By the time you read this, the State Bar will be heading full speed into our busy season. During the summer months, we have fewer member meetings, fewer CLE seminars, and fewer events than you can expect to see come autumn. But the work behind the scenes continues apace.
There is no slowdown in State Bar work during the summer. Just ask the accounting staff, deep into the annual audit during July and August. Or the professional development staff, who are placing finishing touches on PINNACLE® fall seminars and October’s Solo and Small Firm Conference as well as planning the winter and spring programs, including programming for the 2016 Annual Meeting and Conference. Or the marketing staff, who are preparing seminar brochures and laying out the Wisconsin Lawyer™ magazine and informational materials. Building-wide, staff continue with dozens of activities that ensure that the State Bar continues to provide you the programs, products, and services you expect. Members are busy in the summer, too, when the Section Leaders Council meets, the Diversity Clerkship program is in full swing, and members use the building for client meetings.
But, as with teachers and students returning to school, the pace ratchets up after Labor Day. That is when the State Bar’s Board of Governors, committees, sections, and divisions meet more regularly, the number of seminars held at the Bar Center increases, and annual programs, such as the High School Mock Trial program that culminates in one Wisconsin team competing at the nationals in May 2016, begin anew.
Even though we are barely three months into the year, planning and decisions are already being made that affect FY17, which begins July 1, 2016.
It is also when the staff and bar leadership begin preparations for the next year. The State Bar’s fiscal and governance years run from July 1 to June 30, so this year is fiscal year 2016, or FY16. Even though we are barely three months into the year, planning and decisions are already being made that affect FY17, which begins July 1, 2016. In August, the Executive Committee met to review all the Bar’s FY15 activities to determine which activities are not chargeable to State Bar dues, as the U.S. Supreme Court’s Keller decision requires, and ultimately, the amount of money you can withhold from your FY17 dues if you disagree with those activities.
Already, committees, sections, and divisions are developing plans that will drive next year’s budget even as they work to implement the operational plans for this fiscal year. Because next year’s budget must be finalized in time for a vote by the Board of Governors at its April board meeting, the Finance Committee will be gearing up to tackle the FY17 budget proposals that are being developed.
As local bar associations shake off the summer and begin meeting regularly, State Bar leaders will travel the state to meet with them, to provide updates on State Bar programs and services and seek their advice on members’ ever-evolving needs as you face the onslaught of change in the legal profession and the new challenges your clients bring to your office.
So a new State Bar year begins in earnest and with it, the challenges and opportunities to make service to you, your clients, and the public even better than last year.