The Bar year is winding down. About six months ago, I took some time to write on basic State Bar structure and calendar. Our current fiscal year will end June 30, 2013. In the three months that we have left, several items loom as important.
Elections. Annual State Bar elections are right around the corner. We will be picking a new president-elect, a new treasurer, and a Judicial Council representative, in addition to filling the next group of Board of Governors positions. Please follow the election/candidate information that is available to you, and please vote. This is one of the simplest, yet most important ways you can fashion your profession and energize the Bar.
Leadership Development Summit. This first Summit will take place on March 22, 2013. Potential participants were nominated by a diverse group, and about half of those nominated have been chosen to participate. Pairs of presenters will interact with participants. For years, I have recognized a gap in our Bar leadership. Long-time leaders have continued to serve in traditional roles, but aside from a select few, middle-aged and young leaders have drifted away from the process. Because the profession is rapidly changing, it is necessary to actually develop our future leaders. I look forward to working with the participants so that the Bar can move away from a status quo approach and toward a new and dynamic vision. The Board of Governors Advancement Committee is continuing to assemble its list of 50 innovations for the practice of law; a list that will certainly fit nicely with leadership development.
Young Lawyers Division Leadership Conference. This event, also on March 22, 2013, will be the fourth annual. This is a great program, with outstanding attendance. The Conference boasts an unrivaled opportunity for networking. The YLD is ahead of the curve in terms of its own leadership, and I certainly want to maximize that effort for the benefit of the entire Bar membership. You can see the obvious connection between the Conference and the Summit discussed above. If you are YLD eligible and you are not already participating in YLD events, please do so. The benefits are many and you will not be disappointed.
Budget. We are ahead of budget this year. The new budget, with suggested increases and decreases, will be in place July 1, 2013. We have reserves, but not all “good ideas” can be funded. The Bar has suggested increased funding for staff salaries and benefits. The Finance Committee does not find cuts to volunteers and members to be palatable. In a $10 million plus budget, a suggested shortfall of $100,000 is less than 1 percent. I favor balancing the numbers by addressing efficiency of operations, as has clearly been done so far this year. The committee will make choices, which should reflect specific and quantifiable benefits for members. The Bar is a member organization, so funding, or increased funding, should not occur “just because.”
Yes, an important time – for the future of your Bar.