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State Bar Board of Trustees Begins Strategic Planning for the Next Five Years

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January 21, 2022

At its meeting January 20 and 21, the State Bar Board of Trustees began work on the State Bar’s next five-year strategic plan, which is expected to continue at a February meeting and be finalized at the Board’s March meeting.

“This Board is committed to setting a proactive, definitive, and bold direction for the State Bar’s next five years,” said Board Chair Ruben Duran. “We must take advantage of our opportunities and overcome our challenges in order to fulfill our expansive mission of public protection, access, and inclusion. The State Bar’s last strategic plan paved the way for an agency solely focused on public protection. We are thinking ambitiously about how to elevate and amplify that mission even further in the next five years.” 

The Board reviewed progress on the State Bar’s previous strategic plan and considered extensive stakeholder input gathered through a variety of methods, including:

  • Interviews with key legislative and judicial branch stakeholders as well as leadership of many State Bar affiliated committees;
  • A survey disseminated to all State Bar licensees, which generated nearly 4,000 responses;
  • An innovative series of online Thought Exchange topics, which gathered input from the public; and
  • Internal discussion meetings that gathered staff input.

Internally focused operational issues/priorities that emerged from these discussions clustered around the following themes, which also will inform the plan’s goals and objectives:

  • Prioritize consumer-focused strategies;
  • Streamline technological advancements and data management organization-wide;
  • Increase capacity for research and evaluation;
  • Promote a culture of collaboration;
  • Prioritize employee development and engagement; and
  • Lead with diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values across the organization.

COVID-related actions

In other actions at the January meeting, the Board approved measures intended to mitigate the impact of the Omicron variant surge of COVID-19 and safeguard members of the public, court participants, and State Bar staff and judges:

  • Approved requirements for those taking the February Bar Exam to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results within timeframes compliant with the California Department of Public Health’s recently updated order for indoor mega-events. The Board also gave staff the authority to revise the requirements as needed should public health orders change, consistent with its direction that the rules apply to all test-takers.
  • Approved a COVID vaccination requirement for in-person public meetings of the Board and subentities; members of the Board, subentities, and invited guests will be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, subject to medical or religious exemptions allowed by law, to attend State Bar meetings in person.
  • Adopted interim rule 5.19 of the Rules of Procedure of the State Bar of California, authorizing the State Bar Court to order that its proceedings through April 1, 2022, be conducted remotely.

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