California Lawyers Association

Chief Executive Officer

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

In October of 2020, the California Supreme Court approved a Provisional Licensure Program that allows eligible 2019 and 2020 law school graduates to practice as provisionally licensed lawyers under the supervision of fully licensed practitioners. In early 2021, the program was expanded to allow individuals who scored 1390 or higher on a California bar exam administered between July 2015 and February 2020 to participate in the program in lieu of taking the exam again if they complete 300 hours of supervised legal practice under the program. Read more
Having a diverse judiciary comprised of individuals whose experiences give them a window into the lives of the human beings impacted by their rulings is important for many reasons. Read more
Much ink has been spilled on the attack of the U.S. Capitol by a violent mob on January 6. Some of that commentary underscores the stark contrast between the way the crowd was treated in contrast to the way in which those engaging in Black Lives Matter protests during the summer of 2020 were treated. If we expand our aperture, however, and consider the events of January 6 in the context of U.S. history then we see another pattern—a pattern demonstrating the futility of attempting to separate “Black History” in the United States from U.S. History. Read more
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

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