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Media Contact

Tej Baath | Director of Marketing and Membership | California Lawyers Association 
916-284-2000 |

2019 News Releases

Daily Journal Covers Access to Justice Seed Funding

The July 22, 2019 print edition of the Daily Journal covered the decision of California lawmakers to provide funding to help the California Commission on Access to Justice split from the State Bar. The new legislation mandates that the first $150,000 in revenue from the State Bar’s affinity insurance products in 2020 and 2021 will go to the commission.

CLA President, Heather Rosing provided the following quote for the article:

“The people on the access commission are some of the top leaders in the quest to ensure access to justice for all Californians, so it is critical the access commission have some initial funding. Without funding, they will not be able to continue on with this really important work.”

CLA Picks Up Five ABA House of Delegates Seats

February 6, 2019 — The American Bar Association (ABA), after a vote at its midyear meeting in Las Vegas, has granted California Lawyers Association (CLA) five seats in ABA’s House of Delegates, to be implemented as soon as August of this year. With support from the State Bar of California, the state will soon be represented in the ABA by six delegates from the State Bar and five delegates from CLA. 

“CLA is excited to work with both the State Bar and the ABA to promote excellence, diversity, and fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law. The work of the ABA House of Delegates and that of CLA intersect very nicely,” says CLA President Heather Rosing.

Following CLA’s split from the State Bar, the sharing of delegates will help better represent the interests of all California lawyers in the ABA and in its policies. State Bar Executive Director and Board of Trustees Chair Jason Lee drafted a letter in support of CLA’s involvement.

The letter states “such a split of the state-wide delegation recognizes that both the State Bar and California Lawyers Association should be represented in the American Bar Association House of Delegates to ensure full and fair representation of the interests of California attorneys on the range of issues that span both organizations.”

This month, CLA moved into its new Sacramento headquarters and bolstered staff to augment its advocacy with the Legislature. During CLA’s first Annual Meeting late last year, ABA president Bob Carlson lauded CLA’s efforts.

“We have had a long history of working with the State Bar, and now we look forward to turning the page and starting a long history of working with the California Lawyers Association,” he said. “What we need is a strong national voice in collaboration and cooperation with strong state and local voices,” he added.

CLA intends to actively and responsibly utilize its delegate seats. CLA members are public and private attorneys, in-house counsel, judges, governmental officials, law professors and law students, and other legal professionals who help to promote excellence and diversity in the legal profession and the administration of justice.


Established in 2018, California Lawyers Association (CLA) is a nonprofit, voluntary organization, and the new home of the Sections of the State Bar of California and the California Young Lawyers Association. CLA’s mission is to promote excellence, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law. For more information, visit

Contact: Tej Baath, 916-284-2000,

2018 News Releases

Help the Survivors of the California’s Camp Fire (Butte County) Woolsey Fire (LA and Ventura Counties) and the Hill Fire (Venture County)

Sign up to volunteer:

Attorneys will be needed to help staff information hotlines and provide direct legal services through various California legal services programs and area law schools. Attorneys may also be needed to help supervise law students who can provide service. There are several places to sign up to assist with these efforts. This listing will be refreshed as more opportunities become available: State Bar of California Registry.

Pepperdine Law School currently has set up a clinic and they are in need of volunteers now to assist.



Butte County 1-800-345-9491 
Los Angeles County 1-800-870-0732
Ventura County 1-877-301-4448

The State Bar of California has set up a resource page.

Morrison and Foerster LLP has created comprehensive guides to help victims in disasters. 

Disaster Legal Aid Collaborative of Northern California (formerly the Bay Area Resilience Collaborative) has training videos and resources available to train attorney volunteers. Information is currently housed on the Alameda County Bar website.

Disaster Legal Aid also has a significant number of resources, including resources for advocates, and sample forms

The National Employment Law Project has updated materials to assist those who were not able to attend work in light of fires.

