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2017: A year of Celebration and Implementation Off to a Great Start

Posted By Kate Wilson, Tuesday, February 21, 2017
  By Kate Wilson

Attorney at law

2017 SCCBA President

On January 18, the Santa Clara County Bar Association celebrated our Centennial Kickoff and Installation Ceremony at the new Family Justice Center Courthouse. The event was a great success as we packed the beautiful 8th Floor Judicial Conference Room with our members and our local bench. The night was a terrific opportunity to build new relationships and to re-connect and catch-up with friends and colleagues who we may not get to see as often as we may like.  I would like to especially thank Judge Patricia Lucas for administering the oaths of office for our 2017 SCCBA leadership, Judge Julie Emede for sharing some of our rich history and achievements as an association and as a legal community over the past 100 years, and Jim McManis for regaling us with great stories and anecdotes of practicing law in Santa Clara County over the past 50 years.  I would also like to extend a special thank you to the Santa Clara County Superior Court and its staff for allowing us to host our event at the new Family Justice Center Courthouse, the SCCBA staff for all of the hard work and effort devoted to making the evening a success and, of course, our SCCBA Centennial Gold Sponsors, who were also the sponsors of the Kickoff Celebration: Fenwick & West LLP, Greenfield, Hoge Fenton, and Pillsbury.     

As I mentioned in last month’s column and in my remarks during the Centennial Kickoff, 2017 marks a commemorative and important year for the Bar. During this year, we will look to our past to celebrate where we have come from and the achievements we have made over the past 100 years. And, we will look to the future to ensure that we continue to foster the outstanding legal community in Santa Clara County and inspire the next generation of attorneys. It will be a year of honoring the past and inspiring the future in all that we do.  

From an organizational standpoint, we continue to implement the strategic plan and recommendations developed by our Strategic Planning Committees and Boards over the past three years to ensure that the SCCBA will continue to thrive for the next 100 years. To that end, the association has already been hard at work this year. On January 26th, we held a Special Membership Meeting during which our membership approved proposed amendments to our SCCBA By-laws. In chief part, the approved amendments serve to re-organize our leadership structure in the association.  Under the new by-laws, the size of the Board of Trustees will be reduced, the size of the Executive Committee will be reduced and we will eliminate membership elections for uncontested trustee and officer positions and we will instead use an application process. These changes bring our organization into alignment with proven and successful leadership models for modern membership based organization. The revisions to the by-laws will be published shortly. Stay tuned to the SCCBA blog and our news feed for links to redline and clean versions of our amended by-laws. Thank you to all of our members who attended and participated in the Special Membership Meeting. 

The BOT and general Bar leadership also accomplished a significant amount in January. I had the pleasure of meeting and working with our new committee and section chairs at our new chair orientation and training. The committees and sections are off to a great start with new CLE and interesting programs already underway for our membership. And, all of our committees and sections will be working to weave our history from the last 100 years into each of their events throughout the year. I also had the pleasure of meeting and working with all of our new Trustees for 2017 at our new Trustee orientation and training. I continue to be impressed by the enthusiasm and ongoing commitment from all of our Trustees and leaders to making the SCCBA the best it can be. Finally, the BOT appointed Deputy District Attorney Michael Lee to serve as the association’s 2017 Secretary. We are pleased to welcome Michael as an officer of the association and we look forward to Michael’s implementation of his goal of serving as a champion of diversity within the Bar and throughout our legal community. 

With our celebrations and implementation off to a fast start, we must also work to inspire our future. Throughout my career and life, I often find the most inspiration in giving back and getting involved and believe that community involvement is essential to inspiring the future.  While your initial reaction may be that you do not have enough time to participate in volunteer or pro bono activities, ask yourself if you can afford not to do so. Without fail, every time I have volunteered my time to a project or organization in which I am interested, I have received far more than I have given. I consider myself privileged to call many of the people I have met through my community activities friends and mentors and they have proven to be invaluable resources for me. 

I challenge each of you to find a cause, activity and/or organization in which you are interested and get involved. Volunteer opportunities abound in our local communities and many non-profits, schools, business associations and a myriad of other organizations are excited to welcome attorneys into their volunteer ranks for the unique experiences, perspectives and analytical framework we can often bring to issues and problem solving. Within the Bar, we are always eager to welcome new members and our sections and committees have ample opportunities available for our members to get involved. If you haven’t already done so, consider joining a new section or committee this year, volunteering for the Santa Clara County High School Mock Trial Tournament or committing to the SCCBA Pro Bono Initiative. And, if you are a newer attorney, I encourage you to get involved in the SCCBA Barristers’ Committee and consider applying for the SCCBA Barristers’ Leadership Program.

I look forward to working and celebrating with each of you throughout this year. I hope to see you at a SCCBA event in the near future. Thank you again for your continued support of the SCCBA.

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