California Lawyers Association

Chief Executive Officer

Articles and updates from CLA C.E.O. and Executive Director Ona Alston Dosunmu

For decades I was a practicing lawyer. Now I, along with volunteer officers, help lead a bar association. I enjoy leading the California Lawyers Association and here’s why. Leading CLA provides opportunities to step back from the day-to-day grind of getting stuff done as an attorney and to consider the entire profession from a higher altitude. These opportunities pop up in many ways. For example, last week I attended an event celebrating Mansfield certified firms. Read more
2020 will be a year for the California Lawyers Association to innovate, adapt, change and grow. And I couldn’t be more excited. That said, change and growth can be hard and scary. Read more
Welcome to 2020! It’s hard to believe it’s the second decade of the 21st century. I’m looking forward to a number of things in the coming year but I also spent a fair amount of time during the holiday hiatus reflecting on 2019 and thinking about the longer-term future of the California Lawyers Association. The result of all that hard thinking? Today I’m more convinced than ever of CLA’s extraordinary potential. I believed it in August of 2018 when I spoke to a number of you in the interview process. Read more
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. Read more
You know it’s late in the year when you begin scheduling things on your calendar for “early in the New Year” or “after the holidays.” I’ve reached the point where I’m counting the few precious days I’ll actually be in the office to work between now and year-end. Read more
As I prepare to travel to Monterey for my first Annual Meeting since becoming Executive Director of the California Lawyers Association, I am feeling celebratory. Preparing for the Annual Meeting is a huge undertaking and I’m extraordinarily grateful to the volunteer leaders, particularly those on the Annual Meeting committee, and our professional team from Sacramento, who worked so hard to make it happen. And we have a lot to celebrate! Read more
The California Association of Black Lawyers has selected California Lawyers Association Executive Director Ona Alston Dosunmu to receive its 2019 Leader Award. The award recognizes Dosunmu’s “exemplary work ethic and performance” as well as “commitment and dedication to furthering the laws of the Great State of California,” according to Andrew W. Houston, president of the California Association of Black Lawyers, which represents over 6,000 African-American attorneys, judges, law professors and students. Dosunmu came to the California Lawyers Association in January… Read more
September 2019 By Ona Alston Dosunmu In October of this year, our association will celebrate its first Board-level leadership transition. Both our first President, Heather Rosing, and our first Chair, Jim Hill, will be stepping down and giving new leadership an opportunity to step up. While we don’t yet know who will take the reins of our nascent organization, we do know that the California Lawyers Association and, whether they know it or not, every lawyer in the state, owes… Read more
A while back—after our June Board meeting but before our July Board call, I giddily announced to two volunteer leaders that our June Board meeting was “the best ever.” One of them wryly pointed out that it was only my second in-person meeting. While that’s true, it was a pretty great meeting. Read more
When I interviewed to become executive director of the California Lawyers Association, I told the Board that one of the biggest and most exciting opportunities facing the organization was the ability to scan the landscape, learn from mistakes made by others and in effect “leapfrog” history to build a bar association for the 2020s and beyond. Read more

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