United Policyholders also has made available disaster resources as it relates to insurance issues

Free Access to Fastcase is also available to attorneys or volunteers in need. Click here to register for a  free trial . Or email for additional support.

If you would prefer to make a financial donation to support legal services programs, please consider donating here:

Legal Talk Network Speaks with California Lawyers Association at 2018 Annual Meeting in San Diego

October 24, 2018 – At our Annual Meeting in San Diego, CLA leaders and members spoke with the Legal Talk Network on a variety of topics. Legal Talk Network’s On the Road series, which covers conferences and other legal industry events and meetings, features these conversations online as podcasts.

In one podcast, CLA President Heather Rosing, Acting Executive Director Pam Wilson, Chair Jim Hill, Vice Chair Chip Wilkins, and Vice President Emilio Varanini discussed CLA leadership and the future of the organization after its split from the State Bar. Congressman Brian Baird, who delivered the Annual Meeting’s Morrison Address, also spoke with Legal Talk Network about distinguishing facts from opinion in today’s political climate. In another podcast, CYLA Past Chair Lauren Powe talks about the benefits of joining the California Young Lawyer’s Association.

Other selected podcasts include Jim Lambe and Janet Hong on the jury selection process; Suma Peesapati, Jennifer Novak, and Jon Rohrer on enforcement issues in environmental law; Nell Wertlieb on changes to the California Rules of Professional Conduct; Shirin Forootan and Tamara Freeze on avoiding employment lawsuits; Erin Gerstenzang and Megan Zavieh on social media for lawyers; Michael Iseri on cybersecurity for law firms; Larry Wayte and Juanita Brooks on cross examining experts; Robert Klein, Sabrina Green, Steven Mayer, Philip Shapiro, and Sarah Redpath on the Solo and Small Firm Section; and Cynthia Elkins on classifying independent contractors.

Click here to access all of the podcasts from the Annual Meeting. 

California Lawyers Association Business Law Section to Co-Sponsor California Consumer Privacy Act Panel with Santa Clara University

October 22, 2018 – Sacramento, California – The Business Law Section of California Lawyers Association (CLA), together with the Santa Clara University School of Law, the Santa Clara Privacy Certificate Program, and the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), will co-sponsor a panel on the California Consumer Privacy Act at Santa Clara University on November 1, 2018. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 will widely impact businesses and individuals alike, prompting changes in privacy policies, contracts, and data handling practices at both statewide and national levels. The panel will conduct an important discussion on the new law and its potential impacts.

Panelists will feature California Consumer Privacy Association Chair Alastair Mactaggart, whose ballot initiative led to the passage of the 2018 law, as well as Lindsey Tonsager, West Coast lead for Covington & Burling LLP privacy and cybersecurity practice, and Professor Lydia F. de la Torre, co-director of the Santa Clara Law Privacy Certificate Program. Joshua de Larios-Heiman, Co-Chair of CLA’s Business Law Section’s Internet and Privacy Law Committee, will moderate the panel.

“We at CLA are honored to be co-sponsoring a panel of thought leaders to promote better understanding of the California Consumer Privacy Act,” said Joshua de Larios-Heiman. “CLA is mandated to educate California attorneys on important legal developments, and the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 is one of the most important legal developments in recent history. CLA is fulfilling its mandate by co-sponsoring events such as this one. I look forward to moderating the panel and helping to extract practical insight from the esteemed panelists,” added de Larios-Heiman.

Lydia de la Torre, who teaches comparative data protection law at Santa Clara Law School, says, “Santa Clara University is committed to educating the next generation of data protection and privacy professionals and, for that purpose, we adopted in 2014 a rigorous first-in-the-nation Privacy Law Certificate program that requires students to complete rigorous academic, experiential, and publication requirements. I have been researching State data laws for over a year and, in my judgement, the California Consumer Privacy Act 2018 is the most important development in the field and is likely to be the model that other States and the Federal government will follow to enact future privacy and data protection laws. This event will be a great opportunity to explore its requirements and help uncover paths to compliance.”

