I will continue as Immediate Past President for two years (2023-2025). President-Elect Betty Williams, Vice President-Elect Sabrina Green, Chair-Elect Tara Burd, Vice Chair-Elect Terrance Evans, Treasurer-Elect Jill Manning, and Secretary-Elect Anthony Lai, along with the CEO and Executive Director, will continue to lead, serve, and provide excellent leadership and services. I could not have picked a better group to lead CLA, along with the outstanding CLA Board of Representatives, who have entrusted me with leading the past two years and beyond and provided their guidance, support, and encouragement. I will remember most their trust in me and their amazing stewardship. Like the many bar leaders and members I have met across California, these United States, and the world, I have been blessed with friends, their collective wisdom, and a warm handshake. 

I will also rest, plot the future, and execute long-term plans for myself and the practice. Travel and leadership require reflection and rest before moving on to the next adventure. Over the last two years, the common saying was, “Where in the world is Jeremy Evans?!” made popular by the famous television series. I love being an attorney and often hear when traveling that we picked a great profession when traveling. It is an honorable one, which we should be reminded of from time to time. We took every opportunity to lead with grace, humility, an open door, and a willing hand and heart. 

I want to thank all the wonderful CLA Sections, leaders, and staff. Leadership is almost always a team effort in application and decision-making. I was blessed to be around brilliant minds who shared their advice and provided a listening ear. I will take the lessons learned in patience, love, understanding, and courage with me into the next step in the journey. 

As actor Anthony Hopkins said in the film “Meet Joe Black,” “I only wish you could have a life as lucky as mine.” And but for a moment that I have your unwavering and undivided attention, let me share this. Thank you for listening and allowing me to lead. The humble California kid, youngest of nine children, proud child of Rick and Audrey, first to attend and graduate from college and graduate school. The third president of the California Lawyers Association. A man of many beautiful and cherished friends. 

God bless you. God bless America, the California Lawyers Association, and the Great State of California. As Frank Sinatra sang, “The best is yet to come, and won’t that be just fine.” Indeed, it will be. 

Thank you!

Yours Truly, 

Jeremy Evans signature

Jeremy M. Evans
President, California Lawyers Association 

Want to read past messages from President Evans? Read more, below!

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