California Lawyers Association

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

December 2019

By Ona Alston Dosunmu

Whether you celebrate, Hanukkah or Christmas or your celebrations are more secular, in this season of lights and giving don’t forget to give to yourself. I don’t have young children at home but apparently this season’s top toys range from a Fortnite-branded nerf gun to the now-classic dancing Elmo of Sesame Street fame. And if you’re buying for adults, you don’t need me to tell you that there’s practically no limit to the number of ways you can be separated from your money in the pursuit of some gadget or bauble that will make a loved one light up. Many of us can relate to having piles of abandoned toys or not-quite-right but well-intended sweaters or hats sitting around waiting for the spirit of Marie Kondo to move us to de-clutter. Some gifts, however, occupy no physical space and endure a lifetime. Among them are knowledge, meaningful, impactful experiences, and relationships. Renewing your membership in CLA is an opportunity to give yourself all of these.

CLA offers print publications that are regarded as best-in-class in their practice areas. From The Practitioner, edited by the Solo and Small Firm Section, to the Bottom Line, edited by the Law Practice Management and Technology Section, your CLA membership delivers knowledge in various forms to your email in-box and physical mailbox year-round. Whether it’s delivered via webinar or in-person our extraordinary continuing legal education gives you what you need to keep up with the evolving legal landscape and to take your skills to the next level. Whether you’ve just graduated, are on track to make partner or to make a career shift, CLA has courses for you. And, of course, if you don’t have the mandatory hours required in the specialty areas, we have you covered. In 2020 we will add to our traditional offerings by including learning opportunities to help with work-life-balance and health and wellness.

In addition to offering relevant knowledge, CLA offers events and conferences that provide opportunities to simultaneously learn and develop relationships—whether they be with potential clients, prospective co-counsel or attorneys who may refer matters to you. These meetings also present an opportunity to engage with peers from around the state. The gatherings range from the fairly specialized—such as the Golden State Institute, which focuses on antitrust and unfair competition law, and the Yosemite Conference, which gathers environmental lawyers and related professionals—to the general, including CLA-wide flagship events—the Annual Meeting and the Solo Small Firm Summit, both of which provide opportunities to meet and network with members of the judiciary as well as other lawyers. Plans are underway to ensure that CLA’s 2020 annual meeting will include even more interaction with the California Judges Association.

Most attorneys would agree that pro bono work provides them with some of their most rewarding and meaningful professional experiences. On Monday, December 9, the Litigation Section will host its Military and Veterans Summit. I had the privilege of participating in discussions about the summit with one of its organizers. Words are insufficient to describe the enthusiasm with which our members have embraced the task of equipping attorneys with the tools to assist the veterans who’ve given so much to our nation. The California Lawyers Foundation recently received notice from the IRS that its request for tax exempt status has been granted, so 2020 promises to provide even more opportunities to give back to communities around the state.

Whatever you celebrate, don’t forget to renew your CLA membership—it’s the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. Happy Holidays!

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