The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 grants California residents the right to access their personal information; know which categories of personal information about them are being collected and shared; request deletion of personal information; and opt-out of data “sells.”

More information and registration details can be found here.


Established in 2018, California Lawyers Association (CLA) is a nonprofit, voluntary organization, and the new home of the Sections of the State Bar of California and the California Young Lawyers Association. CLA’s mission is to promote excellence, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law. For more information, visit

Contact: Josh de Larios-Heiman,, 415.519.0696

California Lawyers Association Partners with Fastcase

Members Gain Free Access to Leading Legal Research Library

October 17, 2018 – Sacramento, CA and Washington, DC – California Lawyers Association(CLA) and Fastcase today announced a partnership that will provide free access to Fastcase’s nationwide legal research system for all members of the nation’s largest statewide voluntary bar association.

Beginning early 2019, CLA members will receive access to one of the largest law libraries in the world. This member benefit will be included as a complimentary resource for all members of at least one paid  CLA Section (formerly Sections of the State Bar of California).

CLA’s leadership team has evaluated potential partners to provide benefits for its members and determined that a partnership with Fastcase, with its leading research libraries, analytics, sorting tools, and visualization options, is the best option for offering legal research to its members.

“At CLA, one of our primary goals is to provide a wide variety of resources to attorneys in California, to allow their practices to thrive and their clients to receive the highest quality legal services,” said Heather Rosing, CLA’s first President. “We are proud of what we have accomplished during our inaugural year in terms of benefits for the legal community. Coming in year two, we are excited to announce our new partnership with Fastcase that will allow our members free access to online legal research and more.”

CLA members will receive access to the nation’s most comprehensive legal research services for free – a service that would otherwise cost lawyers and law firms thousands of dollars each year. The research benefit includes unlimited research, printing, webinar training, and reference support; it is not restricted by time or number of transactions. The service also includes unlimited, industry-leading mobile apps, and live customer support from reference attorneys on the Fastcase team.

The subscription is a comprehensive nationwide law library available online anytime, anywhere. Members will be able to access Fastcase through the CLA website at where they will be able to log in with their bar username and password beginning early 2019.

The new member benefit provides access to Fastcase’s extensive legal library of caselaw from all state and federal courts, statutes and regulations from all 50 states and the federal government. The service also includes Fastcase’s industry-leading advanced technology to make legal research smarter and easier, including its mobile apps, patented Interactive Timeline to visualize search results, “Forecite” to suggest cases you missed, and Bad Law Bot, the first big data service to identify negative citations to judicial opinions.

Legal researchers can extend their capabilities in Fastcase with the opportunity to access value-added products, which include the published materials of Full Court Press, data analytics and docket updates with Docket Alarm, and artificial intelligence tools in the AI Sandbox, as well as access to secondary law materials through Wolters Kluwer, Aspen, and CCH.

Thirty-one state bar associations and dozens of metro, county, and specialty bar associations offer Fastcase’s smarter legal research tools as a free benefit to members. Many of the largest law firms in America subscribe to Fastcase, as well as the majority of American law schools and leading corporate counsel. Through these partnerships, Fastcase is made available free to more than 900,000 lawyers, nearly three-quarters of all lawyers in America.

“We started Fastcase to democratize the law, to make it more accessible to more people,” said Fastcase President Phil Rosenthal. “This partnership is significant because it increases access to justice for members and their clients. We couldn’t be more proud to do this work in partnership with the California Lawyers Association. We applaud the leadership team for their diligence and commitment to bringing innovative offerings and resources that meet the needs of their members. ”


Established in 2018, California Lawyers Association (CLA) is a nonprofit, voluntary organization, and the new home of the Sections of the State Bar of California and the California Young Lawyers Association. CLA’s mission is to promote excellence, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law. For more information, visit


