California Lawyers Association

Chief Executive Officer

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

I, like most people, welcome 2021 and couldn’t wait to watch 2020 recede into the rearview mirror. But for the California Lawyers Association, 2020 was not all bad. Yes, we endured a horrible pandemic—a plague that is ongoing but the end of which is in sight. And yes, once again America wrestled with the ugly truth of its systemic racism. And for many of us, sheltering in place took a toll on our well-being. But thanks to the incredible efforts of volunteer leaders throughout our bar association, CLA met these challenges in ways that are nothing short of amazing for an organization that launched a mere three years ago. Read more
Could there be a worse year than 2020 to graduate from law school? The COVID-19 pandemic meant that the graduating class of 2020 couldn’t have a traditional graduation. Most jurisdictions didn’t have a July bar exam. In California, the earliest opportunity to sit for the exam was in October and, as was the case with other jurisdictions, there was a period of uncertainty about whether the exam would be online or in person. Taking the bar exam is stressful under the best circumstances. Read more
Along with turkey and football, this time of year at the California Lawyers Association tends to bring renewed focus on membership recruiting. While many members may not spend a lot of time thinking about membership outside of renewal season, our professional membership and marketing team wake up every day thinking about how we can create more value for our members and what we can do to grow membership. And they have some pretty sophisticated marketing and social media tools at their disposal. Read more
Responding to member interest and capping off a busy two weeks for the association, CLA has created a new section focused on legal issues, regulations and education of the profession on privacy law, writes C.E.O. Ona Alston Dosunmu. Read more
Earlier this year, the section formerly known as the International Law Section officially changed its name to the “International Law and Immigration Section.” Recently I, along with the Section’s Chair, Josh Surowitz, invited foreign bars with whom CLA has Friendship Agreements to attend our Annual Meeting. These bar-to-bar “treaties” between CLA and overseas bars include agreements with bars ranging from Japan to Mexico to Europe. These events, among others, have caused me to reflect on the tremendous potential the California Lawyers Association has to attract immigration practitioners and lawyers who live, work and practice law in various locales around the world. Read more
History books say the 19th Amendment “gave” women the right to vote. As has been the case with all dramatic expansions of democracy in the United States, it is far more accurate to say that women engaged in a protracted battle and ultimately took the right to vote. Read more
“Nothing lasts forever.” “This too shall pass.” I know it. You know it. We all know, in our heads, that nothing lasts forever and at some point, many of the changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic will end. They will end either because we learn to live with the virus just as we have learned to live with flu, the common cold and HIV, or because there is a vaccine or a cure. Read more
In addition to being the C.E.O. and Executive Director of CLA I am also an attorney. The death of George Floyd has affected me and turned my attention to the meaningful policy interventions that lawyers can champion to help reduce the likelihood that others suffer the same fate. But this month’s piece is less about those policy interventions than it is the personal cry of a mother, a wife and a sister to Black men. Read more
As we begin our third month of sheltering in place, many of us at CLA have begun thinking about what the mid-term future may hold. When California reopens what will it mean for our bar association and what will the new normal look like? It seems unlikely that we will be permitted to gather in groups of more than a few dozen. Even if we’re allowed to do so, will people want to? What will post-pandemic bar associations look like? What will the post-pandemic CLA look like? No one knows for sure, but here are some thoughts based on lessons learned from our experience producing content about COVID-19. Read more
For many of us, the specter of field hospitals, quarantines and life-or-death triage decisions in the wealthiest, most powerful nation on the face of the earth would have been difficult to comprehend as recently as two months ago. Read more

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