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The SCCBA Website: A Cornucopia of Useful Resources

Posted By Matthew H. Poppe, Thursday, November 10, 2016

by Matt Poppe

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

2016 SCCBA President

 

In 2014, the SCCBA rolled out a new website located at www.sccba.com.  The website hosts many resources, some members-only and others available to anyone with an Internet connection, but you may not realize all of the services and information you can find there.  This month’s President’s Message provides a brief tour of our website to showcase the value it offers.


MEMBERS-ONLY RESOURCES

Casemaker:  A benefit of SCCBA membership is free online legal research using Casemaker.  Searchable materials include federal and state case law, statutes, administrative codes, attorney general opinions, secondary sources, and more.  Several premium services are available at reduced rates.  Casemaker can be accessed from the SCCBA website under the “practice development” tab, along with related FAQs and a user guide.


Judicial Profiles:  The SCCBA website includes members-only judicial profiles for federal district court and bankruptcy judges located in San Jose, Santa Clara County Superior Court judges and commissioners, and appellate justices of the Sixth District Court of Appeal.  Most profiles include biographical information and information about the judges’ courtroom practices, typically provided by the judges themselves.  The profiles are a great way to prepare for an appearance before an unfamiliar judge.  They are located under the “directories” tab.


Membership Directory:  Some members will never forgive us for discontinuing our printed membership directories years ago, but an electronic directory is available on our website.  All entries contain basic information about members and their practices and SCCBA involvement, and members can supplement their entries with additional profile information and a photo.  Our web platform also makes it possible for members to sync their directory entries with a Twitter account and post messages on other members’ profile pages.


Public Attorney Directory:  SCCBA members can subscribe to be listed in our Public Directory of Attorneys (PDA), which the public can search for free to find an attorney in a particular practice area and/or location.  Attorneys create their own profiles, allowing them to emphasize the points that will best highlight their practices.  Along with our Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) described below, the PDA is a great way to connect with potential clients.  And whereas LRS is open to any attorney with an office in Santa Clara County, the PDA is limited to SCCBA members.


Committee and Section pages:  Each of the SCCBA’s 14 committees and eight sections has a dedicated page on our website containing information about its functions and members, upcoming meetings and events, and blog posts (for those that maintain an active blog).  While some of these pages are open to all, others are accessible only to SCCBA members or to members of the applicable committee or section.  Committee and section blogs must be accessed through the corresponding committee or section web page, not through the “blogs” menu option that links to the SCCBA Legal Flash (news updates) and President’s Message archives.


Other members-only resources:  We also invite our members to submit comments or ideas to us using our Idea Box (see “submit an idea” under the “get involved” tab) and to refer new members to us in exchange for free CLE passes (a $95 credit for every three new members who join within a quarter; see the “refer a colleague” menu option under the “who we are” tab).


PUBLICLY-ACCESSIBLE RESOURCES
As an organization that serves the public at large as well as our members, the SCCBA created a website with many resources that are available to non-member attorneys and even to non-attorneys (such as potential clients).  There are too many to list them all, but here are some highlights.


Center for Ethics and Professionalism:  Under the leadership of then-President Dianne Sweeney, the SCCBA unveiled its online Center for Ethics and Professionalism in 2014.  The Center provides access to the SCCBA Code of Professionalism (updated earlier this year), links to existing and proposed State Bar ethics opinions and other resources, the SCCBA Professionalism Committee’s ethics blog, and more.  The Center can be found under the “who we are” tab.


Continuing Legal Education:  The SCCBA puts on dozens of live and webcast CLE programs every year and maintains a library of many recorded programs on its website.  Any attorney can create an online account on the SCCBA website to sign up for seminars, browse our online catalogue, keep track of progress toward meeting the State Bar’s minimum requirements, and retain certificates for completed programs.  All of this is collected under the “cle & events” tab.


Lawyer Referral Service:  Any attorney with an office in Santa Clara County can apply to join our Lawyer Referral Service (LRS), which connects potential clients to qualified lawyers.  We maintain a paid, trained, bilingual staff that fields approximately 35,000 calls per year.  Information about LRS (including minimum attorney qualifications) and an application can be found on our website under the “practice development” tab.


Career Center:  Information on legal job opportunities around the country is available in the Career Center, also located under “practice development.”  Employers and job seekers can create an account, post a job listing or resume, and search the database. Job seekers may search the database at no charge. More than 600 jobs in California are currently listed.


Judicial Assessment:  Any attorney who practices in Santa Clara County may submit information (positive or negative) about a judge, or a request for action, using a form on our website.  Submissions will be reviewed by the SCCBA’s Judicial Assessment Committee in accordance with a written policy.  Details and the form can be found at the “judicial assessment” link under the “get involved” tab, and a summary can also be found in the July President’s Message.


Room Rental:  The SCCBA maintains a spacious facility in a central location near the Downtown Courthouse in San Jose, and we offer several variously-sized conference rooms and a larger seminar area (seating up to 100) for rent for partial or full days.  Upon request we can also provide boxed lunches, beverages, and other services.  Although SCCBA members receive a favorable rate and this service is located in the “sccba member benefits” website menu (under the “who we are” tab), any attorney or organization may reserve an available space.


Information:  Not surprisingly, the SCCBA is a great place for anyone to find abundant information about our organization, upcoming seminars and other events, pro bono and volunteer activities, and more.  I encourage you to check it out for yourself and see what it has to offer.


SCCBA UPDATES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Before closing, several recent developments merit a brief mention:

  • Our annual Judges’ Night dinner took place November 9,  at the San Jose Marriott.  We hope you were able to join us to honor our local judges, celebrate the winners of several awards, and hear a timely keynote address from FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel.  
  • The SCCBA signed on as one of 37 amici in Carcaño v. McCrory, a Fourth Circuit appeal challenging the North Carolina law that bans transgender individuals from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.  The lead amici are BALIF and the Impact Fund, and they were joined by bar associations and other organizations from across the country.  The decision to join this brief is consistent with prior SCCBA efforts supporting the LGBTQ community.
  • The SCCBA Board of Trustees selected Richard Schramm as the organization’s new ABA Delegate, replacing Bob Weeks.  Richard is both enthusiastic about the role and eminently qualified, having spent many years as an active member of both the SCCBA and the ABA while maintaining a wide-ranging legal practice.  He will serve us well and we thank him for volunteering for this position.

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If you have questions or comments regarding this President’s Message, or suggestions for the SCCBA on any topic, I encourage you to contact me at mpoppe@orrick.com or (650) 614-7431.

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