As the smarter alternative for legal research, Fastcase democratizes the law, making it more accessible to more people. Using patented software that combines the best of legal research with the best of Web search, Fastcase helps busy users sift through the clutter, ranking the best cases first and enabling the re-sorting of results to find answers fast. Founded in 1999, Fastcase has more than 900,000 subscribers from around the world. Fastcase is an American company based in Washington, D.C. For more information, follow Fastcase on Twitter at @Fastcase, or visit

California Lawyers Association Names Ona Alston Dosunmu Its New Executive Director

October 16, 2018 – Sacramento, California – California Lawyers Association (CLA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Ona Alston Dosunmu as its new Executive Director, effective January 2, 2019. Dosunmu is currently the Vice President and General Counsel of The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. She succeeds acting Executive Director Pam Wilson, who has led the organization since its inception in January 2018. 

Dosunmu will leave Brookings after serving as a key member of its senior executive team for 16 years. Recently she also served as corporate secretary  and Chair of the Inclusion & Diversity Committee. She also contributed to the Institution’s international expansion and helped establish its first Office of the General Counsel. Prior to joining Brookings, Dosunmu worked as an associate at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P.; Latham & Watkins; and Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn, P.L.L.C. Dosunmu received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and earned her B.A. in journalism and M.A. in sociology from Howard University.

“CLA has come very far since the January 1, 2018 rollout as the largest voluntary statewide Bar Association in the country, and we are delighted to welcome Ona Dosunmu as our new Executive Director,” says Heather Rosing, CLA’s inaugural President. “Ona’s deep experience, collaborative style, and familiarity with the issues facing the profession of law will be invaluable to the continued growth of CLA,” Rosing adds.

“I’m thrilled to serve the lawyers, board and other extraordinary volunteers in advancing CLA’s goals and mission. I look forwarding to leading and building a top-flight staff, engaging with our diverse and dedicated legal community and meeting many members in the coming weeks,” Dosunmu said.

Roland Brandel, co-Chair of the Executive Director Search team and one of the longest-serving leaders of the (formerly State Bar) Sections, added, “For several months, our Board-appointed team conducted a nationwide, inclusive, intense search for the best available candidates. The Board set high standards for the unique opportunities CLA presents. Many applied. In Ona, the Board selected a superlative, proven leader.”

 “We are thrilled to have Ona lead THE Bar Association for ALL California Lawyers,” said Jim Hill, inaugural Chair of CLA’s Board of Representatives. “The skills she brings with her from the Brookings Institution are going to be invaluable to us as we grow our own membership and expand our member benefits, much of which has already started under the leadership of our interim executive director, Pam Wilson, and scores of volunteers and other staff.” 

In addition to her professional and academic credentials, Dosunmu has significant experience serving on nonprofit boards—most recently as a director of the Children’s Law Center, as well as a member of Corporate Counsel’s Institute Advisory Board and Corporate Pro Bono Advisory Board.

Dosunmu’s appointment comes at a critical juncture for CLA, which continues to expand and will soon relocate its headquarters to Sacramento effective January 1, 2019.


Established in 2018, California Lawyers Association (CLA) is a nonprofit, voluntary organization, and the new home of the Sections of the State Bar of California and the California Young Lawyers Association. CLA’s mission is to promote excellence, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law. For more information, visit

Contact: Tej Baath, 916-284-2000,

Daily Journal Covers CLA Annual Meeting, Award Ceremony For Retired Justice Kathryn Werdegar

Lyle Moran’s article “Pioneering Justice Kathryn Werdegar awarded Witkin Medal by California Lawyers Association” was published in the Daily Journal on September 18, 2018. California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye presented the Witkin Medal at CLA’s Annual Meeting in San Diego on Saturday, September 15. Cantil-Sakauye said the award, which recognizes someone who made an extraordinary impact on “justice and legal scholarship in our state,” is “tailor-made” for Werdegar.

