by Mark Shem, SCCBA 2010 President
[reprinted from the May, 2010, Daily Journal, SCCBA Monthly Newsletter]
As we reach the summer months, I thought I would report on the various programs and benefits available to our members. The Santa Clara County Bar Association offers many opportunities and benefits to both increase and enhance your practice of law. As we continue to improve these services, the benefits become readily apparent including increasing your client base; networking opportunities with colleagues in your same practice area and with local judges; programs to improve how you practice law and well recognized; and well regarded initiatives in improving the administration of justice. Here are just a few of these services and opportunities and if you are not yet an SCCBA member, you can join today on line at www.sccba.com.
The Client Tool Kit
The SCCBA offers a variety of services that can assist you in expanding your client base in a way that is both economical and via a brand trusted by the public. These tools can be used individually or in any combination.
Public Directory of Attorneys: As one of the first legal internet directories in the nation, you can have a listing or a full profile on the SCCBA website that is open to the public who are trying to locate an attorney. This directory is searchable by practice areas, name or location. You can be listed in as many practice areas as you wish. If you subscribe by April 15, 2010, you can take advantage of the “Spring into Summer” discount: a full profile for the remainder of 2010 for $199 or just a listing for $99. You can visit the Public Directory of Attorneys at www.attorneys-santaclara.com and discover why the site receives nearly 7,000 hits a month and why so many of your colleagues already have their profile. The directory is fast becoming a friendly user tool for both Bar members and the public. To subscribe and take advantage of the discount, contact Cindy at email@example.com or 408.975.2113.
Lawyer Referral Service: Referrals from the SCCBA Lawyer Referral Service generated over $1 Million in attorneys fees last year. You can be part of the LRS system of referrals for only $255 a year. For that very low fee, if you meet the required minimum qualifications, you can be listed on two substantive panels and you can choose to be listed in the Public Directory of Attorneys at no additional cost. To learn more about qualifying for the Lawyer Referral Service, contact Dolores firstname.lastname@example.org or 408.975.2103.
Know Your Neutrals: If you are an arbitrator or mediator, you can increase referrals from your peers as well as contacts from the public through the SCCBA on line “Know Your Neutrals” listings. You can be listed with a full profile and picture in this on line directory for a very low yearly fee of $99. To sign up today and complete your on line profile questionnaire, go tohttp://www.sccba.com/KnowYourNeutral/Neutral.htm?site=sccba. Your listing can be on line within 24 hours.
To ensure that all these tools are readily available and accessible to the public and your colleagues, the SCCBA is in the process of hiring a marketing and communications staff position. The goal of this position will be to provide a comprehensive marketing plan to create even more visibility for these services than already exists and implement it.
You can easily network with colleagues in your practice area and local judges a various events sponsored by substantive law sections and committees. Here are just a few that are already on the calendar.
Pioneers in Family Law Reception, sponsored by the Family Law Section to honor family law attorneys practicing 40 years or more. Family law practitioners and judges will be in attendance. May 13, 2010, at 5:30, Santa Clara County Law Library Rose Garden. Free to SCCBA members. For more information or to register, contact Cindy Gartner at 408.975.2113 or email@example.com.
Unsung Heroes Reception, honoring up to three individuals for their contributions to advancing diversity in the legal profession. October 7, 2010, 5:30 pm, at the Fallon House Gardens.
Annual Judges Night, will be held October 19, 2010, at the Fairmont Hotel. The speaker will be well renown former Stanford Law School Dean and Supreme Court finalist Kathleen Sullivan. Annual awards presented: Diversity, Professionalism and Pro Bono. This year may include an award to a member of the local judiciary. Cocktails will be at 5:30 pm and dinner will start at 6:30 pm this year. To reserve a table early, contact Angie Loyola at 408.975.2110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to events, you can join a section executive committee or SCCBA committee and become involved with your colleagues in planning networking events, seminars, receptions and addressing issues of interest such as diversity in the profession, professionalism, pro bono service, or assisting with our local legal service agencies. For a complete list of our sections and committees and to sign up, go to www.sccba.com >>>About SCCBA>>>Commitees/Sections.
