On almost a daily basis, I receive contact/communications as State Bar president. That doesn’t sound unusual, and some of you could identify some things that the president does. More often, even from members with some knowledge, I get two questions: What does the State Bar president really do? How do you do it?
The answer to the first question depends on how dedicated you want to be. First, there are meetings for Board of Governors, Executive Committee, and Finance Committee. At a minimum these take up 18 days of my year. I have not missed a meeting. As an ex officio member of every committee, I can also attend other meetings, as I have on occasion.
Second, there are events. If I’m not selective, events would fill my entire calendar. In the ideal world, I would attend more events, but as it is, I attend an array of recognition events, ABA and other meetings, and swearing-in ceremonies. These differ in duration. Some appearances are literally minutes for a greeting or introduction. Others include my participation as a presenter. And still others cover hours, such as the wonderful day I spent at the U.W. Law School.
Third, there are “business” aspects, usually involving discussions or emails. I cannot respond to every contact on every subject. But I am a proponent of more detailed responses than the usual, either directly or through the Bar; and I am a believer in picking up the phone and having substantive discussions with members. These contacts result in members understanding issues and collectively getting things done.
Fourth, and certainly not least, is my effort to absorb as much information as possible about the Bar and its operations, members and their practices, changes in law office practice, and innovations for the legal profession. I read, I study, I ask questions. I am always receiving input. Until you are in this position, and put in this effort, you cannot even begin to imagine the knowledge that is available. And, of course, the time and effort then goes on, to determine the best approach to lead members and improve the Bar.
And how do I do this? You are all very busy, so I assume you know the answer: I place my leadership responsibilities near the top of the priority list, and I force myself to be very efficient and very ambitious at the same time. I still have to practice law full time, so it is my personal time that takes a hit. It is not possible to only set aside a certain time to address State Bar matters. The work has to be done along with other work, and as needed. There are evenings and weekends spent on Bar matters.
So we have the cycle of volunteerism and leadership at a high level: a lot of time and effort, resulting in a wealth of knowledge and satisfaction for me. There is much work to do, and I will keep at it. Thanks for the opportunity.