Werdegar has been a pioneer for women in the legal field, serving on the Supreme Court for 23 years before retiring last year. During her tenure, she wrote crucial opinions in criminal, environmental, and labor law “with a clarity that is unmatched.” She was also the third woman and the first mother to serve on California’s Supreme Court. Werdegar told the Daily Journal that receiving the award is “something she will always cherish.” After the ceremony, she offered encouragement to women lawyers in the audience, saying “you can have it all if you maintain some connection, some determination and have faith in the future.”

Daily Journal Covers CLA Annual Meeting, ABA President Bob Carlson’s Support of CLA

Lyle Moran’s article “ABA president offers support for California Lawyers Association at first convention” was published in the Daily Journal on September 17, 2018. American Bar Association President Bob Carlson addressed CLA’s Annual Meeting attendees on Friday, September 14. “What we need is a strong national voice in collaboration and cooperation with strong state and local voices,” Carlson told the DJ about his commitment to working with CLA.

Carlson expressed enthusiasm about working with CLA to address issues such as lack of diversity in the legal profession and defending the independence of the judiciary. CLA President Heather Rosing told the DJ that CLA is “well-positioned” to discuss and raise awareness for these issues “without the strictures of a government agency” — a unique role explored through the Annual Meeting.

Nicole H. Gordon Named 2018-2019 Executive Committee Chair Of The Environmental Law Section

Nicole H. Gordon, partner at Sohagi Law Group, is the Executive Committee Chair of CLA’s Environmental Law Section for 2018-2019. This is her 5th year on the Section’s Executive Committee, and her 13th year in the Section. Her practice focuses on advising public agencies on complex land use and environmental matters, such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), State Planning & Zoning, and the Endangered Species Act. She frequently lectures on these matters in courses, conferences, and workshops sponsored by UCLA, the American Planning Association (APA), and the Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP).

Gordon says that being a part of the Environmental Law Section “keeps you at the cutting edge in what’s going on in environmental law,” and allows you to interact “with the top attorneys in the state who deal with the issues most relevant to our firm’s clients and the state as a whole.” The Section will hold its 27th Annual Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite, from October 18-21.

California Lawyers Association Announces 2018 Award Recipients

Sacramento, CA – September 6, 2018 – California Lawyers Association (CLA) is pleased to announce the 2018 recipients of four prestigious annual awards, historically given out by the State Bar of California. Going forward, these notable awards will be presented annually by CLA. The State Bar transferred these awards to CLA earlier this year after it transitioned its Sections and the California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA) to CLA pursuant to Senate Bill (SB) 36. The awards will be presented at CLA’s Annual Meetingon September 14-15, 2018 in San Diego.

Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar (Ret.) will receive the 2018 Bernard Witkin Award, named for the renowned legal scholar and bestowed upon individuals who have helped shape the legal landscape through an extraordinary body of work. Justice Werdegar, who recently retired from the bench after having served for 23 years on the California Supreme Court, has authored more than 500 majority, concurring and dissenting opinions that have helped define the contours of California law. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye will present the award at CLA’s Signature Luncheon on September 15.

Attorney Stephen Ronfeldt will receive the 2018 Loren Miller Legal Services Award, named after the African American lawyer, judge, and leader in the Civil Rights Movement. This lifetime achievement award is given to a lawyer who has demonstrated a long-term commitment to extending legal services to the poor. Mr. Ronfeldt was selected for his half-century of unwavering dedication to serving poor and under-represented populations. CLA President Heather Rosing will present this award on September 14.

Attorney Panida Pzonca will receive the 2018 Jack Berman Award of Achievement, named for a young attorney who performed outstanding service to both the public and the profession before he tragically died in a San Francisco shooting. This award is conferred by CLA’s California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA) and recognizes a new or young lawyer for distinguished service to the public, the judiciary, or the legal profession. Ms. Pzonca was selected for her remarkable efforts toward eradicating slavery and human trafficking, particularly in the Thai community. CYLA Chair Lauren Powe will present this award on September 14.