Improve How You Practice Law
The SCCBA offers several ways to assist you in remaining up-to-date in your practice area and assisting you in getting to know the local judges better.
Daily Case Summaries are delivered daily to each member’s email Inbox for free and provide a summary of each state and federal appellate opinion published in the previous 24 hours. You get the case name, citation, brief summary of the holding and a direct link to the full opinion on line.
Know Your Judges is an on line service that features the profiles of local state and federal court judges. These profiles are completed by the individual judge. We are in the process of updating these profiles with the judges and obtaining profiles of the newer appointments to the bench. You must be a member to view these profiles. You can view them on line at www.sccba.com >>>Court Resource Center >>>Know Your Judges.
Judicial Evaluation Survey is conducted every other year in the non-election year and gives practitioners the opportunity to provide feedback on the local bench. The results of the last two surveys in 2007 and 2009 can be viewed on line at www.sccba.com >>>Court Resource Center >>>Know Your Judges.
CLE Your Way is the SCCBA Continuing Legal Education Program that provides continuing legal education programs in an array of practice areas and in several different formats: live seminars with live web casts, brown bags, luncheons, on line streaming video programs and podcasts of cle programs. Below are a few upcoming programs. To see our on line streaming video and podcast catalogue, go to www.sccba.com >>> Continuing Legal Education >>> CLE On Line. It’s easy and you can view demos of the program before you purchase it.
Giving Back to the Profession and Community
The SCCBA affords practitioners a number of opportunities to become involved in the improving the administration of justice and improving the profession through three well regarded ongoing initiatives.
Diversity in the Profession. The Diversity Committee of the SCCBA is engaged in a number of activities to advance diversity in the profession. A focus of the Committee for 2010 will be to sponsor a mentoring/mentee event for new minority lawyers who want an opportunity to find a mentor who is practicing in the local community. This event will be scheduled for the fall so watch for the announcement. The other ongoing programs in diversity include the Bay Area Minority Summer Clerkship Program (BAMSCP), which places 1st year law students with local firms for summer clerkships, the Summer Associate Mixer and the Unsung Heroes Reception, which is mentioned above.
Professionalism. The SCCBA continues to promote its local Code of Professionalism developed and published in 1992 and part of the local rules of court and used by the local bench as a guide to professional and civil conduct in Santa Clara County. The Professionalism Committee stays abreast of developments in professionalism and discipline, sponsors continuing legal education programs such as the one scheduled for June 30, 2010, on Screening and Disengaging Ethically From Difficult Clients. The year the Professionalism Committee will have a joint meeting with the supervising judges of the superior court to discuss professionalism issues of concern to the bench and bar. If you are interested in becoming involved, you can sign up for the Professionalism Committee atwww.sccba.com >>>About SCCBA>>>Committees/Sections.
Pro Bono Opportunities. The SCCBA has an ongoing pro bono initiative: Helping Lawyer Help Others. The initiative is supported by the SCCBA Pro Bono Committee and through the award winning website, Probonomatch.org at www.probonomatch.org. The website lists pro bono opportunities available through the local legal service agencies; the opportunities are searchable by a variety of search categories. In addition, the Pro Bono Committee promotes the SCCBA Pro Bono goals and pledge program and recognizes attorneys who achieve the yearly pro bono goals at a fall reception. If you are interested in becoming involved, you can sign up for the Pro Bono Committee at www.sccba.com >>>About SCCBA>>>Committees/Sections. Or, you can sign the pro bono pledge at www.probonomatch.org.
The SCCBA has it all. What are you waiting for?
In my continued effort to recognize the generosity of firms and individuals, I want to recognize the following who provided additional contributions to offset the security costs for the local and state high school mock trial programs:
Clark Stone, Allen Fleischman, Paul Colin, Rona Layton, Elizabeth Pianca, Jim Towery, Tomomi Glover, Johnny GoGo, Bernard Greenfield, Hon, Read Ambler (ret.), Scott Storey, and the Santa Clara County Law Advocates.