I remember the conversation clearly. Judge Ed Davila, Judge Brian Walsh and Judge Julie Emede all told me in January that my year as President of the SCCBA would go by fast. At the time, it seemed December was so far away but wow here it is!!! They were correct; the year did fly by. It has been such an honor to be President of the Santa Clara County Bar Association. The SCCBA is a wonderful organization to be a part of. I have met amazing lawyers, judges, State Bar leaders, and community leaders. I have made personal and professional connections that will last a life time.
This year, my project was entitled “Essential Skills for Lawyers in the New Decade: Leading Lawyers to Success.” I hope that through my Presidential articles, attendance at our MCLE events and attendance at my Leadership Summit that you each were able to become a lawyer who leads. I hope that you each are now able to answer these questions: How does a Lawyer lead in the courtroom, in the community and in their practice area? What makes one Lawyer stand out amongst other Lawyers? How did our current leaders obtain their leadership role? What skills do leaders possess?
I also sought to look at ways that we can help our members with the new E-Discovery rules. A special thanks to Past President Mark Shem in leading the E-Discovery Task Force and for his hard work for helping the presentation of four MCLE’s on E-Discovery. In terms of membership, our organization is thriving and we were able to increase our membership this year. I did not reach my goal of adding 3000 members but will continue to work on it in the future. I believe that our members get many benefits by being a part of our organization.
Speaking of benefits, this year we added additional member benefits. First, we launched a new website which makes it easier to find out about our events, search our on line membership directory and learn more about our organization. Our directory includes pictures and is searchable by practice area as defined by the members themselves. So, in addition to finding a member simply by name, you can search by location, firm name and practice areas.
Second, we made a decision to offer a substantial practice benefit of free access to an on line legal research service along with premium features at an incredibly low cost through CaseMaker. This free legal research on line along with the other features provides a substantial number of our members a significant benefit and potentially saves many of our members hundreds of dollars a year.
Finally, we continue to offer CLEs at a much lower rate than other providers. We also tend to have more judges on our panels than other providers.
This year we also had issues with the State Bar including the decrease in court funding and how we as lawyers are governed. I made sure that our voice was heard. In addition, to my President’s articles on this subject, we had the opportunity to hear from Jon Streeter, State Bar President, at Judges’ Night on the court funding issues and problems with the legislature trying to control the Judicial Branch.
I could not have been a successful President if it was not far the wonderful staff at the SCCBA. Each of them has been wonderful in their dealings with me, their planning and execution of events and making my ideas come to life. Chris Burdick has been an amazing mentor, friend, and coach in helping me navigate my year. My Executive Committee: Mindy Morton, Bob Chastain, Steve Haley, Shelyna Brown, Jenn Protas, Kate Wilson, John Mlnarik and Diane Sweeney—thank you! You all are amazing people and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to work with each of you. You have no idea how much I will miss our meetings together. To the Board of Trustees, thank you for your hard work in dealing with the decisions we had to make this year. Your time and effort is well appreciated.
To all my Committee and Section Chairs—thank you! Your guidance and leadership skills have helped our association be stronger. To my family—thank you for your willingness to put up with all my meetings and sometimes late nights. And finally to all of you---thank you for all your support, encouragement, your willingness to say yes and your friendship this year.
I hope that everyone has a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year. I look forward to continuing to meet each of you, work with you, and to continue to improve our legal profession.