Law firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo (AALRR) will receive the 2018 Law Firm/Legal Employer Diversity Award, which is bestowed upon law firms or legal employers for outstanding efforts in promoting diversity in the legal profession. Since its formation in 1977, AALRR has made diversity a consistent priority, with a goal of creating a culture of inclusivity that can be measured directly in numbers. Diana BectonChair of the State Bar’s Council on Access and Fairness , will present this award on September 14.

CLA is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit, voluntary organizations for lawyers and expects more than 500 legal professionals at its Annual Meeting.

Contact: Heather Linn Rosing 
California Lawyers Association
619-239-8131 x2229 

Ellen Miller-Sharp, CEO and Executive Director of San Diego County Bar Association, to Join California Lawyers Association as Director of Bar Collaborations and Special Projects

Sacramento, CA – August 28, 2018 – California Lawyers Association (CLA) today announced the addition of Ellen Miller-Sharp as the organization’s new Director of Bar Collaborations and Special Projects.

Miller-Sharp currently serves as Executive Director and CEO of the San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA). Before her 11-year tenure at SDCBA, Miller-Sharp worked at the American Bar Association and the State Bar of California, gaining valuable insight and experience in the effective administration of bar associations.

“CLA is so fortunate to welcome Ellen to its executive team,” said CLA President Heather Rosing. “She recently earned the National Association of Bar Executives’ 2018 President’s Award of Excellence. Ellen simply knows how to get things done, and we couldn’t be more fortunate to have her skills, talents and connections joining CLA.”

In her new role, Miller-Sharp will be forging connections between CLA and other bar associations across California with the express goal of developing joint opportunities for educational programming, networking events, and more. Miller-Sharp will also help promote CLA’s commitments to diversity, fairness, and civic engagement, utilizing her experience from similar projects with the San Diego County Bar Association.

“I am excited to build on the historic work and numerous accomplishments of the Sections,” added Miller-Sharp. “The CLA leadership is working hard to give a voice to all lawyers in California, and I am excited to be a part of the drive to establish CLA as the nation’s preeminent bar association.”

Miller-Sharp will begin her new role with CLA in November 2018, while helping the San Diego County Bar Association transition to a new CEO.


CLA is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit, voluntary organizations for lawyers. It is the new home of the Sections of the State Bar of California, as well the California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA). CLA’s mission is to promote excellence and diversity in the legal profession and the administration of justice.

Contact: Heather Linn Rosing 
California Lawyers Association  
619-239-8131 x2229

California Lawyers Association Begins ‘Shaping the Future for All California Lawyers’ with First Annual Meeting on September 14-15, 2018

Sacramento, CA – August 9, 2018– California Lawyers Association (CLA) is hosting its Annual Meeting, Shaping the Future for All California Lawyers, from September 14-15, 2018 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina. CLA is the nation’s largest statewide voluntary association for lawyers and the home of the State Bar of California’s former Sections. The State Bar “spun off” its Sections and the California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA) earlier this year pursuant to Senate Bill (SB) 36, which required the change. CLA was formed as an independent, non-profit organization and, on January 1, 2018, the State Bar transferred all Section and CYLA memberships to CLA. All Section and CYLA members are now CLA members.

With the State Bar no longer hosting its popular annual multi-day gathering of California attorneys and judges, CLA has crafted its Annual Meeting using the same successful model. The CLA conference will include outstanding CLE programming, networking, an interactive session with CLA leadership, two keynote luncheons, awards, receptions, exhibits, and more. The Annual Meeting will provide 48 MCLE-credited programs, taught by a faculty of more than 100 legal scholars and jurists, as well as collaborative events hosted in conjunction with the Conference of California Bar Associations, California Women Lawyers, and other organizations. Attendees can earn up to 12 hours of MCLE credit, including legal specialization credit.

The keynote luncheons will feature a conversation with Justice Kathryn Werdegar, as well as the renowned Morrison Lecture, which was a highlight of the State Bar’s Annual Meeting for more than 85 years. Morrison Lecturers have included Harvard Dean Roscoe Pound, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, Ambassador George F. Kennan, U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright, and U.S. Senator Frank Church. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye will be conducting the swearing in ceremony for the new leaders of both CLA and the California Judges Association.

CLA expects more than 500 legal professionals to attend this newly-constituted annual convention for California attorneys—launching what it believes will become one of the most vital and influential gatherings for all legal professionals in the State.

The pre-registration deadline is August 22, 2018. For more information and to register,visit the CLA Annual Meeting site here.

Heather Linn Rosing
California Lawyers Association
619-239-8131 x2229

California State Bar Sections Form New Nonprofit Organization

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 19, 2018 – The California Lawyers Association (CLA) has now officially launched, shifting oversight of the 16 Sections and the California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA) from the State Bar of California to a voluntary organization, as required by legislation passed in 2017. With nearly 100,000 members, the CLA is the nation’s second-largest professional association for attorneys, smaller only than the American Bar Association. Its first President Heather L. Rosing, first Vice-President Emilio Varanini, Board of Directors and officers began the work of the organization’s inaugural year this week.

“With the launch of CLA, we are on an exciting path toward advancing the legal profession in California,” said Rosing, the first President of the organization. “From day one, we offer a wealth of benefits to practicing California lawyers, and we anticipate adding many, many more. Our goal is to become an indispensable legal resource for the legal community and a tireless advocate for our lawyers and our courts.”

CLA will continue to build on the mission of the Sections, providing educational and networking opportunities, including in-person events, webinars, and publications, for members of the 16 Sections—Antitrust, Business Law, Criminal Law, Environmental Law, Trust and Estates, Family Law, Intellectual Property, International, Labor & Employment, Law Practice Management, Litigation, Public Law, Real Property, Solo and Small Firms, Taxation, and Workers’ Comp—and CYLA. Having been freed from the limitations inherent in being part of a regulatory agency of the State of California, the CLA’s ability to serve and advocate for lawyers, to foster and strengthen ties between lawyers from all practice areas and within and among all segments of society and government is unlimited.

The CLA’s just-launched website, www.calawyers.orgallows CLA members immediate access to all Section materials as well as a link to join the CLA if you are not already a Section member.

Last year, the State Legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 36, which allowed for the incorporation of the Sections and CYLA into a private, 501(c)(6) organization. The unanimous vote by the Legislature followed input from the State Bar and Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 36 into law in October, initiating the transition from the government agency. The State Bar will continue to operate as a regulatory entity, overseeing California attorney admission, licensing, and discipline.

“The California Lawyers Association is an exciting new chapter for our Section and CLA members generally. The new organization allows us to be more responsive to member needs, to provide a broader range of cost-effective products and services, and to conduct focused advocacy to help ensure our members’ professional success,” said Matthew J. Spark, Chair of the Intellectual Property Law Section. “We look forward to providing an enhanced level of service and community to the membership.”

Jim Hill, newly elected Chair of the CLA Board; Emilio Varinini, newly elected Vice-President; Heather Rosings, newly elected President; Lee Berger, newly elected Secretary, and; Chip Williams, newly elected Vice-Chair. Not pictured: Betty Williams, newly elected Treasurer.

“Scores of our Section volunteers have worked incredibly hard this past year along with leaders and volunteers of the other Sections to emerge as an integral component of the CLA, soon to be known within and outside our state borders as the bar association for all California lawyers,” said Jim Hill, Chair of the new CLA Board. “We will continue to make excellence our standard. We will become only stronger as part of the CLA.”

Under the new organization, each of the 16 Sections and CYLA has elected one delegate to the CLA Board, ensuring equal representation. State Bar staff and the Council of State Bar Sections—the leadership body through which all Sections previously interacted—oversaw the transition to the nonprofit organization from 2017 to 2018. Membership in the Sections is automatically transferred to CLA and will remain intact and renewable, as long as members pay annual dues to the State Bar and Section membership fees to the CLA (through the State Bar).

For more information on the mission of the California Lawyers Association or how to join, please visit

About California Lawyers Association:

California Lawyers Association (CLA), a nonprofit, Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(6) organization, is committed to promoting excellence, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law. CLA comprises the Sections and California Young Lawyers Association, and represents the vast diversity of California’s legal community and the various areas of law practiced throughout the state. For more information, visit

News for CLA Members

Do Atty Hopefuls With Criminal Records Get A Fair Shake?, Law360, July 21, 2019

2019 CLA Media Mentions

In the Spotlight: La Cañada attorney wins award for excellence from California Lawyers Association, Los Angeles Times, June 25, 2019

California prosecutors will hit legal roadblock in seeking death penalty against suspect in 1973 murderNBC News, February 21, 2019

Creating her own organizational culture at new California lawyers groupSacramento Business Journal, February 18, 2019  

The case for bar associations: Why they matter​, ABA Journal, February 2019

California Split: 1 year after nation’s largest bar became 2 entities, observers see positive change, ABA Journal, February 2019

2018 CLA Media Mentions

CLA’s Advocacy Efforts Featured in Daily Journal

CLA’s Advocacy Efforts Featured in Daily Journal Lyle Moran’s article, “New state lawyers group marks a year of legislative influence,”  [Daily Journal on December 27, 2018], highlighted the role CLA has and will play in advocating for the legal profession.  CLA’s opposition to an attempt to tax legal services, which failed to become law, is just one example of CLA’s successful advocacy in representing its 100,000 members before the Legislature.  CLA’s advocacy efforts will increase in 2019, “We are looking to increase our stature as a resource to the Legislature,” Association president Heather L. Rosing said.  The creation of CLA through the separation from the State Bar gives the organization greater latitude in its efforts to represent its members.  “We are writing on a broader canvas so to speak,” Director of Government Affairs Saul Bercovitch noted.

California Lawyers Association Grants Members Free Access to Fastcase, Legal Tech News, October 23, 2018

CLA Annual Meeting 2018: California Rules of Professional Conduct Update, Legal Talk Network, October 16, 2018 

CLA Annual Meeting 2018: Hear from the Leaders of the Bar, Legal Talk Network, October 15, 2018

CLA Annual Meeting 2018: The California Young Lawyers Association, Legal Talk Network, October 15, 2018

Pioneering Justice Kathryn Werdegar awarded Witkin Medal by California Lawyers Association, Lyle Moran, Daily Journal, September 18, 2018

ABA president offers support for California Lawyers Association at first convention, Lyle Moran, Daily Journal, September 17, 2018

New State Bar chair, trustees sworn in, Erin Lee, Daily Journal, September 14, 2018

California Lawyers Association hires SD County Bar CEO, Lyle Moran, Daily Journal, August 23, 2018

California Lawyers Association: The State Bar Sections Reinvented, Heather L. Rosing, Reprint from the Sacramento County Bar association Sacramento Lawyer Magazine, May/June 2018

Newly Formed California Lawyers Association Excited to Step Forward, Marilyn Cavicchia, Bar Leader, American Bar Association, Volume 42, Number 5, May-June 2018

What’s The Matter With California? Bar Exam Edition, Jill Switzer,, May 23, 2018

California Lawyers Association Meets on Tribal Land for the First Time (Family Law Section), Kim Stoll, Director of Public Relations Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians,, April 24, 2018

Brown Signs Bill Separating Sections From State Bar, Metropolitan News-Enterprise, Tuesday, October 3, 2017

California Bar’s Sections Could Split Off From State Bar, Casey C. Sullivan,, December 14, 2016

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